WHAT ARE MINERALS?
Minerals are naturally found on the earth and in different food materials needed by the body to grow and function.
WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS OF MINERALS?
Few minerals which form an integral part of our health system are Calcium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, potassium, iodine, fluorine, magnesium, sodium, and chlorine. These minerals maintain the average balance of the body. Even a slight decrease in their concentration can lead to deficiency disorders, whereas an acute increase can lead to toxicity. Therefore, a balanced intake is crucial for the body to function correctly.
Minerals have a part to play in every essential activity of the body like sensory and motor transmission by nerves, pumping of the heart, healing of injured tissues, functioning of the brain, consciousness of the mind, formation, and secretion of hormones, filtration of blood by the kidney or as simple as maintenance of the sleep-wake cycle.
Listed here are the functions of few crucial minerals-
CALCIUM: Calcium is a fundamental constituent of the bones and teeth. Calcium is also needed for the contraction and relaxation of the muscles and blood vessels. In cases of fracture of bones, Calcium is needed for healing of the fractured bone. It is also needed for the release of essential hormones of the body.
SODIUM: Maintains the fluid balance in the body. It is needed for the functioning of the nerves and muscles as well.
ZINC: Zinc is a mineral that helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms. Zinc is also required to make proteins and DNA( the genetic material for replicating cells). Zinc also helps heal wounds and is also vital for our perception of taste and smell.
POTASSIUM: Potassium is needed by the cells, nerves, and muscles to function properly. It helps to regulate the blood pressure, heart rate, and water content in the cells.
IRON: Iron, a hemoglobin component, is a protein that transports oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. Iron is essential for cell growth, development, and various other standard functions of the body.
NITROGEN: It is needed for the synthesis and metabolism of DNA and genes in our body. It also helps in the development of the human fetus.
WHAT IS RECOMMENDED DIETARY ALLOWANCE?
It is the amount of a mineral nutrient that one should intake in a day. According to the gender, weight, age of a person, it is recommended and also keeping in mind if a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding. Intake over the recommended limits may lead to toxicity of the mineral in the body, which can be severe. But Intake below the levels leads to deficiency disorders which also manifests as features of different diseases like pathological bone fracture (in Calcium deficiency), Anaemia(iron deficiency), muscle cramps, irregular heart rates, unconsciousness, poor concentration, and many more.
WHAT ARE MINERAL AND MULTI-MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS?
Mineral supplements provide the minerals found in different food items in a ready-made fashion. These are, in short, direct sources of nutrients where the body does not need to extract them from any other food material by digestion. These are often available as pills, chewing tablets, powder, or liquid drinks. These can be taken with food items as well.
Multi-mineral supplements are combinations of more than one mineral that provide more than one mineral in a single source.
Healthcare professionals generally prescribe these supplements according to your unique requirement. Likewise, the amount and dosing of the supplements are done according to the person’s requirement and should be taken accordingly.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS?
According to the amount of daily requirement in the body, the mineral supplements can be macro mineral supplements and trace mineral supplements. Macro mineral supplements needed more than 100mg per day, and those needed less than 100mg, known as trace minerals. Macro mineral supplements are Calcium, phosphorous, sodium, chlorine, etc. Trace mineral supplements are iron, manganese, selenium, copper, iodine, etc.
WHAT IS THE NEED FOR MULTI-MINERAL OR TRACE MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS?
Not always is it possible to acquire the necessary mineral nutrients from the food that we eat. This may be because of eating wrong foods, malabsorption diseases of the body, or even a poor diet containing fewer vegetables and fruits. Therefore, to compensate for this, mineral supplements are necessary.
WHO NEEDS A MULTIMINERAL SUPPLEMENT?
- People who eat a calorie-restricted diet that does not provide enough mineral nutrients.
- People who are suffering from some chronic disease or are recovering from some surgery.
- Pregnant women or the ones who are breastfeeding so that they are getting enough folic acid.
- Breastfed infants or people above 50 who do not get adequate amounts of vitamin D for their bones to be healthy.
- People who eat only a specific group of foods or avoid a particular group of foods, such as allergic to certain foods or people who eat a vegetarian diet.
- People who fall sick very frequently and need to boost their immunity.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TAKING MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS?
The advantages include boosted energy, strong hair, and glowing skin. It also includes the prevention of cardiac diseases, cancer, and other types of chronic diseases. For instance, research shows that vitamins A, C, and E may play a role in preventing cancer. In addition, minerals, such as iodine and selenium, are required for normal thyroid functioning.
CAN EXCESSIVE INTAKE BE HARMFUL?
The Intake of multimineral supplements and trace mineral supplements is good for the body, but nothing in excess is good. The excessive accumulation of the minerals in the body can lead to toxicity. Excretion is very difficult in these cases as it affects the kidneys. Excessive accumulation in the brain leads to coma, and iron accumulation under the skin leads to yellowing the skin(hemochromatosis). Healthcare professionals must be quickly consulted in such cases.
So you see the importance of minerals and multimineral supplements in this article. You also get an idea about who is advised to take multimineral supplements and the problems associated with taking an excessive dosage of these supplements.