Minerals Guide | Dr. Clark Store

Minerals Guide

Minerals are inorganic elements derived from the earth.  Plants absorb minerals from soil and water during growth.  Animals and humans absorb minerals from the varied foods consumed, which, at some point along the food chain, were plant based.  However, with modern technology minerals in ours food sources can be added during the manufacturing process.  Living organisms cannot make minerals; they must be derived from food sources. 

Like vitamins, minerals play vital roles in a multitude of functions within the body, such as bone mineralization, regulation of organ function, and hormone production.  But unlike vitamins that can be disassembled inside the body, minerals retain their chemical identity.  They remain intact through digestion, absorption, circulation, and all the way to excretion.

From a physiological standpoint, there are two classes of minerals: major minerals and trace minerals.  Major minerals (or macrominerals) are essential mineral nutrients found in the human body in amounts larger than five grams.  Trace minerals (or microminerals) are essential mineral nutrients found in the human body in amounts smaller than five grams.  Keep in mind that five grams is only about 1 teaspoon worth.

 

Major Minerals:

   

Trace Minerals:

 

Calcium

     

Iron

 

Chromium

Phosphorus

   

Zinc

 

Molybdenum

Potassium

   

Iodine

 

Boron

 

Sulfur

     

Selenium

 

Cobalt

 

Sodium

     

Copper

 

Fluoride

 

Chloride

     

Manganese

   

Magnesium

   

 

     

The distinction between major and trace minerals does not reflect the importance of one group over the other.  While some trace minerals are needed in only minuscule amounts, their presence in the body is just as important as the major minerals to the life sustaining functions that they carry out.

Electrolytes
Electrolytes are mineral salts that dissolve in water and separate into charged particles called ions.  These include positively charged sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium ions, and negatively charged chloride, bicarbonate, phosphate, and sulfate ions.  Water molecules attract electrolytes and act as their transport system into and out of cells.

The body needs a nearly constant concentration of electrolytes for normal functions.  Regulating these electrolyte concentrations occurs mainly in the digestive tract and in the kidneys.


The body is sufficient at guarding against fluid and electrolyte imbalances on a routine basis.  But if the body cannot compensate for rapid fluid loss caused by vomiting, diarrhea, or heavy sweating, an electrolyte imbalance can set off serious health consequences

 

References:
Rolfes, S. R., Whitney, E. N. (2002). Understanding Nutrition (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Group.

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