What Minerals Do Our Bodies Need and Why?
Calcium is a mineral that is imperative for bone health and overall wellness. It is also necessary for maintaining healthy communication between the brain and other parts of the body. It plays a role in muscle movement and cardiovascular function. Despite its significance, many people do not consume enough calcium, which can result in several health issues.
Benefits of Calcium include:
1. Development of strong teeth and bones
The human body has 99% of its calcium in the bones and teeth. The growth, development, and preservation of bone all depend on calcium. Calcium keeps the bones healthy and slows down bone density loss, which is a normal component of ageing, even after a person stops growing. Calcium is a necessity for everyone but is particularly important for children, women, and older people.
For young children it’s important in helping bones form as they grow. Women who have previously gone through menopause are more likely to lose bone density than men or younger people. They are more likely to develop osteoporosis, thus a doctor might advise calcium supplements for them.
2. Regulates muscle contractions
Muscles contractions, including normal heart rhythms, are regulated by calcium. The mineral also regulates nerve functions.
3. Important role in blood clotting
Symptoms of calcium deficiency include:
- Memory loss
- Muscle spasms
- Tingling in hands, feet and face
Iron is a mineral which our bodies need for growth and development.
Benefits of Iron include:
Helps produce red blood cells
Our red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen throughout our body's tissues and cells. Our bodies use iron to produce these cells.
As mentioned, red blood cells transport oxygen throughout your body. A deficiency in iron would mean the body can’t produce enough red blood cells and can leave you feeling tired and short of breath.
Promotes strong muscles
Myoglobin is a protein that stores iron and which our muscles need to remain healthy. Myoglobin is only found in muscles and functions to keep them oxygenated, just like haemoglobin does. This encourages the muscles' healthy production of energy so that they can function. Muscles might weaken and lose their tone and flexibility without enough iron in your system.
Promotes healthy sleep
Getting a good night's sleep is essential for the body to repair and rejuvenate, as well as to combat the negative effects of stress and maintain a strong immune system. Insomnia and iron deficiency anaemia are linked, according to recent studies. Thus, if your iron levels drop low enough, sleep quality may worsen.
Iron deficiency symptoms (anaemia) include:
- Tiredness and lack of energy
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Pale skin
- Poor resistance to infection
The benefits of the mineral magnesium, include:
- Breaks down carbohydrates, fat and alcohol.
- Aids with sleep, due to the anti-inflammatory benefits.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:
- Muscle spasms
Phosphorus is the second most plentiful mineral in your body, the first being calcium.
Benefits of phosphorus include:
- Helps build strong bones and teeth
- Helps release energy from food
- Helps filter waste
- Helps repair tissues and cells
A deficiency in phosphorus includes:
- Heart disease
- Joint pain
- Bone pain
- Loss of appetite
Potassium is a mineral that helps regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions and nerve signals. It’s also an electrolyte which means its benefits include:
- Maintaining normal blood pressure.
- Transmitting nerve signals between organs.
- Controlling muscle contractions.
- Ensuring optimal water balance within the system.
- Balancing pH in the body between acidity and alkalinity.
A deficiency in potassium includes:
- Heart Palpitations
- Muscle aches and stiffness
- Muscle weakness or spasms
Selenium is quite an important mineral due to its support of several systems. These include:
- Endocrine system
- Immune system
- Cardiovascular system
A deficiency in selenium includes:
- Muscle weakness
- Mental fog
- Hair loss
- Weakened immune system
Zinc is involved in:
- Healing wounds.
- Producing new cells and enzymes.
- Processing carbohydrate, fat and protein in food
- A healthy Immune System
Symptoms of zinc deficiency include:
- Impaired growth and development
- Dry skin
- Chronic diarrhoea
- Impaired wound healing
- Behavioural changes.e.g. lethargy irritability