Essential Minerals: Are You Getting What You Need?

Minerals are essential nutrients that your body needs every day, but cannot produce by itself.

For your organism to function properly an adequate intake of minerals is required.

If you lack these nutrients you will experience a wide variety of symptoms.

Keywords: minerals, how to get minerals, lack of minerals symptoms, foods that contain most minerals

Micro and macro-elements

Minerals maintain your body’s electro-neutrality and the osmotic pressure as well as affect the metabolic processes. They build up bones and teeth. They are quite universal, so to say.

Depending on the required amount of minerals per day we can divide minerals into two groups: macro and micro-elements.

Macro-elements are the following:

  • Calcium,
  • phosphorus,
  • potassium,
  • sulfur,
  • chlorine,
  • sodium
  • and magnesium.
  • Micro-elements are listed below:

  • Iron,
  • iodine,
  • copper,
  • manganese,
  • fluorine,
  • zinc,
  • chromium,
  • selenium,
  • molybdenum,
  • cobalt,
  • vanadium,
  • folic acid,
  • niacin.
  • 1) Calcium is the most important mineral

    Calcium builds up, forms and preserves bones, teeth and nails. It gives them structure and strength! It also participates in other vital functions as calcium can be found in every organism’s cell.

    Vitamin D regulates calcium absorption from gastrointestinal tract into bloodstream.

    Healthy bones and teeth are maintained if proper intake is maintained. If you’re Calcium deficit, consider a supplement. High doses of Calcium (greater than 2500mg/day) may cause kidney problems and may restrict the absorption of other minerals.

    Lack of calcium symptoms
    Lack of calcium can lead to rapid bone mass loss, irregular heartbeat, overall confusion, forgetfulness and poor concentration.

    Sources of calcium
    Best source of calcium is milk, cheese, yoghurt, mineral water, fish, meat, broccoli, spinach, kale, soy, whole grains, legumes, nuts.

    Recommended daily amount of calcium
    From 0.04 to 0.05 oz (for adults). 2 cups of milk contain 0.02 oz of calcium.
    From 1000 to 1300 mg (for adults). Half a litre of milk contains 600 mg of calcium.

    Note
    It is recommended to increase the intake of calcium during pregnancy, physical growth, menopause and at an old age.
    It is also advisable to consume more calcium rich foods if you often suffer from muscle cramps or if you have osteoporosis. Alcohol and caffeine can reduce the absorption of calcium. An increased amount of sodium (salt) in your diet can lead to a greater loss of calcium.

    2) Phosphorus for healthy teeth

    Phosphorus maintains bone and teeth health and affects overall metabolism.

    Lack of phosphorus symptoms
    Lack of phosphorus can lead to tooth decay, bone mass loss, poor appetite and muscle weakness.

    Sources of phosphorus
    Phosphorus can be found in cheese, fish (salmon), shellfish, egg yolk, soy beans, beef meat, cereals, turkey meat and plain yoghurt.

    Recommended daily amount of phosphorus
    From 0.025 to 0.044 oz (for adults).
    From 700 to 1250 mg (for adults).

    Note
    For optimum health of your bones a balanced diet containing calcium and phosphorus is advised. Pregnant women and youngsters are advised to consume more phosphorus.

    3) Potassium for muscles and nervous system

    Potassium is responsible for the smooth functioning of all muscles in your body and affects the operation of nerve impulses. In addition, it helps regulate blood pressure, heart rate and kidney function. Potassium is electrolyte, which together with sodium and chlorine produces electricity in cells.

    Lack of potassium symptoms
    Insufficient potassium intake will have an effect on muscles and nervous system. Some people might feel non-intense muscle spasms.

    Sources of potassium
    Best source of potassium is spinach, radish, papaya, red peppers, watercress, peaches, potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, citrus fruits, avocados, lemons, beans and nuts.

    Recommended daily amount of potassium
    About 0.07 oz daily.
    About 2,000 mg daily.

