Minerals act as the major transmission junctions and switches for the electrical message impulses that flow from the brain to the muscles. These impulses use the nervous system as the transmission lines. The nervous system, like a “telephone” line, carries messages to and from the brain. The minerals are the switches that allow the electric impulses to flow without disruption or disturbance.
Minerals are engaged in almost every physical reaction in the body. You could not breathe, eat or drink without the aid of minerals. Minerals are absolutely essential for health.
CALCIUM is a mineral which is necessary for healthy, strong bones and teeth. Other functions of the calcium ion include its influence in blood coagulation, neuromuscular excitability, cellular adhesiveness, transmission of nerve impulses, maintenance and function of cell membranes, and activation of enzyme reactions and hormone secretion. When calcium levels in the blood are abnormally low, hypocalcemia can occur. Some symptoms of hypocalcemia are tetany, increased neuromuscular irritability, seizures and cardiac cramps. Low levels of calcium can also lead to reduced skeletal mass. Calcium absorption is dependent on the amount of exposure a person has to ultraviolet light, vitamin D intake, the sex and age of the individual and the bioavailability of calcium.
CHROMIUM is involved in carbohydrate, lipid, and nucleic acid metabolism. It functions in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism as a potentiator of insulin action. In nucleic acid metabolism, it is postulated to be involved in maintaining the structural integrity of the nuclear strands and regulation of gene expression. One of the first signs of a chromium deficiency is glucose intolerance. Others include elevated circulating insulin, glycosuria, fasting hyperglycemia, elevated serum cholesterol and triglycerides, neuropathy and encephalopathy.
COPPER is important in the formation of red blood cells and bones. Copper is part of many enzymes and works with Vitamin C to form elastin. Menkes’ syndrome, neutropenia, which results in an increased susceptibility to infections, microcytic anemia, abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and impaired glucose tolerance are all symptoms of a deficiency of this important mineral. Uncooked meat, high intakes of zinc, iron, phosphorus and ascorbic acid are inhibitory factors to the absorption and utilization of this nutrient.
IODINE is an essential part of the hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine. These hormones are required for normal growth and development and for maintenance of a normal metabolic state.
Iodine is also needed for the prevention of goiter. Deficiency symptoms include endemic goiter, endemic cretinism, endemic deafmutism and endemic neuropsychic retardation. Iodine’s only function in the body is as a component of the thyroid hormones. There are no substances or outside events which will effect the body’s ability to absorb and utilize this nutrient.
IRON is essential to vertebrate forms of life because its role in the heme molecule is central in permitting oxygen and electron transport. It is necessary for protein metabolism, immune system resistance, growth, healthy teeth, skin, nails and bones. It is also needed for the formation of hemoglobin and myoglobin. When the body is low on iron, iron deficiency anemia can result. Although it causes few deaths, it does contribute to the weakness, ill health and substandard performance of millions of people. Iron deficiency results from one or a combination of the following: impaired absorption, blood loss, or repeated pregnancies. Iron deficiency in adults is rarely due to an iron-poor diet alone. Excessive zinc and phosphorus can work against the absorption and utilization of this mineral.
MAGNESIUM is essential for the normal metabolism of potassium and calcium. It is also required for the mobilization of calcium from bone. When it is absorbed and retained, it is used for tissue growth, which includes bone growth, and for turnover replacement. Magnesium plays a key role as an essential prosthetic group in at least 300 enzymatic reactions in intermediary metabolism. Magnesium deficiency symptoms include Trousseau’s and Chvostek’s signs, muscle fasciculation, tremor, muscle spasm, personality changes, anorexia, nausea, and vomiting. There are no substances or outside events which will effect the body’s ability to absorb and utilize this mineral.
MANGANESE promotes enzyme activation. High levels of this nutrient can be found in the bones, liver and pituitary gland. Manganese deficiency has never been reported in free-living humans. An excessive iron deficiency will lead to increased manganese absorption in humans. Therefore, iron deficiency could make an individual more vulnerable to manganese toxicity. At the same time, manganese over-exposure might induce anemia by blocking iron absorption.
PHOSPHORUS plays fundamental roles in modifying the development and maturation of bone, in governing renal excretion of hydrogen ions and in modifying the effects of the B vitamins. Also, this mineral is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrate, fats and protein. Because it plays a role in bone resorption, mineralization and collagen synthesis, it plays an integral role in calcium homeostasis. Phosphate depletion syndromes in humans are often the result of inappropriate ingestion of non-absorbable antacids. However, the syndrome is readily reversed when the antacids are discontinued, and sufficient amounts of dietary phosphate are consumed.
POTASSIUM is stored almost entirely within the lean tissues, where it serves as the dominant intracellular cation. Potassium deficiency causes urinary ammonium wasting. Decreased total body potassium can lead to hypokalemia. This can cause impaired glucose tolerance with impaired insulin secretion, cardiac effects, impaired protein synthesis, respiratory and vocal cord muscle weakness.
SELENIUM preserves tissue elasticity, and works with Vitamin E. Like vitamin A, C, and E it is an anti-oxidant.
ZINC aids in the digestion and metabolism of phosphorus and protein. It is a component of insulin and of male reproductive fluid. It is necessary for the healing processes involved with burns and wounds, and it is involved with prostate gland functions and carbohydrate digestion. Sterility, delayed sexual maturity, loss of taste, poor appetite, fatigue and retarded growth are all symptoms of a zinc deficiency.
Trace or Microminerals are needed in minute quantities. The best sources of microminerals are sea vegetables such as Kelp and algae.
● Avoid red meats; animal protein contains phosphates that may compromise calcium absorption.
● Organically grown fruits and vegetables can be good sources of minerals and without the added problems of pesticides and herbicides.
● Sea vegetables are good sources of minerals.
● Avoid excessive stress.
● Exercise regularly.
● Weight bearing exercise is important to the maintenance of the skeletal structure. Astronauts have to do special exercises during low or no-gravity space travel to avoid loss of important minerals