Minerals

Vitamins | Minerals | Herbs | Personal Hygiene | Mother and Baby

Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein. Twenty amino acids are needed to build the various proteins used in the growth, repair, and maintenance of body tissues. Eleven of these amino acids can be made by the body itself, while the other nine (called essential amino acids) must come from the diet.

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. Of the two to three pounds of calcium contained in the average body, 99% is located in the bones and teeth. Calcium is needed to form bones and teeth and is also required for blood clotting, transmission of signals in nerve cells, and muscle contraction. The importance of calcium for preventing osteoporosis is probably its most well-known role.

Choline When medical researchers use the term “lecithin,” they are referring to a purified substance called phosphatidyl choline (PC). Supplements labeled as “lecithin” usually contain 10–20% PC. Relatively pure PC supplements are generally labeled as “phosphatidyl choline.” PC best duplicates supplements used in medical research.

Chromium is an essential trace mineral that helps the body maintain normal blood sugar levels. In addition to its well-studied effects in diabetes, preliminary research has found that chromium supplements also improves glucose tolerance in people with Turner’s syndrome—a disease linked with glucose intolerance.

Copper is needed to absorb and utilize iron. It is also part of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD). Copper is needed to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy the body runs on. Synthesis of some hormones requires copper, as does collagen (the “glue” that holds muscle tissue together) and tyrosinase (the enzyme that puts pigment into the skin).

Folic acid is needed for DNA synthesis. DNA allows cells—including cells in the fetus when a woman is pregnant—to replicate normally. Adequate intake of folic acid early in pregnancy is important for preventing most neural tube birth defects and may also protect against some birth defects of the arms, legs, and heart.

Inositol is required for proper formation of cell membranes. It affects nerve transmission and helps in transporting fats within the body.

Iodine is needed to make thyroid hormones, which are necessary for maintaining normal metabolism in all cells of the body. Reports suggest that iodine may have a number of important functions in the body unrelated to thyroid function that might help people with a wide variety of conditions; these other uses for iodine are only supported by minimal research.

Iron is part of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of the blood. Iron-deficient people tire easily because their bodies are starved for oxygen. Iron is also part of myoglobin, which helps muscle cells store oxygen. Without enough iron, ATP (the fuel the body runs on) cannot be properly synthesized. As a result, some iron-deficient people become fatigued even when their hemoglobin levels are normal.

Magnesium is needed for bone, protein, and fatty acid formation, making new cells, activating B vitamins, relaxing muscles, clotting blood, and forming ATP—the energy the body runs on. Insulin secretion and function also require magnesium.

Manganese is needed for healthy skin, bone, and cartilage formation, as well as glucose tolerance. It also helps activate superoxide dismutase (SOD)—an important antioxidant enzyme.

Molybdenum is an essential trace mineral. It is needed for the proper function of certain enzyme-dependent processes, including the metabolism of iron. Preliminary evidence indicates that molybdenum, through its involvement in detoxifying sulfites, might reduce the risk of sulfite-reactive asthma attacks. However, a nutritionally oriented physician should be involved in the evaluation and treatment of sulfite sensitivity.

Potassium is needed to regulate water balance, levels of acidity, blood pressure, and neuromuscular function. It’s also required for carbohydrate and protein metabolism.

Selenium activates an antioxidant enzyme called glutathione peroxidase, which may help protect the body from cancer. Selenium has also induced “apoptosis” (programmed cell death) in cancer cells.

Zinc is a component of more than 300 enzymes that are needed to repair wounds, maintain fertility, synthesize protein, help cells reproduce, preserve vision, boost immunity, and protect against free radicals, among other functions.
 

Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by a licensed physician. You should not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication.

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