    Note
    Excessive consumption of sodium (salty foods) and insufficient fruit and vegetable intake can lead to potassium deficiency. Potassium deficiency can also cause dehydration.

    4) Sulfur for beauty

    Sulfur can be found in each cell. It helps in production of collagen, which is responsible for healthy skin, nails and hair. Sulfur also helps with detoxification of the body.

    Lack of sulfur symptoms
    Lack of sulfur can increase susceptibility to bacterial infection.

    Recommended daily amount of sulfur
    There is no recommended dietary allowance for sulfur. Most people get all they need from their diet

    Sources of sulfur
    Sulfur can be found in broccoli, asparagus, corn, red pepper, garlic, onion, pumpkin seeds, fish, eggs, cabbage, lean beef.

    Note
    Food processing (cooking, baking…) destroys a large portion of the sulfur in food. It is a good idea to eat above mentioned foods raw to get most sulfur per serving.

    5) Sodium for nerves and muscles

    Sodium is responsible for normal growth and proper functioning of all nerves and muscles. It works in combination with potassium.

    Lack of sodium symptoms
    Lack of sodium can lead to improper metabolism of carbohydrates.

    Sources of sodium
    Best source of sodium is salt, carrots, beets, artichokes, pickled vegetables, bread

    Recommended daily amount of sodium
    Recommended daily dose: 0.04 oz.
    Recommended daily dose: 1,000 mg.

    Note
    Modern diet contains a lot of salt. Increased salt intake will affect and elevate your blood pressure level.

    minerals are essential

    6) Magnesium against stress

    Magnesium regulates insulin levels. In addition, it is involved in metabolism, muscle contraction, removing toxins from the body, building bones and teeth and the functioning of the cardiovascular system. Magnesium regulates the function of calcium.

    Lack of magnesium symptoms
    Usual symptoms of lack of magnesium are malaise, fatigue, muscle spasms, constipation, muscle twitching, headache.

    Sources of magnesium
    Best source of magnesium is fish meat and shellfish meat as well as other types of meat, bran, rye, cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, avocados, bananas, cocoa, mushrooms, seaweed, figs, lemons, corn, almonds and hazelnuts.

    Recommended daily amount of magnesium
    About 0.01 oz.
    From 300 to 400 mg.

    Note
    Modern diet does not contain enough magnesium. Exposure to stress will lower magnesium levels in your body as well. It is advisable to consume magnesium dietary supplements along with food that contains lots of magnesium.

    Physically active individuals, persons daily exposed to stress, persons who suffer from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, liver and gut disease are advised to consume even more magnesium – up to twice the recommended daily intake.

    7) Iron for blood

    Iron is responsible for transport of oxygen to all the cells in the body. It is also needed for the formation of hemoglobin. Iron plays an important role in the metabolism of vitamin B.

    Composed of many proteins and enzymes, Iron maintains normal hemoglobin levels in the blood which aids in transportation of oxygen to different parts of the body.

    Iron supplementation may be required for those who are vegetarians, anemic and women who suffer heavy periods. Excessive amounts (greater than 45mg) may cause ulcers.

    Lack of iron symptoms
    Iron deficiency may lead to poor concentration, anemia, fatigue, headaches and lower overall body’s resistance.

    Sources of iron
    Best source of iron is egg yolk, shellfish meat, oatmeal, pumpkin, lentils, spinach, dandelion, dark chocolate, almonds, nuts, beans, beef, chicken and veal liver.

    Recommended daily amount of iron
    From 0.0002 to 0.0006 oz.
    From 8 to 18 mg.
    Women lack iron more often than men.

    Note
    If your diet is well balanced, you do not need to consume additional iron. Children during growth, athletes, vegetarians, and those recovering from illnesses should consume more iron.

    8) Iodine is essential for thyroid function

    Iodine is responsible for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, it stimulates growth and gives you energy.

    Lack of iodine symptoms
    Lack of iodine can lead to metabolic disorders and overall lack of energy.

