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.
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.
that your body needs are divided into two groups – major
minerals and trace 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.
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
claims were patently false – but the need for calcium
supplements is not.
Choose mineral supplements from companies that you trust.
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