Just like vitamins, minerals are one of the most essential nutrients our body needs to maintain our health. Minerals are required for development of bone and skeletal muscles, for blood formation, for maintaining healthy nervous system.
Minerals can be divided into two categories, one which is a bulk mineral such as calcium, iron; sodium, chlorine, and other are trace minerals such as boron, cobalt, copper, phosphorus and magnesium. The source of minerals for our body requirement comes from eating plants and plant eating animals.
Deficiency Of Minerals Signs
Mineral deficiency may bring host of symptoms, we will categorize minerals and its deficiency symptoms in brief as follows:
- Iron: It is a major element on earth, in body iron is required for energy production and maintaining proper hemoglobin. Iron deficiency symptoms are: anemia, fatigue, rapid heartbeat, breathlessness, difficult concentration. Learning difficulties in children, difficulty in swallowing which is known as PV syndrome, etc.
- Calcium: the most familiar role of calcium is building strong bones and teeth. Calcium deficiency symptoms include: muscle cramps, brittle nails, osteoporosis, bone pain, curving of lower leg bones, tooth decay, depression, insomnia etc.
- Iodine: symptoms of deficiency are: weight gain, hypothyroidism, cretinism and fatigue.
- Magnesium: muscular weakness, anxiety, heart attack, loss of appetite, vomiting, tremors, loss of coordination, muscle cramps, dizziness etc.
Mineral Deficiency Symptoms
- Zinc: good source include oysters, beef, pork, and beef liver, crab and fermented soya bean. zinc deficiency symptoms are: growth retardation, delayed sexual maturity, mental lethargy, delayed wound healing, abnormalities of taste, smell and vision, acne, eczema and increased susceptibility to infection.
- Chlorine: deficiency is extremely rare but symptoms include failure to gain weight, constipation.
- Selenium: impaired growth, high cholesterol level, male sterility.
- Potassium: muscle weakness, poor reflexes, drinking excessive amount of water, acne, constipation, fatigue, insomnia etc.
- Copper: hair loss, fragile bones, diarrhea, cramps in abdomen, diarrhea, weakness etc.
- Sodium: loss of appetite, loss of thirst, severe muscle cramp, weakness, vomiting and irritability.
Mineral deficiency test kits are available, but the best way for knowing mineral deficiency is by laboratory examination of blood for mineral deficiency.
Minerals are inorganic substances like sodium, potassium, chlorine, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iodine, iron, cobalt, and copper. They are classified into two categories: major and minor, based on the intake level.
If more than 100 mg of a mineral is required per day, the mineral is classified as a Major mineral. Major minerals include calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chlorine, magnesium, and sulfur.
Minor or trace minerals include boron, chromium, cobalt, fluorine, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, silicon, vanadium, and zinc.
Minerals Your Body Needs
- Plants incorporate minerals from the soil into their own tissues. For this reason fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds are often excellent sources of minerals.
- Minerals – as they occur in the earth in their natural form – are inorganic or lifeless. In plants, however, most minerals are combined with organic molecules. This usually results in better mineral absorption. Green leafy vegetables are the best source of many minerals.
- Minerals are vital for good health. Like vitamins they are essential for regulating and building the cells which make up the body. Body cells receive the essential food elements through the bloodstream. They must, therefore, be properly nourished with an adequate supply of all the essential minerals for the efficient functioning of the body.
- Minerals help to maintain the volume of water necessary for the life processes in the body. They help draw chemical substances into and out of the cells, and keep the blood and tissue fluids from becoming either too acidic or too alkaline.
- The importance of minerals, like vitamins, is illustrated by the fact that there are over 50,000 enzymes in the body which direct growth and energy, and each enzyme has minerals and vitamins associated with it. Each of the essential food minerals does a specific job in the body, while some of them do extra work in teams to keep the body cells healthy.
- Minerals thus play an important role in bodily functions and are present in every human cell. Although the amount needed may be small, even the lack of the required trace of the mineral is bound to lead to a dysfunction at some level in the body.
- Less obvious deficiency of minerals may surface as fatigue, irritability, loss of memory, nervousness, depression, and weakness.
- These inorganic minerals are essential for the proper growth and assimilation of the organic substances, and development of every part of the body.
- The body can tolerate a deficiency of vitamins for a relatively long period, but even slight changes in the concentration of the important minerals in the blood may rapidly endanger life.