    Sources of iodine
    Iodine can be found in iodized salt, fish, crabs, mussels, whole grain and mineral water.

    Recommended daily amount of iodine
    About 0.00005 oz.
    About 0.150 mg.

    Note: The need for iodine increases in pregnancy so make sure you include saltwater fish in your diet.

    9) Copper is energy for life

    Copper gives you energy and ensures the proper functioning of nerves and absorption of iron in hemoglobin.

    Lack of copper symptoms
    Copper deficiency can cause anemia.

    Sources of copper
    Copper can be found in mushrooms, peas, avocado, cocoa, fish, legumes, green leafy vegetables, garlic, seaweed, nuts, peanuts, prunes.

    Recommended daily amount of copper
    About 0.00044 oz.
    About 1.25 mg.

    10) Zinc regulates the acid-base balance

    Zinc is responsible for normal physical growth, fertility, sexual development and healing of the skin. Immune system also depends on zinc.

    Zinc is important for normal growth, reproduction and development. The nervous system and the immune system remain healthy if adequate amounts are taken every day.

    Copper and iron absorption are affected if more than 40 mg of Zinc is present in your diet. Research shows that the mineral may reduce common cold though the evidence is not strong enough.

    Lack of zinc symptoms
    Lack of zinc can cause hair loss, white spots on the nails and impaired healing of wounds. It may also slow down physical growth.

    Sources of zinc
    Zinc can be found in dairy products, shellfish, fish, beans, yeast, nuts, lentils, tofu, pumpkin seeds, brown rice, spinach, garlic, sprouts and other protein-rich foods.

    Recommended daily amount of zinc
    From 0.0003 to 0.0005 oz.
    From 8.6 to 15 mg.

    11) Selenium, a powerful antioxidant

    Selenium protects against the damage from free radicals and stimulates metabolism at the same time. It works synergistically with vitamin E.

    Lack of selenium symptoms
    A serious lack of selenium may reflect in the change of color of the nails, speeds up skin aging, may cause lack of energy and induce the feeling of weakness.

    Sources of selenium
    Best foods that contain selenium are dairy products, tuna, salmon, meat, bran, oats, onions, tomatoes, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, garlic, walnuts and sunflower seed.

    Recommended daily amount of selenium
    About 0.00002 oz.
    About 0.06 mg.

    Men need more selenium than women.

    12) Fluorine for healthy teeth

    Fluorine builds up your bones. Fluorine protects from dental decay but if consumed too often it may have negative effects on your teeth, may cause osteroporosis and harm kidneys, nerves, bones and muscles.

    Lack of fluorine symptoms
    Symptoms of lack of this mineral are the following: a fragile tooth enamel, brittle bones and tooth decay.

    Sources of fluorine
    Fluorine can be found in sea food, tea and water.

    Recommended daily amount of fluorine
    About 0.0001 oz.
    About 4 mg.

    13) Folate or Folic Acid

    It protects you from neural tube defects if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Women who are in the child bearing age must take around .4 to 1 mg of Folic Acid per day. Its deficiency may cause Alzheimer’s disease.

    Sources of Folic acid Whole-grain breads, fortified cereals, dark green leafy vegetables.

    Recommended daily amount of folic acid 400 mcg

    14) Niacin

    Niacin helps in the breakdown of macronutrients and also aids in growth and development of the body. It helps in lowering cholesterol and should be used under strong supervision of a doctor because of its side effects like liver damage. More than 35 mg per day is not recommended.

    Sources of niacine: Fish, meat, eggs and nuts.

    Recommended daily amount of fluorine 14 mg

    The list goes on but the above listed minerals are the most common ones.

    End of the article.



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    Matej Gololicic >> @Healthiack >> Facebook page
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    8 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

    1. anny November 17, 2014 at 10:31 pm - Reply

      Was not aware of the fact that phosphorus maintains bone and teeth health and affects overall metabolism…
      Good article! A

    2. David November 5, 2014 at 4:31 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the valuable info!
      David

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