Minerals

A basic working knowledge of the main vitamins and minerals used by the human body for folk and practitioners of a variety of treatments.

Definitions:

Mineral Chemical element (as opposed to organic compound, as in the case of vitamins) necessary for the health and maintenance of bodily functions.
Macro
Mineral
Definition:
1.Minerals found in a typical adult human body in quantities greater than 5g.
2.Minerals required by a typical adult human body in quantities greater than 100mg per day.
Micro
Mineral
Definition:
1. Minerals found in a typical adult human body in quantities less than 5g.
2. Minerals required by a typical adult human body in quantities of 1mg-100mg per day.
Trace Element Chemical element which are required in small concentrations for normal bodily functions and growth.There is some overlap between the classification such elements as “Micro Minerals” and “Trace Elements” – in different textbooks copper, manganese, zinc, for example, can be placed in one or other category.

The following table (in alphabetical order within categories) includes basic information about some of the major minerals used by the human body.

Mineral Functions Sources Deficiencies Excessive Intake
Macro Minerals:
Calcium (Ca)
Key constituent of bones and teeth;Essential for vital metabolic processes such as nerve function, muscle contraction, and blood clotting. Dairy Produce Deficiency (or insufficient uptake) may lead to:Osteomalacia; Osteoporosis; Rickets; Tetany. Formation of “stones” in the body, especially the Gall
Bladder and the Kidneys.
Iron (Fe)
Essential
for transfer of oxygen between tissues in the body;
Blood (e.g. “Black Pudding”); Eggs; Green (leafy) vegetables; Fortified foods (e.g. cereals, white flour); Liver; Meat;Nuts; Offal; Peas; Whole grains. Deficiency may lead to:Anaemia;Increased susceptibility to infections. Long-term
excessive intake of iron can lead to:
Haemochromatosis or Haemosiderosis (involving

organ damage), and both of which are rare;Insufficient calcium and magnesium in the
body (because these minerals compete with
each other for absorption);Increased
susceptibility to infectious diseases.

Magnesium (Mg)
Essential
for healthy bones;
Functioning of muscle & nervous tissue;Needed for functioning of approx. 90 enzymes.
Eggs;Green leafy vegetables; Fish (esp. shellfish); Milk (and dairy products); Nuts; Wholemeal flour. Deficiency can occur gradually, leading to:Anxiety; Fatigue; Insomnia; Muscular problems; Nausea; Premenstrual problems.The most extreme cases of deficiency may be associated with arrhythmia. Unusual.
Phosphorous
(P)
Constituent
of bone tissue;
Forms compounds needed for energy conversion reactions

(e.g. adenosine triphosphate – ATP).
Dairy products; Fruits (most fruits); Meat; Pulses; Vegetables (leafy green ). Insufficient
phosphorous may lead to:
Anaemia; Demineralization of bones; Nerve disorders; Respiratory problems; Weakness;Weight
Loss.
Excess
phosphorous can interfere with the body’s absorption
of: calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc.
Potassium (K)
Main
base ion of intracellular fluid;
Necessary to maintain electrical potentials of the nervous

system – and so functioning of muscle and nerve tissues.
Cereals; Coffee;Fresh Fruits;Meat; Salt-subsitutes; Vegetables; Whole-grain flour. Insufficient potassium in the body may lead to: General muscle paralysis;Metabolic disturbances. Excessive
amounts in the body (whether due to intake
or other causes) may lead to:
Arrhythmia, and ultimately cardiac arrest

(“heart attack”). Metabolic disturbances.
Sodium (Na)
Controls
the volume of extracellular fluid in the
body;
Maintains the acid-alkali (pH) balance in

the body;Necessary
to maintain electrical potentials of the nervous system
– and so functioning of muscle and nerve tissues.

Processed bakery products;Processed foods generally (incl. tinned
and cured products);Table Salt
Insufficient
sodium in the body may lead to:
Low blood pressure; General muscle weakness/paralysis; Mild Fever; Respiratory problems.
Excessive
amounts in the body (whether due to intake
or other causes) may lead to:
Hypernatraemia; De-hydration (especially in babies);Possible long-term effects may include hypertension.
Micro/Trace Minerals:
Chromium (Cr)
Involved
in the functioning of skeletal muscle.
Cereals; Cheese; Fresh fruit;Meat;Nuts;Wholemeal flour. Deficiency
may lead to:
Confusion; Depression; Irritability; Weakness.
 
Copper (Cu)
Part
of the enzyme copper-zince superoxide dismutase
(CuZn SOD);
Also present in other enzymes, including

cytochrome oxidase, ascorbic acid oxidase,
and tyrosinases;Found in the red blood cells, and in blood plasma;
Cocoa; Liver; Kidney;Oysters; Peas; Raisins. Insufficient copper has been associated with:changes in hair colour & texture, and
hair loss; disturbances to the nervous system;
bone diseases. Serious deficiency is rare but can leadto: Menke’s syndrome.
 
Manganese (Mn)
Antioxidant
properties;
Fertility;Formation of strong healthy bones, nerves,

and muscles;Forms part of the enzyme copper-zince superoxide dismutase
(CuZn SOD) system;
Avocados; Nuts; Pulses;Tea; Vegetables; Whole-grain cereals. Deficiencies are unusual but may lead to:Bone deformities;Rashes & skin conditions;Reduced hair growth;Retarded growth (in children). Excessive
intake has been associated with brain conditions
such as symptoms similar to those resulting
from Parkinson’s disease.
Selenium (Se)
Antioxidant
properties (prevents peroxidation of lipids
in the cells);
Essential component of the enzyme glutathione

peroxidase;Contributes to efficiency of the immune
system -very wide variety of protective functions within the
body.
Egg yolk; Garlic; Seafood; Whole-grain flour. Deficiency may lead to:Cardiomyopathy; Kaschin-Beck disease (affects the cartilage at joints). Excessive
intake can lead to selenium poisoning.
Sulphur
(S)
Healing
build-up of toxic substances in the body;
Structural health of the body (sulphur is

a part of many amino acids incl. cysteine
and methionine);Healthy skin, nails & hair.
Beans; Beef; Cruciferous vegetables (e.g. broccoli); Dairy produce; Meat . Deficiency of sulphur is unusual.
Zinc
(Zn)
Needed for: functioning of many (over 200) enzymes and strong immune system. Dairy produce; Egg yolk;Liver; Red meat; Seafood; Whole-grain flour.
Deficiency is rare but may lead to:Lesions on the skin, oesophagus and cornea;Retarded growth (of children);Susceptibility to infection. Excessive
intake is not a common problem but especially if zinc
supplements are taken over an extended period of time,
can reduce the absorption of Copper (so Copper supplements
may also be appropriate).

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