Minerals are elements that originate in the Earth and cannot be made by living organisms. Plants obtain minerals from the soil, and most of the minerals in our diets come directly from plants or indirectly from animal sources. Minerals may also be present in the water we drink, but this varies with geographic locale. Minerals from plant sources may also vary from place to place, because soil mineral content varies geographically.
There are estimated to be 7 essential macro-minerals and 10 essential trace minerals (also referred to as Trace Elements) which we need to derive from our diet.
Macro-Minerals: Calcium, Chlorine, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium, Sodium, Sulphur (basic functions shown below).
Trace Minerals: Cobalt, Copper, Chromium, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Nickel, Selenium, Vanadium, Zinc (basic functions shown below).
Modern man needs more than diet alone can provide. The refining, processing and storage of food means there are often reduced levels of many minerals in the food we eat, and when combined with the demineralisation of the soil through agricultural use there is strong evidence that much of the population require additional amounts of at least one of these minerals for optimal health. Mineral supplementation may therefore be one of the keys to supporting optimal health.
Bioavailability: Not all forms of minerals are well absorbed or appropriate for the human body, such as nickel. This is why Nutri-Link products are in the most highly-bioavailable form appropriate for the supplement in question. This includes amino acid chelates, citrates, bsyglycinates and plant-bound (food state) complexes, and less often in the oxide and carbonate forms. The result is the best absorption possible via active transport in the digestive tract or facilitated absorption via the ionic gradient. Adequate hydrochloric acid is required to liberate minerals from foods and create the appropriate acidic pH in order for minerals to be absorbed.
Functions of the Minerals & Trace Minerals
Calcium: Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body and has several important functions. More than 99% of total body calcium is stored in the bones and teeth where it supports the structure. The remaining 1% is found throughout the body in blood, muscle, and the intracellular fluid. Calcium is needed for muscle contraction, blood vessel constriction and relaxation, the secretion of hormones and enzymes, and nervous system signalling.
The body gets the calcium it needs in two ways. One method is dietary intake of calcium-rich foods including dairy products, which have the highest concentration per serving of highly absorbable calcium, and dark, leafy greens or dried beans, which have varying amounts of absorbable calcium. Calcium is an essential nutrient required in substantial amounts, but many diets are deficient in calcium.
The other way the body obtains calcium is by extracting it from bones. This happens when blood levels of calcium drop too low and dietary calcium is not sufficient. However, simply eating more calcium-rich foods does not necessarily replace lost bone calcium, which leads to weakened bone structure.
Hypocalcaemia is defined as a low level of calcium in the blood. Symptoms of this condition include sensations of tingling, numbness, and muscle twitches. In severe cases, tetany (muscle spasms) may occur. Hypocalcaemia is more likely to be due to a hormonal imbalance, which regulates calcium levels, rather than a dietary deficiency. Excess calcium in the blood can cause nausea, vomiting, and calcium deposition in the heart and kidneys. This usually results from excessive doses of vitamin D. Calcium supplements are widely used to reduce bone resorption in osteoporosis, and many studies support this use. Calcium supplementation is also used for colorectal neoplasia and in pregnancy.
Chloride: Chlorine exists in the body as chloride ions which is a very common electrolyte which controls the flow of water within the cells of the body.
Magnesium: Magnesium is the second most abundant intracellular cation (positively charged ion) in the human body and is involved in more than 300 enzymatic reactions. Magnesium sulfate has been the mainstay for the treatment of eclampsia and preeclampsia (toxaemia of pregnancy) for decades. Magnesium has been shown to be an effective adjunct (given either intravenously or with nebulizer) for the treatment of acute childhood asthma. Some studies have also shown the benefit of magnesium for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias , chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), type 2 diabetes, hearing loss, leg cramps during pregnancy, mitral valve prolapse symptoms, succinylcholine-induced fasciculation, and thrombolysis after an acute myocardial infarction. At higher dosages, magnesium may control hypertension, although evidence in this area is unclear.
