Minerals can be found in many foods, including dairy, meat, vegetables, and fruits. While you can get the daily recommended dose of some minerals through food alone, others are slightly more difficult and may require a supplement. There are thirteen essential minerals that your body needs.
These minerals are vital for various bodily functions, including nerve communication, muscle health, cognitive function, bone strength, and even taste. If you lack in any of them, your body will not react appropriately, and you will experience various side effects that may impact your physical or psychological health. To stay fit and feel your best, you must get enough minerals in your daily diet.
What Are Essential Minerals?
These minerals ensure vital processes can be completed, which allows various body systems and organs to remain functional. They play a part in metabolism, genetics, cell growth and maintenance, and many other important processes.
There are thirteen essential minerals that your body requires to work correctly. They are listed below.
- Sodium chloride
The human body is not capable of naturally producing iron, potassium, sodium, or calcium. These must be procured through diet alone. For people with trouble absorbing certain minerals and foods or anyone with mineral deficiencies, a supplement can ensure that they get enough of each essential mineral to stay healthy and fit.
What Are The Most Important Essential Minerals and Their Functions
Important minerals can be broken down into two different categories, which are major minerals and trace minerals. The latter is only needed in small, trace amounts to keep you healthy, while the former requires a much higher daily intake amount. Below are both categories and brief descriptions of why each mineral is vital for your health.
- Sodium Chloride
Magnesium Citrate (400mg)
Most magnesium is stored within the bones, and it is responsible for protecting your body's immune system, maintaining nerve transmission, muscle contraction, and making proteins.
You can get some magnesium from the following foods.
- Pumpkin seeds
- Peanuts, almonds, and cashews
- Soy milk
- Soy milk
- Dark chocolate
- Certain fish like salmon and tuna
There are rarely any side effects, but you may experience diarrhea and stomach cramps if you take well over the recommended dose. Always follow the instructions and suggestions from your health care provider.
Your blood sugar levels are impacted by chromium which plays a part in balancing insulin. It can also increase metabolism and aid in weight loss.
Foods that contain chromium include the following.
- Whole grains
- Green beans
- Milk and other dairy products
- Brewers yeast
If you ingest higher doses or take it longer than two consecutive years, then you may experience severe side effects, including the following..
- Liver or kidney damage
- Blood disorders
- Cognitive issues including confusion, lack of focus, and impaired judgment
- Mood changes
This product contains the critical chemical sulfur. It can potentially be used to treat symptoms related to inflammation, reduce pain, especially in the joints, and boost the immune system. MSM protects your cells and DNA from damage. It also encourages skin, ligament, and tendon health.
The highest levels of natural MSM are going to be found in fresh foods. Processing foods significantly decreases the amount found in each serving. You can find MSM in the following.
- Coffee, tea, and beer
- Raw milk
- Alfalfa sprouts
Side effects are minimal and occur rarely. They involve stomach cramps and diarrhea. There is not enough research to understand the side effects of taking higher doses or for taking it for periods longer than 6 months.
This is a powerful antioxidant that can protect your cells and DNA from the damage of free radicals resulting from the oxidative process.
Foods that contain selenium include those listed below.
- Brazil nuts
- Fish like tuna
- Poultry, pork, and beef
- Various dairy products
- Whole grains
There can be significant adverse side effects if you take too much or too little selenium. They can include the following.
- Muscle pain or tenderness
- Flushing of the skin
- Blood clot issues
- Liver or kidney conditions
It should only ever be taken for a short period. Long-term selenium use even at the prescribed doses can lead to poisoning symptoms like hair loss, nail inflammation, mood changes, vomiting, and breath that smells of metal or garlic.
Multiple enzymes in the body require zinc to form properly. It is necessary for creating various proteins and generic materials. Zinc also contributes to sexual health, fetal development, taste perception, and immune system health.
Zinc can be found in meats and various other foods, including those listed below.
- Oysters (these have the highest amount of zinc compared to other foods)
You should never take zinc without your doctor's instruction as it can lead to serious health issues if you take too much, including the following.
- Vomiting and nausea
- Kidney or digestive issues
- Metallic taste in the mouth
Breathing in zinc in aerosol form can cause permanent loss of smell.
This mineral plays an important role in bone, muscle, and nerve health. The relaxation and contraction of muscles is partially the responsibility of calcium, as is immune system health. It can also improve blood pressure and blood clotting.
You can find a sufficient amount of calcium in the foods listed below.
- Milk, cheese, and other dairy products
- Some fish
- Soy milk
- Leafy green vegetables like lettuce and spinach
- Almond milk
- Calcium-fortified foods and drinks, including juices and cereals
Side effects are rare and not serious when calcium is taken at the recommended dose. They may involve stomach discomfort such as bloating, constipation, cramping, or gas. These digestive issues are mild, but if you take more than the recommended dose, then you run the risk of developing milk-alkali syndrome, which is a severe condition.
This is a common and crucial mineral. It is responsible for energy metabolism and the creation of healthy red blood cells. Iron ensures that red blood cells can carry enough oxygen throughout the body.
Foods high in iron include the following.
