Your body needs trace minerals and minerals to keep it working properly. In general, they support your bones, muscles, heart and brain. They help your nerves to communicate, work to produce hormones and enzymes, and even support your metabolism. Here’s how…

What’s the difference between minerals and trace minerals?

Minerals are inorganic substances found in food that your body needs for growth and health. They’re divided into two groups:

  • Macro-minerals – the elements your body stores and uses a lot of, such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium.
  • Trace minerals – such as iron, manganese, chromium, iodine, zinc, selenium, fluoride, copper. These are needed in minuscule amounts, generally less than 20 milligrams each per day.

Trace minerals – good things come in small packages

Don’t be fooled by the small quantities of trace elements we need. Remember that old saying, ‘Good things come in small packages’? Well it’s certainly true of trace minerals. They’re little nutritional powerhouses that act synergistically, working in harmony to help the chemical reactions occurring throughout your body. They help form and repair bones and other tissue, and even help your body to metabolise nutrients.

According to the Harvard Health Guide, ‘A thimble could easily contain the distillation of all the trace minerals normally found in your body. Yet their contributions are just as essential as those of major minerals such as calcium and phosphorus, which each account for half a kilogram of your body weight.’

Researchers who have studied the relationship between minerals and human health state that keeping a balanced level of minerals in every organ, tissue and cell of the human body is critical to maintaining good health.

Here are a few examples of trace minerals and their functions:

  • Boron, silicon and fluoride play a role in building strong bones and teeth.
  • Zinc’s many functions include maintaining healthy bones, hair, nails and skin. Zinc also helps blood clot, is essential for taste and smell, bolsters the immune response and helps the body to metabolise nutrients.
  • Iron helps to form red blood cells and assists in their proper function.
  • Phosphorus works with calcium to help develop and maintain bone and teeth health.
  • Fluoride strengthens bones and wards off tooth decay.
  • Manganese helps in the development and maintenance of bones.
  • Selenium acts as an anti-oxidant, helping to fight free radicals and oxidative stress. It also helps your thyroid gland work normally.
  • Other trace minerals perform equally vital jobs, such as helping to block damage to body cells and forming parts of key enzymes or enhancing their activity.

Be safe when taking mineral supplements

Generally, food is a safe source of trace minerals. But, if you take supplements, it’s important to make sure you don’t exceed the recommended safe levels. So make sure you consult your healthcare professional before embarking on any course of supplements that contains minerals.

Sources of trace minerals

The amount of each trace mineral you need depends on your age, sex, physiological state (e.g. pregnancy) and sometimes your health status. Modern eating patterns often don’t include a wide range of healthy foods, so people are simply not taking in the minerals they need. Even if your diet is varied, the soil in which your veggies grow is often nutrient-poor. Multi-mineral supplements can help, but which product do you choose from the bewildering array displayed on pharmacy shelves?

Many multi-mineral supplements have uncomfortable side effects. Enter DensiMax™. This plant-based multi-mineral supplement is made with Aquamin®, which is created from the ground skeletal remains of a mineral-rich marine alga that grows in the icy Atlantic waters off the coasts of southwest Ireland and Iceland. This sustainably harvested form of seaweed is rich in calcium, other minerals and trace elements – 74 in all. The minerals are derived from a single plant source, so the body absorbs them easily. Vitamin D3 is added to the formula, because this vitamin helps the body to absorb calcium. DensiMax™ directs calcium directly to the bone, where it’s needed. Read more about DensiMax™ here.

Remember, calcium intake, combined with sufficient vitamin D, a healthy diet and regular exercise, can reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis.

Invest in your bone health now; you’re investing in your future!

CAUTION

Consult your health practitioner before taking any herbal supplements.
  • Always consult your health practitioner before taking any herbal supplements, especially if you are taking other medication, and especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Acknowledgements & Photo credits

Article compiled for Flora Force by Judy Beyer.

References

  1. Aquamin. http://aquamin.com/
  2. British Nutrition Foundation. Minerals and trace elements. https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/nutrients-food-and-ingredients/minerals-and-trace-elements.html
  3. Harvard Helpguide. Vitamins and minerals: Are you getting what you need? https://www.helpguide.org/harvard/vitamins-and-minerals.htm
  4. Health Canada. Multi-vitamin/Mineral supplements (under consultation). 2016, Feb. http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=multi_vitmin_suppl
  5. Texas Heart Institute. Trace elements: What they do and where to get them. 2016, Aug. http://www.texasheart.org/HIC/Topics/HSmart/trace1.cfm

Photo credits

  1. Photo courtesy of longleanna / Pixabay.com