Essential Minerals

WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL MINERALS? 

Earth minerals are crystalline substances of inorganic, non-biologic origin. They are natural occurring elements usually taken from the ground or water.  

Every living cell on this earth depends on minerals for proper function and structure. Minerals are needed for the proper composition of body fluids, the formation of blood and bone, maintenance of healthy nerve function, and the regulation of muscle tone, which includes those muscles of the cardiovascular system. Minerals function as coenzymes, enabling the body to perform its functions including energy production, growth, and healing. One of the most important functions of minerals is their participation in enzyme systems. For enzymes to operate, minerals must be present.  

Although it is recommended each of us take a digestive enzyme with each meal, without a proper balance of minerals, the enzymes are less effective.  

CATEGORIES OF MINERALS

Major

Calcium (Ca)

Phosphorus (P)

Magnesium (Mg)

Iron (Fe)

 Electrolyte

Potassium (K)

Sodium (Na)

Chloride (Cl) 

Trace

Boron (B)

Chromium (Cr)

Cobalt (Co)

Copper (Cu)

Iodine (I)

Lithium (Li)

Manganese (Mn)

Molybdenum (Mo)

Selenium (Se)

Strontium (Sr)

Sulfur (S)

Vanadium (V)

Zinc (Zn)

+ 14 ‘Others’

Unknown Use

There are 31 additional minerals that may have a profound effect of health.

 Toxic Minerals (or Metals)

Aluminum (Al)

Mercury (Hg)

Arsenic (As)

Nickel (Ni)

Cadmium (Cd)

Fluorine (F)

Lead (Pb)

Beryllium (Be)

Major or Macro Minerals

Calcium (Ca)
The body contains more calcium than any other mineral. Calcium is important for heart health, nerves, muscles, skin, bones, and teeth. Calcium also helps relieve the following disorders: aches in muscles and bones, menstrual cramps, muscle spasms, nervousness, tension, tremors, insomnia, and several others in those individuals who have become deficient. Calcium helps control blood acid/alkaline balance, plays a role in cell division, muscle growth, and iron utilization, activates certain enzymes, and helps transport nutrients through cell membranes. The blood level of calcium is maintained by several hormones: parathyroid (increase) and calcitonin (decrease) and vitamin D (transport facilitator). However, protein deficiency lowers calcium absorption. Also, a deficiency of the amino acid lysine is especially instrumental in decreasing calcium absorption. Signals of a calcium deficiency may include cramps, convulsions, poor blood clotting, heart problems, cancer, rickets, osteomalacia (softening of the bones), osteoporosis, tooth caries, and nervousness. 
Phosphorus (P)
This mineral is needed for the metabolic processes of all cells, to activate many other nutrients, and to form energy storage and release compounds. Bones consist of about one-half as much phosphorus as the calcium content. Phosphorus forms the phosphate in the body. Many of the B-complex vitamins are effective only when combined with phosphate. Two of the most important series of phosphorous-containing compounds are adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and nucleoproteins. Nucleoproteins are the major components in cell nuclei that control cell division, reproduction and heredity. ATP is what the body uses to produce energy. Deficiency symptoms may result in poor mineralization of bones, retarded growth, rickets, deficient nerve and brain function, reduced sexual power, and general weakness. 
Magnesium (Mg)
This mineral is closely related to calcium and phosphorus in body function.  It is the fifth in abundance within the body, behind calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium.  It is an essential part of many enzyme systems. The chief function of magnesium is to activate certain enzymes, especially those related to carbohydrate metabolism. Another major role of magnesium is to maintain the electrical potential across nerve and muscle membranes. In nerve cells, calcium is the stimulator, and magnesium is the relaxer. Magnesium can lower blood pressure, which is one reason a deficiency may cause high blood pressure. Magnesium is required in more than thirty enzyme systems that deal with cell growth and division, which are disordered in cancer. Magnesium sparks enzyme activity needed for energy production.  Deficiency signals may include loss of appetite, irritability, weakness, insomnia, muscle tremor, tetany, twitching, numbness, tingling, confusion, disorientation, personality change, learning disability, apathy, memory impairment, skin lesions, elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, cardiovascular changes, tachycardia, elevated parathyroid hormone, pancreatitis, and stress. 
Iron (Fe)
Virtually all the atoms of oxygen used by the cells in the life process are brought to the cells by hemoglobin or red blood cells. Iron is a small but most vital component of hemoglobin. The essential functions of iron are not only oxygen transport and oxygen utilization, but to help remove carbon dioxide from the tissues. As we know, without oxygen we cannot survive. Therefore, iron is a very important mineral. Deficiencies may include fatigue, weakness, listlessness, lack of appetite, pallor, headache, long recovery period after exertion, palpitation on exertion, infections, sore tongue, mouth inflammation, difficulty in swallowing, thin malformed fingernails, cold extremities, and craving for ice or dirt. 

