Much like vitamins, minerals are essential to health. They can be split up into two boxes: macrominerals, which are required in relatively large amounts, and microminerals, which are needed in relatively small quantities. Calcium, sodium, chloride, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and sulphur are classified as macrominerals. Microminerals include iron, zinc, copper, selenium, iodine, fluoride, chromium, and manganese. As a whole, the substances that fit in these categories are inorganic and make up about 4% of one’s total body weight. They are solid, with a crystal-like structure, and are not broken down during the digestion process. An interesting note is that minerals cannot be destroyed by heat, cold, light, chemical exposure, or mechanical force. They also carry an electrical charge, which allow nerve impulses to be transmitted and muscle contraction to occur. Lastly, minerals maintain the firm nature of bones and teeth. All information presented was retrieved from Dr. Rolando Ceddia.
Macrominerals have a necessary daily intake of at least 100 mg. Alternatively, microminerals have a necessary daily intake of less than 100 mg.
The minerals that play a role in the conversion of food into energy are chromium, manganese, sulphur, selenium, and iodine.
Those that assist in keeping hydration and muscle function in their healthy states are phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and chloride.
The minerals that support the proper function and characteristics of blood are iron, zinc, and copper.
Those that are involved in maintaining bone structure and function are calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and fluoride.
Most calcium in the human body is found in the bones and teeth, while a small amount is distributed within fluids that are either inside or outside of cells. The main functions of this substance are the following: acting as a structural component of bones and teeth, keeping the body’s acid-base balance at an appropriate level, serving a critical purpose in muscle contraction, helping nerve impulse transmission, and supporting blood clotting.
Overall, in comparison to the total quantity ingested, about 25-30% of calcium is absorbed. In terms of specific supplements, the absorption rate is slightly greater. For both of these scenarios, the amount of calcium ingested is a contributing factor. One substance that limits the availability of calcium for the body to access is fibre. On the other hand, some aspects that enhance its absorption are the presence of Vitamin D, sugars, sugar alcohols, and protein.
The recommended intake of calcium is 1,200 mg/day for both women and men who are 50 years of age or older. It is best retrieved from certain items, such as milk, milk products, sardines with edible bones, clams, oysters, broccoli, bok choy, legumes, dried fruits, and calcium fortified juices.
Within the body, the thyroid gland contains the highest concentration of iodine. This gland regulates energy metabolism and protein synthesis. It also plays an important role in fetal brain and skeletal development.
A primary function of iodine is its crucial participation in the synthesis of thyroid hormones. These substances assist greatly regarding temperature regulation, reproduction, carbohydrate and fat metabolism, protein synthesis, and growth. Iodine is found in a number of dietary sources, including iodized salt, salt water, skim milk, yogurt, cheddar cheese, liver, eggs, and seafood.
The majority of iron in the body (around two-thirds) is located within red blood cells, and more specifically, is a part of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the pigment held by these cells, which binds and transports oxygen to the tissues. This substance is often referred to as heme iron or nonheme iron. The former is a component of many animal products, while the latter can be obtained from plants and plant-derived foods. Heme iron is more efficiently absorbed than nonheme iron.
Vitamin C, gastric acidity, lactic acids, meat, fish, and poultry all enhance the absorption of this mineral. Calcium (in the form of supplements or contained within food and beverages) reduces iron absorption. The key storage protein associated with this substance is active in numerous tissues, especially within the liver, bone marrow, intestines, and spleen. These are locations where iron absorption, storage, or red blood cell catabolism (in other words, destructive metabolism) takes place.
Iron plays a significant role in the transport and use of oxygen, energy production, amino acid metabolism, and the synthesis of collagen and thyroid hormones. The recommended intake of iron is 8 mg/day for both women and men who are 50 years of age or older. It is contained in a variety of sources, such as liver, meat, molasses, clams, oysters, green leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes, dried fruits, and enriched whole grains.
All in all, similar to the case of vitamins, keeping in mind one’s intake of the major minerals from this range is an important process. As a result, issues that stem from deficiencies can be better avoided, and health improvements will lead to increased performance and enjoyment of daily activities.