Minerals: An Overview

What are minerals?

Minerals are elements that come to us from the earth and cannot be made (chemically or otherwise) for us to consume. For example, we can't make iron, silver, or gold—but these are all minerals. We now know that minerals are critical to human health and that at least 24 mineral elements are needed to promote and maintain physical and mental health. Minerals are one of our body's basic building blocks and contribute to the health of our blood, muscles, bones, teeth, muscles, and soft tissue—almost every part of our body.

Minerals can be divided into two categories according to their relative optimum presence in our body. The first group, macro-minerals, makes up more than .01 percent of our total body weight. These minerals, crucial for good health, include calcium, phosphorus, chlorine, potassium, sulfur, sodium, magnesium and silicon. The second group, micro-minerals, or trace minerals, are also essential to good health. These make up less than .01 percent of our total body weight and include iron, copper, zinc, iodine, cobalt, bromide, boron, manganese, selenium, fluorine, molybdenum, vanadium, arsenic, and chromium.

The mineral supplements we hear the most about include calcium, iron, and zinc.

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in our body. Calcium is vital to the growth and maintenance of strong bones and teeth. Osteoporosis, a disease that results from insufficient Calcium, causes bones to weaken to the point where they'll break easily. The best prevention of Osteoporosis is an adequate intake of Calcium in your teenage years, and is particularly important for women, who suffer more often from the effects of Osteoporosis than men. Calcium is often taken with Vitamin D, which improves Calcium absorption.

Iron is a mineral that helps you to produce healthy red blood cells. When your body doesn't get enough iron, it can't produce enough red blood cells to keep you healthy, and a condition known as anemia may result. Symptoms of anemia include tiredness, irritability, an increase in colds, flu, and other infections, as well as possible learning disabilities. Anemia can be corrected by increasing the amount of iron in the blood.

Zinc contributes to normal growth and body health and supports and improves the body's defense system. In particular, we need Zinc for our immune system to function properly. Zinc also has a role as an antioxidant and helps to defend our body from free radicals, which attack and damage our cells. Zinc also plays a role in more than 20 other bodily reactions. Lack of sufficient Zinc in our diet may result in poor night vision, a decreased ability in our sense of taste or smell, and an inability to fight off infections.

Minerals form a critical component of good health, but they need to be taken with care, and often either in combination with other minerals or vitamins or without other vitamins or minerals. Zinc, for example, should not be taken with iron or phosphorous. Read the labels on your mineral supplements carefully and follow prescribed doses for your healthy life style.

Vitamins

Vitamin A
B-Complex Vitamins
Vitamin B 6
Vitamin B 12
Vitamin B 17
Vitamin C
Vitamin D
Vitamin E
Biotin
Choline
Niacin
Pantothenic Acid
Thiamin

Minerals

Minerals: An Overview
Copper
Chromium
Selenium
Magnesium
Vanadium
Zinc
Potassium
Iron

Supplements

Amino Acids
Antioxidants
Lutein
Lycopene
Co-Q10
Glucosamine