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Minerals And Mineral Supplements

Submitted by Loring A. Windblad on December 23, 2009

Minerals play an important role in the proper functioning of the body. The body cannot make minerals and so they must be ingested through food, water or supplements. These minerals are required by the body in varying amounts. Micro minerals are those which are required in very small quantities, while macro minerals are needed in larger quantities. Minerals such as iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, magnesium and selenium are essential for the different physiological processes of the body.

Certain minerals can become toxic when consumed in large amounts. These include chromium, magnesium, selenium and zinc, which the body requires in very small amounts.

Different minerals provide different benefits to the body.

Calcium and magnesium aid in building healthy teeth and bones. Magnesium is also utilized in the process of protein synthesis. Chromium plays a role in regulating the levels of glucose in the blood.

Potassium controls the heart rate and keeps blood pressure in check. It also aids in the healthy functioning of the muscles and nerves. Zinc is an essential part of DNA and protein synthesis, and also helps in the formation of insulin.

Iron levels necessary for the health of the red blood cells in the body are also maintained with the help of zinc. Minerals also help in the absorption of vitamins by the body. All bodily fluids and tissue contain varying amounts of minerals. The bones, teeth, muscles, nerve cells and blood also contain minerals. Minerals serve as catalysts for many reactions that take place in the body such as utilizing nutrients obtained from food, response of the muscles and transmission of signals by the brain.

There are mineral supplements that are readily available, and multivitamins also contain minerals to some extent. However, mineral supplements especially those of trace minerals are most often not necessary as they are derived from the diet. Trace minerals are those which are essential for the body but are required in quantities of less than 100 milligrams each day.

Minerals are especially contained in foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and seafood. Zinc is obtained from seafood, while potassium is derived from bananas. Selenium is ingested from Brazil nuts, while iron is present in dried beans. In some cases, mineral supplements may be required. Pregnant and lactating women, teenagers, vegetarians, those undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, those with diabetes and those with kidney disorders all benefit from the intake of mineral supplements. Women usually tend to have deficiencies of iron and calcium and hence may be required to take supplements.

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