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Minerals

Among the nutrients that your body needs are 15 minerals that are found in soil and absorbed by plants as they grow.  When the plants are eaten, those minerals become available to the body for use in building cells, cleaning blood, filtering impurities and other uses.  Often, those plants are eaten by animals that eventually become part of the food chain, passing on the nutrients that were originally taken from the earth.

 

In a perfect world, we’d derive all the minerals that our bodies need daily from the food that we eat.  Today’s world, though, is far from perfect.  Depleted soil leads to depleted food sources, and processed foods further drain the nutritional goodness of essential minerals from the

food that we buy at supermarkets and in restaurants.  As early as 1994, a study by the FDA found that more than half of all Americans were only getting about 50% of the calcium that they from the foods that they eat.  This, despite the fact that calcium and iron are the two most well-known of all the minerals that our bodies need.

Minerals that your body needs are divided into two groups – major minerals and trace minerals.

  • Major minerals are those that your body requires in amounts of 250 mgs or more daily.  These include: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulfur, and chloride.

  • Trace Minerals are those that your body needs in far smaller amounts – less than 20 mgs.  Those include: chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc.

Despite the small amounts needed, a deficiency in any one of the essential minerals can cause difficulties in digestion and absorption of other nutrients, and malfunctions in nearly every one of your body’s systems.  At the same time, many of the minerals that your body needs in minute amounts can be toxic in large amounts.  That’s why it’s vitally important that you know exactly what you are taking when you choose to take a mineral supplement.  When purchasing minerals as nutritional supplements, be aware of the following things:

  1. The appropriate dosage of each mineral for your age, sex, weight and metabolism.   A healthy adult male, for instance, needs more of most minerals than most women of the same age – unless she is pregnant or nursing.  Do your homework and be an informed consumer.

  2. Exactly what is in the mineral supplement that you are taking?  While the FDA doesn’t require that makers of dietary supplements apply for approval before they sell their products, they are held to very strict labeling standards.

  3. Look for the USP (United States Pharmacopoeia) seal or the Consumer Lab Seal of Approval.  Either means that the supplement has been tested and meets rigid standards for strength, purity, disintegration and dissolution.

  4. Be wary of extravagant claims – but don’t let them obscure the need for a mineral.   Recently, coral calcium made big news in health magazines and other media.  A maker of mineral supplements was touting ‘coral calcium’ from coral reefs off of Okinawa, Japan as a ‘superior form of calcium.’  Among the claims made were claims that it cured 90% of all cancers and reversed heart disease. 

  5. The claims were patently false – but the need for calcium supplements is not.

  6. Choose mineral supplements from companies that you trust.

  7. Check with your doctor before taking any form of mineral supplements.  A trained medical professional can tell you about possible drug interactions and the best dosages for you.

 

 

 

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