Electrolyte Minerals 

The Electrolyte Minerals are responsible for the acidity and alkalinity of solutions. They conduct and electric current that can be measured. The millivoltage of cells of a healthy adult measures 65. That of an ill person drops to approximately 35. A cancer patient drops to a low of 15 to 20 millivolts. There is an absolute correlation with these levels of millivolts, the available electrolyte minerals and the pH. The Electrolyte Minerals are:

Potassium (K)
Our bodies normally contain more than twice as much potassium as sodium. About 98 percent of total body potassium is inside our cells. The kidneys are the major regulatory mechanism controlling potassium balance. Regulation of body potassium is dependent on elements in the system that maintains sodium balance. Magnesium helps hold potassium within the cells. Potassium is important in controlling the activity of the heart, muscles, nervous system, and just about every living cell in the body. Potassium functions as an activator of enzymes and is involved in the use of amino acids. There is evidence that potassium is involved in bone calcification. Potassium is also needed to maintain cell integrity. Deficiency signals may include constipation, insomnia, nervousness, indigestion, weakness, irritability, edema, headaches, alkalosis, bone and joint pain, and tachycardia or galloping heart. Elevated potassium levels can result from kidney failure, dehydration, or adrenal insufficiency.  
Sodium (Na)
Typically sodium is associated with table salt.  However, table salt is actually sodium chloride. An ounce of salt contains 0.4 ounces of sodium (40%). Natural foods tend to be low in sodium and high in potassium, but processed foods are the opposite. Salt (sodium chloride or NaCl) is normally added to enhance flavor by the food processing companies, and potassium is often leached out during processing. Excess sodium retention increases the fluid volume (edema), and low sodium leads to less fluid and relative dehydration. Signs of severe deficiency may include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, cramps, exhaustion, apathy, and circulatory failure. However, these signals do not readily occur except for those losing sodium from excessive sweating during long periods of exercise or work. 
Chloride (Cl)
This is essential as an electrolyte, but no known deficiencies have been reported. Chloride is readily obtained in nearly all foods and as mentioned, is a component of table salt. Chloride ions participate with sodium, potassium, bicarbonate and carbonic acid in playing a major role in water metabolism, osmosis, and acid-alkaline balance. Chloride is used in the stomach in forming hydrochloric acid, which is necessary for normal digestion of protein and the solubility of many minerals.  

Trace Minerals 

Trace minerals are those that are found in the body in only minute quantities, which amount to less than0.01 percent of the body. Although there are 31 common trace minerals, we will only cover those most known. 

Chromium (Cr)
Chromium is important in carbohydrate metabolism by assisting insulin in the control of glucose in the blood. Failure to maintain adequate blood glucose because of a chromium deficiency may result in an increase in atherosclerosis, heart disease, diabetes, hypoglycemia, and impaired protein metabolism.
Cobalt (Co)
Cobalt is closely related to vitamin B12 and therefore we get the name cyanocobalamin. A deficiency of one or the other will have similar signals, mainly Pernicious Anemia. Although folic acid will mask the signs of B12 deficiency, one of the effects of untreated cobalt deficiency is a progressive nervous disorder.  
Copper (Cu)
Copper is known to be a constituent of more than a dozen metalloenzyme systems. Copper and iron are necessary for the synthesis of hemoglobin. Once can be anemic due to lack of iron; however, without enough copper with the iron, you will still be anemic. As far back as 1968, it has been known that a copper-containing enzyme deficiency causes a defect in synthesis of vascular elastin. This causes cardiovascular lesions which can ultimately lead to a rupture of the aorta and/or coronary vessels. Adequate copper levels significantly retard development of cancers in animals and humans, and also decreases liver damage and cirrhosis caused by cancer-inducing materials. It can also reverse premature graying of hair when in whole form over time. Additionally, copper deficiencies can lead to skeletal defects due to demineralization, nerve degeneration, reproductive failure, elevated blood cholesterol, and immune impairment. 
Iodine (I)
Iodine is required by the thyroid gland for production of the thyroid hormones thyroxin and triiodothyronine, which are paramount to a healthy look. Lack of iodine in food predisposes one to goiter, lowered vitality, inability to think clearly, lowered basal metabolism, lowered resistance to infections, cretinism, defective teeth, drooling, tendency to obesity, loss of vascular tone, and retarded development of sexual organs.  
Manganese (Mn)
The deficiencies in this mineral can seriously handicap your muscles, mind, and metabolism. Lack of manganese can actually affect glucose tolerance leading to diabetes.  Another interesting correlation is between manganese deficiency and the ability to ‘love.’  It has been found that so-called ‘Postpartum Depression,’ can easily be traced to a lack of manganese.  Women who are manganese deficient have difficulty giving their babies loving attention.  Because they do not understand what is happening to them, they go into depression. Loss of muscle strength, especially in Myasthenia Gravis, has also been linked to a deficiency of manganese. 
Molybdenum (Mo)
This mineral is a key component of the enzymes that are involved with fat oxidation and purine metabolism. Purines are organic compounds that contribute to uric acid formation. Molybdenum deficiencies are now being associated with cancer of esophagus, sexual impotency, and tooth decay. 
Selenium (Se)
Selenium is best known as an antioxidant. It is actually a component in the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which protects vital constituents of cell against oxidative damage. In protecting our body’s 60 trillion or more cells, selenium prevents the decay of cellular function. Selenium is absolutely necessary to prevent cancer and heart disease.  By preserving tissue elasticity, selenium is also an anti-aging MINERAL. In addition, selenium helps strengthen the immune system, especially helping to fight prostate cancer.  
Sulfur (S)
Sulfur is present in every cell of animals and plants. One fourth of one percent of the body consists of sulfur. All proteins contain sulfur and nitrogen, especially animal protein, eggs, cheese, avocados, nuts, seeds, onions, and garlic. Sulfur causes the pH of the body to become acid. However, eating plenty of vegetables, will balance the system. Since sulfur is involved in the synthesis of keratin, deficiencies affect the muscles, skin, bones, nails, and most certainly the hair.  
Zinc (ZN)
There are over 70 enzyme systems in the body that require zinc as one of their constituents.  Zinc is one of the chemical constituents of insulin and male semen. It is also needed for the production of strong bones and teeth. Because of its role in protein and nucleic acid synthesis, zinc is able to speed healing. Zinc helps the proteins in enzymes needed to accelerate chemical reactions and to construct fat, bones and pigments. Antibodies and interferon are proteins necessary for fighting infections. Hormones are proteins regulating the activity of body organs. All of these depend on zinc.