Magnesium is required for energy (ATP) and related reactions (builds bone, causes strong peristalsis, increases flexibility, increases alkalinity) and is depleted by stress.
Phosphorous: Phosphorous is an essential component of bones; essential for energy production.Phosphorus is a mineral found in many foods, such as milk, cheese, dried beans, peas, colas, nuts, and peanut butter. Phosphate is the most common form of phosphorus. In the body, phosphate is the most abundant intracellular anion. It is critical for energy storage and metabolism, for the utilisation of many B-complex vitamins, to buffer body fluids, for kidney excretion of hydrogen ions, for proper muscle and nerve function, and for maintaining calcium balance. Phosphorus is vital to the formation of bones and teeth, and healthy bones and soft tissues require calcium and phosphorus to grow and develop throughout life. In adults, phosphorus makes up approximately 1% of total body weight. It is present in every cell of the body, although 85% of the body’s phosphorus is found in the bones and teeth.
Sodium:Sodium is an essential element for all animal life and for some plant species. Sodium is not generally found in dietary supplements, despite being needed in large quantities, because the ion is very common in food: typically as sodium chloride, or common salt. Excessive sodium consumption can deplete calcium and magnesium, leading to high blood pressure and osteoporosis.
Sulphur: Sulphur is an essential element for life and is the fifth most abundant mineral in the human body and is found in three essential amino acids: cysteine, methionine and taurine, which then impact on the proteins homocysteine and glutathione. Sulphur amino acids also influence lipid metabolism. Many proteins (found in skin, hair, nails, liver, and pancreas) are reliant on sulphur. Sulphur is important for glutathione levels.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an organosulfur compound with the formula (CH3)2SO2. It is also known by several other names: DMSO2, MSM, methylsulfonylmethane, methyl sulfone, and dimethyl sulfone. MSM is a component of connective tissue as well as being a key substrate in sulphation detoxification reactions.
Cobalt: Cobalt is an essential trace element for all multicellular organisms as the active center of coenzymes called cobalamins. These include vitamin B-12 which is essential for mammals.
Copper: Copper is required component of many redox enzymes, including cytochrome c oxidase and ATPases.
Chromium: Chromium required for carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, and comprises part of the protein Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF).
Iodine: Iodine required not only for the biosynthesis of thyroxin, but probably, for other important organs as breast, stomach, salivary glands, thymus etc. ; for this reason iodine is needed in larger quantities than others in this list, and sometimes classified with the macrominerals.
Iron: Iron is an essential mineral and an important component of proteins such as haemoglobin involved in oxygen transport and metabolism. Iron is also an essential cofactor in the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. About 15 percent of the body’s iron is stored for future needs and mobilised when dietary intake is inadequate. The body usually maintains normal iron status by controlling the amount of iron absorbed from food. There are two forms of dietary iron: heme and non-heme. Sources of heme iron include meat fish and poultry. Sources of non-heme iron, which is not absorbed as well as heme iron, include beans, lentils, flours, cereals, and grain products. Other sources of iron include dried fruit, peas, asparagus, leafy greens, strawberries, and nuts.
Manganese: Manganese is essential for antioxidant enzymes in the peroxisomeand mitochondria called super oxide dismutase (Mn-SOD) and for the formation of ligaments and cartilage.
Molybdenum: Molybdenum required for xanthine oxidase and related oxidases. Modern diets may well not provide adequate or optimal levels of molybdenum.
Nickel: Nickel is present in urease. Not used in nutritional supplements.
Selenium: Selenium is required for antioxidant proteins and enzymes.
Vanadium: No specific biochemical function has been identified for it in humans, although vanadium is required for some lower organisms, and no established RDA exists.
Zinc: Zinc required for several hundred enzymes such as carboxypeptidase, liver alcohol dehydrogenase, carbonic anhydrase. Zinc is essential for immunity.
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