The importance of minerals and benefits of supplementing with them
(See suggested supplements below)
Minerals nutrients in our body are as essential as oxygen to sustain life, and vital to all mental & physical processes & for total well being. They are most important factors in maintaining all physiological processes, are constituents of the teeth, bones, tissues, blood, muscle, and nerve cells. As catalysts for many biological reactions in our body, they are necessary for transmission of messages through the nervous system, digestion, & metabolism or utilization of all nutrients in foods. Vitamins cannot be properly assimilated without the correct balance of minerals. For example; calcium is needed for vitamin "C" utilization, zinc for vitamin "A", magnesium for "B" complex vitamins, selenium for vitamin "E" absorption, etc.
"Dead Doctors Don't Lie"
In this video Dr. Wallach explains the importance and healing qualities of minerals. (I will say I love his talk here but I am not fond of his minerals since they are expensive and have some toxins. I prefer the supplements below)
Minerals are very important in keeping the blood and tissue fluids from either becoming too acid or too alkaline, and they allow other nutrients to pass into the bloodstream, and aid in transporting nutrients to the cells. They also draw chemicals in & out of the cells. A slight change in the blood concentration of important minerals can rapidly endanger life. It is important to note that the actions or minerals within the body are interrelated; no single mineral can function without the others, since they are synergistically related. They are your electrolytes, carrying electrical currents through the body. There is much proof that the body is run electrically, and minerals are the conductor of these currents. A deficiency in any particular one, can run a person down very rapidly.
More Functions of Minerals in the Body
- Minerals act as co-factors for enzyme reactions. Enzymes don’t work without minerals. All cells require enzymes to work & function. They give us our vitality.
• They maintain the pH balance within the body.
• Minerals actually facilitate the transfer of nutrients across cell membranes.
• They maintain proper nerve conduction
• Minerals help to contract and relax muscles.
• They help to regulate our bodies tissue growth.
• Minerals provide structural and functional support for the body.
We cannot produce minerals within our bodies, so we must obtain them through our food. They ultimately come from the earth. Good soil is 45% minerals, yet our soils today are quite lacking due to synthetic fertilizers, mono-cropping and more. In the US our soils contain 86% less minerals than they did 100 years ago (based on a study done in 1992). A diet rich in organic green vegetables and fruits, and whole grains grown in fertile soil may afford some assurance of minerals, but since our soil today is depleted of these nutrients adding mineral-trace mineral supplements to the diet, will provide some insurance. If there is a problem with poor digestion & assimilation, the best method might be to add liquid minerals to the diet, to afford easier absorption & rapid assimilation. Liquid minerals from the sea, a natural source, have shown beneficial results in the shortest length of time. Sea water has been shown to have the same chemical balance as the human blood, so may be used quite adequately in the human body. Having the proper balance of minerals in the body can make the difference between disease or sickness and optimum health.
Almost everyone has some Deficiencies:
There are 103 known minerals, at least 18 of these are necessary for good health. Mineral imbalance is epidemic. Osteoporosis is on the rise in our nation, 30 million people in the US over 50 are susceptible to fractures caused by mineral deficiencies in their bones. Over 1/3 of the women in America will have diagnosable osteoporosis in their lifetime. Osteoporosis isn’t even diagnosed until you’ve lost 30% of your bone mass. Nearly 100% of Americans have some type of joint degeneration by the time they are 40 years old. Zinc deficiency is very common, evidenced by such health issues as; prostate cancer, breast cancer, hormonal imbalances, hydrochloric acid deficiency, skin cancer. Magnesium is a key element to keeping the cells metabolizing, involved in at least 300 functions in the body. Magnesium is particularly sensitive to stress, and can easily be lost. Most everyone is deficient in magnesium, along will all of the main minerals of the body. It can take several years to re-mineralize the body. It can take 12 months to replace one mineral such as iron, so keeping up with it prior to the deficiency is important.
Macro and Micro (trace) Minerals
There are two categories of minerals essential within the body, macro-minerals & micro-minerals. There is no one mineral deficiency, they all must be maintained in balance within the body.
Micro-minerals (or Trace Minerals)
Of all of these minerals found in the body, calcium is the main mineral, it comprises almost half of the mineral content in the body. Just 1% of the calcium in the body is actually in the blood, so blood tests are not accurate answers to just how much calcium our body truly has. The other 99% is stored in the bone. In order for calcium to be absorbed and utilized by the body there are several factors to consider. For example, if the overall systemic pH is off, it will be difficult to utilize the calcium you eat.
