The body needs a number of essential minerals to ensure health and optimal functioning of our systems. Minerals are inorganic nutrients that occur in nature (rocks and metal) but cannot be produced by living things. Therefore, plants absorb their minerals from the soil, herbivores get them from plants and carnivores from the animals they eat. Minerals are typically divided into two groups based on the amout required, however all are equally important:
Macrominerals (100 mg/day or more):
- Calcium – essential for bone health, plays a part in muscle contaction and relaxation, nerve impulse transmission, hormone secretion, enzyme activation and maintaining optimal blood pressure.
- Phosphorus – helps with metabolism, part of DNA and RNA, protects the bones and teeth.
- Potassium – ensure proper fluid balance, important for nerve transmission and muscle contraction
- Magnesium – needed for protein synthesis and nerve transmission, helps to keep the immune system healthy
- Sodium – balances bodily fluids, needed for muscle contraction, and nerve transmition. Even a small deficiency will lower blood pressure.
- Sulfur – essentail for hair, skin, and nail health, as well as protein metabolism.
- Chloride – balances bodily fluids, essential to digestion.
Microminerals (15 mg/day or less required):
- Iron – a component of hemoglobin, optimises chemical reactions within the body, essential for the production of energy.
- Zinc – part of many enzymes and protein, essential to cell regeneration, a strong immune system and the sense of smell and taste.
- Iodine – found in thyroid hormone, influences growth, developmen, as well as nerve and muscle function, plays a part in body temperature stabilisation and metabolism.
- Selenium – an antioxidant, regulates thyroid hormone activity.
- Manganese – essential to amino acid, cholesterol and carbohydrate metabolism, as well as bone health.
- Copper – helps in iron matbolism and red blood cells production, part of many enzymes.
- Chromium – regulates blood sugar levels, enhances the activity of insulin, needed for glucose metabolism.
- Fluoride – important for bone and teeth health, helps prevent tooth decay.
- Molybdenum – part of several enzymes.