Tag Archives: minerals

Why We Need Minerals

mineralsBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Minerals, inorganic elements that are vital to bodily functions, can be divided into two groups– macrominerals and micro or trace minerals.  Many of us may be familiar with the macrominerals calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium, which are necessary in significant amounts.  Trace minerals are found in very small quantities in our bodies.  All minerals are equally important for overall health, and each provides a separate, independent function.  Throughout history we have obtained our vitamins and minerals through our diets.  Soil is the primary source of the minerals that every living cell depends upon for its structure and function.  Plants obtain these necessary nutrients when they are absorbed through the plant roots, feeding the plants that will, in turn, provide nutrients to us. 

Healthy soil, essential for food production, provides a stable base for plant roots and stores water and essential nutrients required for plant growth.  Unfortunately, today intensive, chemically based farming methods have increasingly stripped the nutrients from soil, causing vitamin and mineral nutrient levels of fruits and vegetables to drop significantly over the last 70 years.  According to researchers at the University of Texas, the declining nutrient content of food is directly related to agricultural practices that are designed to increase yield and improve size, growth rate and pest resistance rather than nutrition.  The result, mineral deficient foods. 

According to two time Nobel Prize winner Dr. Linus Pauling, “You can trace every sickness, every disease and every ailment to a mineral deficiency.” Magnesium deficiency is linked to heart disease, calcium deficiency is linked to osteoporosis, chromium deficiency is linked to diabetes and selenium deficiency is linked to cancer.  It is not just the presence of minerals that is important, they must also be in a balanced ratio to one another.  As each mineral relies on or affects every other mineral, deficiencies can affect the entire bodily system.  Minerals are necessary for bone and blood formation, healthy nerve function and maintenance, reproduction, and heartbeat regulation.  Minerals are essential for growth, healing and energy release. 

Major minerals and their functions include:

Calcium, which helps build and maintain bone strength and regulates muscle contraction, including heartbeat.  Calcium also plays a role in the activation of enzymes and hormones.  Calcium is essential for blood clotting, helps to keep skin healthy and aids in the transmission of nerve impulses. 

Sodium Chloride, which helps maintain normal fluid levels, healthy muscle function, and proper blood pH blood levels.  Sodium Chloride aids digestion and mineral assimilation and helps the body eliminate carbon dioxide. 

Magnesium, which is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose and blood pressure control and energy production.  Magnesium plays a role in bone formation and in carbohydrate and mineral metabolism. 

Phosphorus, which is needed for blood clotting, bone and tooth formation, cell growth, kidney function, and heart muscle contraction.  Phosphorus assists in energy production and vitamin utilization.  A proper balance of phosphorus, calcium and magnesium is essential and should be maintained at all times. 

Potassium, which is important for maintaining healthy nervous system function, regular heart rhythm and stable blood pressure.  Potassium works with sodium to control the body’s water balance and aids in the transmission of electrochemical impulses.   

Sulfur, which protects against toxic substances and helps to purify the blood.  Sulfur helps to maintain oxygen balance, stimulates bile secretion and supports the production of collagen for the maintenance of healthy skin and hair. 

Trace minerals and their functions include:

Chromium, which is essential in the synthesis of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, maintains stable blood sugar levels through proper insulin utilization.  Chromium also plays a role in prevention of heart disease by supporting healthy cholesterol levels. 

Copper, which aids in hemoglobin, red blood cell and collagen production and provides support for  the immune system and nerve cells.  Copper also aids in energy production, iron absorption and may have antioxidant benefits. 

Iodine, which is required for the synthesis of the thyroid hormones that regulate the basal metabolic rate and contribute to the development of the skeleton and brain. 

Iron, which is  found in every cell, is the most abundant trace mineral in the body.  Iron is essential for oxygen transport to the cells and is required for red blood cell formation and energy metabolism.  It removes waste products and plays a vital role in the production of new cells, amino acids, hormones and neurotransmitters.  Iron aids immune system function and is needed for physical and neural development. 