Also, your hormonal function affects your ability to attain the calcium you consume, as well as whether or not you are adequately hydrated or if you digestion is impaired. Calcium also works in tandem with other minerals (particularly magnesium), vitamins and fatty acids. If you are not eating a properly prepared, whole foods, nutrient dense diet, staying hydrated and improving your over all digestion, you could be eating all the calcium in the world and not be able to retain it. Most everyone gets adequate calcium in their diet, but are missing some or all of the above co-factors in their lives to make it of use to the body in the way it is intended. It is also dangerous to take calcium supplements without at least a 1:1 ratio of magnesium or more magnesium than calcium.
Absorption from the GI tract is the first step to getting the minerals into circulation. If you see any aspect of undigested food in the stool, you can be sure you are not getting your minerals. Anyone with osteoporosis or osteopenia should check the pH of the stomach and check for adequate hydrochloric acid levels produced by zinc.
Hormones & Minerals
If certain hormones are dysfunctional in the body this will also affect our bodies ability to utilize calcium. Such as parathyroid, thyroid, adrenal and sex hormones. The parathyroid hormone is primary in regulating the blood calcium levels. The mineralcocoritcoids produced by the adrenals are very important in regulating minerals, particularly sodium/potassium homeostasis which has a role in calcium homeostasis as well. Women that go through menopause have a much greater risk of bone loss. Estrogen and progesterone need to be in balance at this time to help with osteoclastic activity.
Fatty Acids & Minerals
Appropriate fatty acid intake in the diet is necessary for the calcium to be transported through the cells walls. Fatty acids also help increase the calcium levels in the tissues. Weston Price and Royal Lee talked about the relationship between vitamin D and vitamin F (or fatty acids) through their studies. Vitamin D gets the calcium into the blood, fatty acids get it into the tissue. Without appropriate fatty acids you won’t get calcium into your tissues which is where a larger quantity of our body houses calcium.
Vitamin D is necessary for calcium homeostasis and bone health. (if supplementing be sure it’s in the form of D3, not D2 - click the photo to the left) (See my blog on the importance of the sun and vitamin D3 here)
Hydration & Minerals
Additionally, we need good hydration to ensure that the blood is fluid enough to efficiently transport calcium throughout the body to other tissues. We also need to get balanced electrolytes (electrically charged ions of calcium, sodium, potassium , chloride, bicarbonate) to ensure an appropriate transfer of calcium in and out of the cells. This is only the beginning of understanding how just one mineral works within the body. However, they all work synergistically, so it is very important to consume a high quality real food diet based on the properly prepared foods paradigm discovered by Weston A. Price through his studies of indigenous people groups. We need a full spectrum approach to ensure we are getting adequate mineral intake, not just supplementing with some or one or two individual minerals, that will always throw off the mineral balance in the body. Be sure to consume a wide array of fresh real whole foods in season and properly prepared.
Best Food Sources of Minerals
By far the best and most ionic form of a full spectrum of minerals is bone broth. A full spectrum good quality sea salt is also a fabulous way to get in minerals and trace minerals. Also good mineral rich water from wells is a great option, but one that most of us no longer have access to. Animal proteins from well raised animal on pasture and grass-fed as well as wild seafood are another great source. Properly prepared nuts, seeds and legumes are excellent as well.
Remember to pair these foods with good fatty acids to ensure you are actually utilizing them well. If you are not well versed on which fats are optimal, please read this post here on; ‘What Fats You Should Be Consuming.’ Raw milk dairy products (not pasteurized or homogenized), cultured dairy and cheeses are an excellent source. Organic and Pastured eggs are rich in a wide array of nutrients that all synergistically support each other.
Dark leafy greens, sea vegetables, oysters, even butter and liver. If you are familiar with the foods recommended in "Nourishing Traditions" (on the left) and make sure to get a balanced diet from them it is possible to obtain the minerals your body needs. Just remember that there are co-factors to consider when your body shows signs of deficiencies. (Source: my notes and studies from The Nutritional Therapy Association.)
Recommended Mineral Supplement Products:
(Click photo for link)
Concen-Trace - I like to use these supplements when I'm not taking Sole (see my post here on how to make sole here)
Next is Himalayan Pink salt that I like next and use this or real salt to Make Sole with any pure grade, 100% Himalayan Pink Salt.
You can put these minerals in a regular bath or foot bath.
I also Make a magnesium oil with these minerals and rub it on my skin (shown here). The oil is easy, just heat it in a pot with 1 cup minerals and one cup water and just rub it on your torso and your skin will absorb it.
