Minerals Overview, Health Benefits, Source Food, Deficiency, Side effects
The term micro-nutrients are often applied to the minerals as they are only needed in small amounts in the human body. At least eighteen minerals are of importance in general human nutrition. Plants and animals do not synthesize minerals - thus the term inorganic elements is applied to the minerals. Most minerals have functional roles as important co-enzymes in the body similar to the role played by the vitamins. The absorption of minerals from food results in their becoming a component of the structure of the body – they thus form parts of the cellular structure, they have functions in enzymes, they play roles in hormone interactions, they play a role in the muscles, they form a part of blood and are major components of the skeletal system of the body. All essential minerals in the body can be divided into two groups - those called the macro minerals or the bulk minerals, and those known as the micro minerals or the trace minerals. The main difference between the two being that the macro minerals are needed in higher amounts than are the micro minerals or trace minerals. The minerals calcium - in teeth and bones, magnesium - in enzyme reactions, and phosphorus - in teeth, bones - form the macro mineral group. While metals like zinc - co-factor in enzymes, iron - in hemoglobin and enzymes, copper in enzymes, manganese - in enzymes, chromium - in insulin function, selenium - co-factor, iodine - in a process involving thyroxin hormone, potassium - tissues and enzymes, and boron - in bones form the micro mineral group.
Different parts of the human body and various tissues serve as storage areas for different minerals. Some of the minerals are stored or used in muscular and skeletal tissues; some are used together with the vitamins as components of the body's numerous enzyme systems. To maintain the optimal and proper composition of bones, blood and other tissues, the human body utilizes minerals and vitamins in various functions - for example they act as regulators and structural as vital components in the human body. Normal cellular function is dependent on the presence of specific minerals and vitamins. Human mental and physical well being is also dependent on the presence of optimal amounts of certain minerals in the body at set levels. Some very important biological reactions in the human body are started by minerals. The process of metabolization of vitamins in the body cannot take place without the aid of certain minerals.
While vitamins and minerals are two very different types of substances, they work synergistically to promote good health and wellness as they are responsible for maintaining, or assisting with, the proper functionality of many of the various bodily functions that are required to sustain life.
The human body cannot receive or process vitamins without a sufficient supply of minerals. Similarly, minerals will be largely ineffective if not supplemented with a vitamin rich diet. For this reason, it is important to ensure that you consume a diet that is high in both vitamins and minerals.
The theory that supplementing with minerals or trace elements may aid in preventing different types of cancer, heart disease and even some forms of degenerative disorders is increasingly being supported by more and more evidence from clinical studies on human subjects. Further studies and trials will provide more clues to the importance of these trace elements and more clinical trials need to be conducted in the future. A medical revolution could be on the way as the major impact of well planned supplementation could potentially be of enormous benefit to humanity - as all the evidence garnered till now, still bears out a very positive impact on the use of such supplements.
Minerals Health Benefits, Source Food, Deficiency, Side effects
A state of deficiency in an essential mineral or a trace element insufficiency is much more likely to affect a person than is a state of vitamin deficiency. Individuals on a low calorie diet, patients on certain types of medications like diuretics, the elderly and women in a term of pregnancy are at an increased risk of suffering from such mineral insufficiencies. A mineral deficiency is also likely to affect vegetarians and people living on crops in areas where the soil is deficient in certain minerals. The content of essential vitamins in most foods is roughly similar in amounts everywhere in the world; the same cannot be said for mineral and trace element content of foods eaten in different parts of the world. Minerals and trace elements may be scare in some regions and abundant in others due to differing geologic conditions. As an example, soils in parts of China and New Zealand are very poor in selenium while the soil of South Dakota is very rich in this element. Consequently, a person may live in some areas, consuming what seems to be an ideal balanced diet and still develop some form of mineral deficiencies or trace element deficiency - such a situation may only be rectified by a change in diet or via supplementation of the missing trace element.
Different minerals have different benefits, so no mineral can be termed as more beneficial or less beneficial than another. All minerals, even trace ones, are critical for the proper functioning of the body. Most of the minerals aid in body metabolism, water balance, and bone health, but they can participate in hundreds of other small ways to effectively boost health as well.