Minerals: Essential for Health
The human body, and, for that matter, bodies of all the animals, are, in fact, a cosmos of living organisms – all of these varied organisms coexisting together in a symbiotic relationship. A communication network, under the control of a command center, exists to ensure the communication and friendly dialog between all the members of the cosmos. It is this harmonious coexistence of all the organisms, assured and facilitated through the continuously open channels of communication between them, that defines the “life”. Any interruption or failure of communication between these organisms results in the disruption of the ‘inter organismic’ harmony, and that leads to the systemic failure – That is defined as “death”.
The cosmos of our human body is composed of trillions of cells and bacteria – most of them essential for us maintaining a ‘living’ state, while the others just unwanted invaders. An average size human body of 180 lbs (75 kg) is composed of around 37 trillion cells, and contains around 100 trillion bacteria.
It is amazing how all of these trillions of cells and bacteria of varying types coexist together and function in complete harmony. Beside the central command and communication system, there also exists an intricate system of inter-cellular communication to ensure the harmonious living at the cellular level. Proper functioning of the inter-cellular communication is essential to maintaining the structural integrity of our body as a unified living organism.
The communication at the central command system (Brain) and at the inter-cellular levels is conducted by way of electrical signals. There is a continuous flow of electrical signals within our unified body structure. These signals carry the instructions and information necessary for our cells to coordinate and perform their designated functions in harmony – to produce energy, to replicate and reproduce, or to die out. A corruption, or loss of information flow, causes the malfunctioning of the body as a unified system, resulting in the onset of diseases like cancer and diabetes. We cease to exist as a living being if a complete disruption to these communication signals occurs.
Minerals play an important role in keeping the signal integrity within our body. Our bodies need a proper amount of naturally existing minerals to facilitate the electrical signal flow essential for our body to function properly and to remain healthy.
Mineral are essential nutrients that the body needs to survive and to perform the functions and processes essential to its existence. At the cellular level, they facilitate the inter-cellular communication, and help maintain the structural integrity of the cells.
Our body, by itself, cannot make minerals. As these minerals are constantly used and get depleted, we need to constantly replenish the supply of minerals. We get the supply of minerals from eating plants and animals. Plants take up the natural minerals from the soil, and herbivorous animals eat those plants. Minerals are also present in the naturally occurring water. The amount of minerals that we consume through food depends on the soil and water content in a particular region and, hence, varies geographically.
Our bodies are formulated from the same soil we live on and walk upon. There are approximately 90 natural minerals in the soil, but the human body requires around 22 of these minerals to maintain its healthy state. These minerals are considered the Essential Minerals. The essential minerals can be categorized into three groups: Major Minerals, Trace Minerals, and Ultra Trace Minerals.
Soil depletion, caused by the rampant use of chemical fertilizers and harmful herbicides and pesticides, has made our natural foods lacking in minerals. It, therefore, necessitates the supplementation of essential minerals.
Major Minerals (or macro-elements) are required by humans in doses of 100 milligrams (mgs) or greater per day. Major minerals include Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Sodium, Potassium and Chloride.
Trace Minerals are required in doses between 1 mg and 100 mg per day. Trace Minerals include Iron, Zinc, Manganese, Copper and Natural Fluoride (no relation to the industrial ‘Arsenic Fluoride’ dumped in public water supply to cause havoc to health).
Ultra Trace Minerals are required in amounts less than 1 mg (1000 micro grams) per day. These minerals include Selenium, Molybdenum, Iodine, Chromium, Boron, and Cobalt.
As these amounts indicate, minerals are micro-nutrients only needed in minute quantities. Each of these essential minerals plays a unique and critical role in our body. Without the correct amount of minerals, body’s electrical signals gets disrupted, enzymatic processes are hindered, and also the absorption of vitamin gets affected – body needs minerals for the vitamins to do their job.
Essential minerals perform diverse functions throughout the body. These minerals are important for the conduction of nerve signals, inter-cellular signaling, muscle contraction and relaxation, regulating osmotic pressure, maintaining correct acid- base balance, and regulating the water absorption and blood volume. Minerals are also needed for maintaining the structure strength of bones and cell membranes. If any of these essential minerals are missing from the diet, deficiency signs and symptoms in the form of ailments start showing up.
A healthy diet comprising a variety of foods, grown on fertile soil and in natural atmosphere, is sufficient to ensure the needed supply of all the essential minerals for our body. But, due to the nutrient depleted soil – thanks to the reckless use of chemicals, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics, our foods lack both in essential minerals and enzymes.
Shortage of any of the essential minerals in our body is one of the major causes of many of our ailments and diseases. Some of the minerals, most depleted in our foods, are Magnesium, Zinc, Chromium and Selenium.
Taking into account the mineral deficiency in our foods, it makes sense to incorporate mineral supplementation along with a healthy diet. Minerals are available in supplement forms compounded together, or as individual elements.
For our bodies to absorb minerals, taken in supplement form, the minerals are needed to be compounded with another substance – The better process for this “compounding” mechanism is chelation, whereby the organic molecules have been given an electrical charge that allows them to positively attract the charged mineral. Chelation makes the mineral more easily “Bio-available” to our body.
For the best bio-availability these essential mineral should be chelated with a suitable organic carrier substance:
- Magnesium as Magnesium Citrate, Chelate, or Glycinate (Note: Magnesium should be taken along with calcium.)
- Zinc as Zinc Picolinate, Zinc Citrate or Zinc Orotate – [ Note: Zinc should be taken with water or juice. However, if zinc causes stomach upset, it can be taken with meals. Don’t take zinc at the same time as iron or calcium supplements. Also, a strong relationship exists between zinc and copper. Too much of one can cause a deficiency in the other. Long-term use of zinc (including zinc in a multivitamin) should be accompanied by copper.]
- Chromium as Chromium Picolinate or Chromium Nicotinate.
- Selenium, I would recommend eating Brazil Nuts, as they are very rich in selenium.
Separate essays, covering the subject of Magnesium, Zinc, Chromium, and Selenium, will soon be posted.