You need the right balance of vitamins and minerals.



Essential minerals a critical part of the vitamins and minerals that are required for a healthy body.

Dietary minerals are chemical elements needed by all living organisms (and not including nitrogen, oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen, which are present in all organic molecules).

They come from the earth’s crust, and end up in the soil where they’re extracted by plants, which are then eaten by humans and other animals.

Soils in different geographic areas contain varying quantities of minerals, some much higher than others.

We get them from our food, or in pure mineral form (in salt, for example), and from dietary supplements. Without them, we simply can’t function.

Fortunately, it’s not hard to get a reasonable dose of minerals. In fact, if you eat a balanced, varied diet of healthy foods, you’ll be well on your way to avoiding mineral deficiencies.

Which minerals do I need?

There are seven major minerals, namely phosphorous, calcium, sodium, potassium, chlorine, sulfur and magnesium.

Some trace minerals are considered “essential” in human nutrition, and they include iron, iodine, cobalt (from vitamin B12), chromium, selenium, copper, fluorine, manganese, zinc and molybdenum. Below is a bit of an explanation about some of these minerals and why you should be taking them.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a vital element because it’s involved in a whole plethora of basic processes.

It oxidizes fatty acids, preventing the formation of “bad” cholesterol; it activates amino acids and works alongside over 300 enzymes; it helps make DNA; it’s needed for brain and immune function; without it nutrients such as boron, potassium and vitamin B6 won’t work properly.

Good dietary sources include dried peas and beans, nuts, whole grains, dark green vegetables and soy products.

Iodine

Iodine is a trace mineral needed for proper mental and physical development. It’s used in cell respiration, metabolism of nutrients and production of energy, for nerves, muscles, skin, hair and teeth; and for repairing damaged tissues.

80% of it is found in the thyroid (a small gland in the neck) which regulates hormones for metabolism. Too little of it will give you cold feet, skin problems, insomnia, tiredness, weight gain and even goiter.

Seafood and sea vegetables are great sources of iodine and, if they’re grown in iodine-rich soil, green peppers, asparagus, lettuce, mushrooms, and raisins, among others.

Chromium

Chromium is an essential mineral not made by the body, and important for the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats.

You need it for brain function and to activate numerous chemical processes, including the regulation of insulin. Find it in liver, beef, apples, eggs, bananas, chicken, oysters, and green peppers.

Copper

Copper plays a key role in the transport and absorption of iron, a vital constituent of red blood cells. It’s needed to build skin, bones and connective tissues, and for multiple enzymatic processes, and it protects against osteoporosis. It’s an important mineral for the immune system, nervous system and cardiovascular system.

It’s an excellent antioxidant and it might help prevent degenerative diseases or conditions such as premature ageing, heart disease, arthritis, cataracts, Alzheimer's disease, or diabetes. Selenium

In 1989, selenium was reclassified as an essential micronutrient. It’s concentrated in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas, and in males, the testes and seminal vesicles.

Selenium is used for skin problems, infertility, asthma, and postmenopausal conditions. Unfortunately, much of the selenium in foods is lost during processing, but good sources include Brazil nuts, barley, oats, onions, garlic, mushrooms and broccoli.

Nursing mothers should note that human milk is much richer in selenium than cow's milk.

Manganese

Not to be confused with magnesium, manganese is used for treating premenstrual syndrome and to keep bones, skin and cartilage healthy.

It performs an important function in protecting cells from free radicals and helps metabolize cholesterol. One recent study on Mexican infants found that children who took manganese supplements grew faster and taller than others.

Zinc

Zinc is essential for the production of certain hormones, a healthy immune system, skin and bone formation.

You can’t grow and develop normally without it. It’s also used a fair amount to help shorten the duration of common colds.

People who are deficient in zinc are prone to getting more frequent and longer lasting infections of various types. Men suffering from infertility may see some improvement in their testosterone levels after taking it.

Teenagers are often low in zinc, and also tend to have more skin problems as a result.

Oysters are terrifically high in zinc. Otherwise, chicken, beef, milk, turkey, cheese, and yogurt will also work.

How can I boost my mineral levels?

Eating a good variety of nutritious foods will hugely improve your health, but is it enough to give you the maximum benefit from minerals? Perhaps not.

Lately, scientists have produced a large body of research which suggests we can often benefit from taking a high quality vitamins and minerals supplement. Particularly if you are interested in optimal health and the avoidance of chronic degenerative disease.

Vitamins and minerals need the presence of one another in order to work properly, so taking a multivitamin without minerals is not nearly as effective.

A great deal research done by universities shows that the form most easily absorbed and utilised by the body is the chelated mineral (one that’s bonded to a specific-size amino acid).

Medical references 187,188,189,190,191,192,193,194

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