I also make a Bone broth soup. See here how to make it.
I like these Sea minerals as well. (I take these only when I'm not taking concen-trace minerals or making sole)
If you are spending the money to take vitamins supplements, make sure you are getting enough minerals to help you absorb theml! (See the supplements I take here)
Where to find minerals in food sources:
- Boron is abundant in apples, pears, grapes, leafy greens, carrots, whole grains, and nuts.
- Primary calcium sources are dairy foods, eggs, fish, and green leafy vegetables. Other calcium-rich foods are figs, broccoli, cabbage, oats, almonds and filberts, yogurt, and blackstrap molasses. Spinach and Swiss chard bind calcium in the digestive tract and are not a ready source.
- Chromium is found in brown rice and other whole grains, cheeses, meats, dried beans, corn, eggs, mushrooms, and potatoes.
- Copper is found in nuts, mushrooms, broccoli, garlic, lentils, salmon, and green vegetables. It is also found in plumbing and cooking pots, which may leach into food and water.
- Germanium occurs primarily in garlic, shiitake mushrooms, and onions.
- Iron can be provided by eating green leafy vegetables, raisins, meat, eggs, liver, fish and fowl, nuts, and whole grains. It can also be obtained by cooking in iron skillets.
- Magnesium is found in most foods, primarily animal and fish sources.
- Potassium food sources include dairy foods, fish, fresh and dried fruits, beans and peas, meats, fish and fowl, and whole grains.
- Zinc sources include brewer's yeast, eggs, fish, meats, beans, mushrooms, nuts and seeds, and whole grains.
Alternative Food Sources
- Sea vegetables (sea weeds such as dulse, kelp, wakambe, and hijiki) are an excellent source of minerals obtained from the ocean. They can be used to make soup stock, added to stews and casseroles, or served with vegetables.
- Herbs are a valuable source of minerals as well. For example, calcium is found in alfalfa, burdock root, chamomile, dandelion, flaxseed, paprika, raspberry leaves, rose hips, and other herbs. Iron is found in the same herbs as calcium, and in the Chinese herb dong quai (angelica), as well as other herbs.
Recommended daily allowances exist for a number of minerals, such as calcium. However, minimum daily requirements for some minerals such as boron, chromium, and molybdenum, do not exist. The essential bulk minerals include:
- Calcium—essential for strong bones and teeth, healthy gums, and bone growth and mineral density in children. Calcium helps regulate the heart rate and nerve impulses, lower cholesterol, prevent atherosclerosis, develop muscles, and prevent muscle cramping. Calcium is an important component of blood clotting. Calcium and phosphorus are closely related minerals that should be balanced. About 99 percent of calcium and 85 percent of phosphate occur in the skeleton as crystals of calcium phosphate. Both nutrients occur in a variety of foods such as milk, eggs, and green, leafy vegetables. Calcium deficiency due to lack of dietary calcium occurs only rarely and is often due to vitamin D deficiency , because vitamin D is required for efficient absorption of dietary calcium. Significant depletion of calcium stores can lead to osteoporosis. It is important to take a 1:1 ratio of calcium and magnesium and not just calcium by itself.
- Magnesium—assists in the utilization of calcium and potassium, and functions in enzyme reactions to produce energy. Magnesium protects the lining of arteries and helps form bones. It helps prevent cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and some cancers. By acting with vitamin B 6 , magnesium can help prevent or dissolve calcium oxylate kidney stones, the most common kind of stones. Dietary magnesium deficiency often occur in chronic alcoholics, persons taking diuretic drugs, chronic stress, and as a result of severe, prolonged diarrhea .
- Sodium—sodium deficiency (hyponatremia) is a serious deficiency, arising most often after excessive losses of body fluid ( dehydration ) during prolonged and severe diarrhea or vomiting . Sodium and potassium are electrolytes that must be balanced in the body. Since most people get more than enough salt in the diet, potassium may be needed to balance it. Together, these minerals control fluid balance through a mechanism called "the sodium/potassium pump." Prolonged imbalances in sodium and potassium can contribute to heart disease.
- Potassium—important for a healthy nervous system and a steady heart rate, helps to prevent stroke , and, with sodium, is critical in maintaining fluid balance. Potassium, an electrolyte, must be balanced with sodium. Potassium deficiency is usually associated with sodium deficiency and both are associated with dehydration stemming from excessive losses of body fluid.