Manganese, which activates enzymes that play important roles in carbohydrate, amino acid and cholesterol metabolism.  Manganese is needed for the formation of healthy bone and cartilage and is a precursor to the production of the neurotransmitter GABA. 


Why Supplement?

WhySuppBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

With all the confusing and conflicting information about vitamin supplements in the news these days, it’s no wonder that so many of us are baffled. 

Science does tell us that we need vitamins minerals and phytonutrients for growth, development, and health, and that it is difficult, though not impossible, to get all of our vitamins and minerals from a healthy, nutritious diet.  Common sense and numerous studies also tell us that we don’t eat enough vegetables or fruits, we don’t eat enough oily fish and healthy fats, we don’t eat enough whole grains and whole foods.  Nope, we eat fried foods, processed foods, prepared foods, fast foods, junk foods and non-foods such as preservatives, chemicals, artificial colors and flavors, and way too much refined sugar, salt and unhealthy fats. 

Does that sound like a diet filled with all the vitamins, minerals, fiber and vital nutrients we need for optimal health to you?  Not to me either. 

Fortunately, many of us are becoming increasingly aware that the foods we choose to eat affect our health and risk of chronic disease either in a positive or negative way.  Just as we can’t avoid exercise and expect to be physically fit, we can’t make up for a diet severely devoid of nutrients by taking a pill.  What we can do is choose to eat healthy, whole foods and then supplement with high grade products designed to fill nutritional voids, support specific health concerns or keep our systems functioning optimally, leading to greater overall health and wellness and a better chance of avoiding obesity, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only a quarter of Americans eat the recommended amount of vegetables daily and only a third consume enough fruit.  As a result of the lack of these and other nutrient-rich foods in our diets, 92% of Americans are deficient in one or more essential vitamins and minerals.  More than half of the U.S. population is deficient in vitamin D, vitamins B-6, B-12 and other B-complex vitamins, vitamin A, magnesium, calcium, and zinc.  Research continues to mount in support of omega-3 supplementation for cardiovascular health, yet most Americans are deficient in omega-3’s

In the U.S., diet-related chronic disease is the single largest cause of morbidity and mortality.  Evidence gleaned over the past 3 decades identifies multifactorial dietary elements, genetic susceptibility and environmental agents as the underlying causes of chronic disease.  The excessive consumption of industrial era refined foods such as cereals, sugars and oils universally underlies virtually all chronic disease prevalent today.  These foods have far reaching effects on our health and wellbeing. 

With the war against GMO foods, trans fats, and refined sugar and the growing demand for organic produce and grass-fed or free range animal products, Americans are beginning to change their own thought processes regarding their diets in relation to their health.  In the meantime, even as food manufacturers continue to refine all the goodness out of our foods, the healthiest among us will endeavor to eat well and take our vitamins and minerals to support our wellness and longevity and increase our chances of avoiding chronic disease. 

Barlean’s Greens by Barlean’s Organic Oils –  This great tasting premium superfood is formulated with vitalizing plant-based ingredients that are guaranteed to be of the highest quality and purity.  Contains proprietary blends of greens, pre- and probiotics, antioxidants, fiber and herbs in a 95% organic, gluten-free and non-GMO formula. 

LifeCore Complete by Ortho Molecular –  Hypoallergenic pure non-GMO plant proteins including rice, pea and potato in the preferred ratio of protein, carbohydrate and fat.  No gluten, soy, dairy or fructose.  With 20 grams of protein per serving this product is easily digestible and is available in natural chocolate and vanilla flavors. 

Multivite by Douglas Laboratories –  This natural food supplement provides high potency natural vitamins and organic minerals in a wheat, soy, corn and dairy free formula.  No artificial coloring, flavoring or preservatives. 

B-Complex by Innate Response Formulas This vegetarian formula, derived from 100% whole food, contains a balanced ratio of all the essential B vitamins and their inherent co-factors in their most bioavailable forms.  Gluten, dairy and soy free.