- Organ meats, shellfish, and poultry
- Dark chocolate
- Whole grains
- Leafy greens
- Pumpkin seeds
Iron is absorbed best with food and should be taken by mouth with meals to cut down on possible side effects. It is rare to have an adverse reaction when ingesting the proper amount of the mineral. However, when taken in too large of a dose, iron can lead to the following conditions.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Liquid iron has been known to blacken teeth
Additional Essential Minerals
Below are some additional Essential vitamins. These usually do not require supplements because they can be maintained pretty easily through a healthy and varied diet though some individuals may find that they need more than their meals alone can provide.
- Sodium Chloride
Proper Dosages For The Thirteen Essential Minerals
It is vital that you take only the recommended amount of any mineral or vitamin. This is because too little or too much has the potential to cause negative physical side effects. Below are suggested doses for various minerals, but you will always want to defer to instructions that come with your product and any suggestions from your doctor.
The recommended daily amount of calcium you should consume is between 1000-1200 mg. Taking 2000 mg or more is considered too much and can lead to serious health issues.
You can safely take up to 6 grams of sulfur or MSM. You should not take it for longer than 6 months without the approval of a medical professional. You should not take MSM if you are pregnant or nursing without speaking with your doctor.
The amount of magnesium you need on a daily basis is going to vary considerably depending on your age and gender. Most people take between 300-400 mg. Men usually need more than women.
Between 50-120 mg taken three times a day can ensure that you are getting enough iron. You should only take the supplements for up to 6 consecutive months unless otherwise directed by a doctor.
Short-term use of up to 40 mg is safe for most people. You should avoid taking it long-term or in doses higher than the recommended amount. One-time doses of between 10-30 grams can result in death, so avoid overdosing. The health benefits are excellent, but this mineral requires careful use.
It is relatively safe for most people to take up to 1000 mcg for 24 months. Most people take between 200-1000 mcg for 6 to 24 months.
You should only take selenium in doses of 400 mcg or less for a short period. There are serious health issues that can develop if you take more than 400 mcg or if you continue taking it for long periods. Not getting enough can increase the risk of diabetes. Balancing how much you take is vital. You will want to determine the right amount for you by speaking with a health care professional.
What Happens When The Body is Depleted Of Essential Minerals?
Deficiencies can leave your body susceptible to damage from free radicals, and various important organs and systems will be unable to function properly without the correct daily amount. One of the most common worldwide is iron deficiency, which often leads to anemia and other side effects.
The primary symptoms that indicate you may be depleted in certain essential minerals include those listed here.
- Constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach bloating, or abdominal pain
- Decreased immune system response
- Heart issues such as an irregular heartbeat
- Change in appetite
- Muscle weakness or cramping
- Numbness of the extremities
- Cognitive problems such as mood changes, inability to focus, and loss of coordination
- Feeling weak or tired for no known reason
- For children, a mineral deficiency may show as inhibited social or mental development.
Is it okay to take vitamins before bed?
It is best to take vitamins in the morning or during the day. At night before you try to sleep is a bad time to take vitamins because most of them boost your metabolism and brain function, which can make it difficult or impossible to fall asleep. Digestion also slows down significantly during sleep, so the supplement's absorption would not be as efficient as during the morning or day.
Can I take Vitamin C and Zinc together?
You should avoid taking zinc with calcium or magnesium supplements, but there is no current evidence that taking it with Vitamin C can lead to any side effects. There is also no evidence that either one of them will inhibit the other nutrient's absorption rate. That being said, you want to avoid taking more than one multivitamin at a time unless specifically instructed otherwise by your doctor.
What happens if you take too much of a certain mineral?
Whenever you take a supplement, it is essential to follow directions included with the product and any directions your doctor may give regarding dosage or frequency. Taking too much of a mineral can lead to serious adverse reactions, including the following.
- Stomach bleeding
- Mood changes
- Cognitive issues
- Heart problems
- Muscle weakness
Can minerals interact with medications?
When it comes to mixing prescribed or over-the-counter medication and supplements, you need to be careful. Taking a vitamin product can impede your body's ability to absorb, metabolize, or excrete the medications. Below are some known medicines that interact with several essential minerals. They should be avoided when possible or used together only as instructed by a doctor.
- Calcium: tetracyclines antibiotics, corticosteroids, fluoroquinolone antibiotics, Vitamin D, phenytoin, phenobarbital, levothyroxine, and orlistat
- Magnesium: fluoroquinolone antibiotics, tetracycline antibiotics, bisphosphonates, levothyroxine,
- Iron: tetracycline antibiotics, fluoroquinolone antibiotics, digoxin, levothyroxine, levodopa, methyldopa, omeprazole
- Potassium: angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, digoxin, indomethacin, triamterene, spironolactone, salt substitutes,
This is not an exhaustive list, and you will want to check your medication for any known vitamin and mineral interactions.
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Essential Mineral Supplements
Minerals, unlike vitamins, are inorganic elements that are extracted from water and soil and absorbed by plants or eaten by animals.
Mineral Supplement Benefits
These naturally occurring substances are crucial for bodily structures and functions like bone and tooth formation, heartbeat regulation, and support for healthy muscles and brain support.
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