- Phosphorus—helps form bones and teeth, supports cell growth, and regulates heart muscle contraction and kidney function. Phosphorus converts food to energy and supports the utilization of vitamins. Deficiency is rare because phosphate is plentiful in plant and animal foods and is efficiently absorbed from the diet. Phosphorus is closely related to calcium and the two minerals should be in balance with each other and with magnesium. Deficiency in one will affect all and will ultimately have an unwanted effect on body function. Calcium and phosphorus are stored in the bones as crystals of calcium phosphate. Milk, eggs, and green, leafy vegetables are rich in calcium and phosphate.
Trace minerals essential for human health include:
- Boron—required for healthy bones, brain function, alertness, and the metabolism of bulk minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Deficiencies are rare except in aging, when supplementation may help absorb calcium. A deficiency in boron is associated with vitamin D deficiency. Boron supplements can improve calcium levels as well as vitamin D levels, and can help prevent osteoporosis in postmenopausal women by promoting calcium absorption.
- Chromium—required for maintaining energy levels. Chromium helps metabolize glucose and stabilize glucose levels. It helps the body manufacture and use cholesterol and protein.
- Copper—helps form healthy bones, joints, and nerves as well as hemoglobin and red blood cells. Copper contributes to healing, energy production, taste, and hair and skin color. It is essential in forming collagen for healthy bones and connective tissue, and helps prevent osteoporosis. Except in osteoporosis, copper deficiency is rare, although dramatic changes in copper metabolism occur in two serious genetic diseases, Wilson disease and Menkes' disease.
- Germanium—helps improve the delivery of oxygen to tissues and remove toxins and poisons from the body. Germanium gives garlic its natural antibiotic properties.
- Iodine—helps promote healthy physical and mental development in children. Iodine is required for thyroid gland function and metabolizing fats. Iodine deficiency is a public health problem in parts of the world that have iodine-deficient soils. Iodine is needed to make thyroid hormone, which has a variety of roles in human embryo development. A deficiency during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects. Deficiency in adults can result in an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter) in the neck.
- Iron—critical in the production of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells, and myoglobin found in muscle tissue. Iron is essential for important enzyme reactions, growth, and maintaining a healthy immune system. In the blood, iron is found in larger amounts than any other mineral. Iron deficiency causes anemia (low hemoglobin and reduced numbers of red blood cells), which results in tiredness and shortness of breath because of poor oxygen delivery.
- Manganese—essential for metabolizing fat and protein, regulating blood glucose, and supporting immune system and nervous system function. Manganese is necessary for normal bone growth and cartilage development. It is involved in reproductive functions and helps produce mother's milk. Along with B vitamins, manganese produces feelings of well-being. Deficiency can lead to convulsions, vision and hearing problems, muscle contractions, tooth-grinding and other problems in children; and atherosclerosis, heart disease, and hypertension in older adults.
- Molybdenum—found in bones, kidneys, and liver. Only extremely small amounts are needed to metabolize nitrogen and promote proper cell function. Molybdenum is present in beans, peas, legumes, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables. A diet low in these foods can lead to mouth and gum problems and cancer.
- Selenium—an important antioxidant that works with vitamin E to protect the immune system, heart, and liver, and may help prevent tumor formation. Selenium deficiency occurs in regions of the world where soils are selenium-poor and low-selenium foods are produced. Premature infants are naturally low in selenium with no known serious effects.
- Silicon—helps form bones and connective tissue, nails, skin, and hair. Silicon is important in preventing cardiovascular disease.
- Sulfur—disinfects the blood and helps to rid the body of harmful bacteria and toxic substances.
- Vanadium—vital to cell metabolism, and helps reduce cholesterol and form healthy bones and teeth. Vanadium functions in reproduction. Deficiencies may be associated with heart and kidney disease and reproductive disorders. Vanadium deficiency may be associated with infant mortality.
- Zinc—important in the growth of reproductive organs and regulation of oil glands. Zinc is required for protein synthesis, immune system function, protection of the liver, collagen formation, and wound healing. A component of insulin and major body enzymes, zinc helps vitamin absorption, particularly vitamins A and E. Deficiency is rare.
By utilizing the information presented on this site, you agree to and understand that author, Bill Farr is not a doctor or any other type of certified health care professional, and his opinion is not a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your doctor or your other health care providers concerning your symptoms and medical requirements before following any of the remedies or other suggestions he offers. His opinion is based on his own research and is to be used for educational purposes only. Bill Farr’s wellness plans and advice are meant to be used in conjunction with standard allopathic or osteopathic medical treatment and care.