Dietary minerals are inorganic nutrients that are found in a variety of foods. They are essential for the proper functioning of the human body and are required in small amounts for maintaining good health. Like vitamins, dietary minerals are classified into two main categories: macrominerals and trace minerals. Macrominerals are minerals that are required by the body in relatively large amounts, such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Trace minerals are minerals that are required by the body in smaller amounts, such as iron, zinc, and selenium.
We need minerals because they play a vital role in maintaining good health and preventing a variety of diseases and health conditions. Each mineral has a specific function in the body, and a deficiency of any one mineral can lead to a range of health problems. For example, a deficiency of iron can lead to anemia, while a deficiency of calcium can lead to osteoporosis. In general, minerals are involved in many of the body's metabolic reactions, and are necessary for the maintenance of healthy bones, teeth, and muscles. They are also involved in the production of hormones and enzymes, and are necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous and immune systems. Without sufficient minerals, the body's systems cannot function properly and a person's health can be affected.
Minerals are found in a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and meat. Different foods contain different minerals, so it is important to eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of different foods in order to get all of the minerals that the body needs. Some foods are also fortified with additional minerals, such as certain types of bread and cereals that are enriched with iron and other minerals. In addition, minerals can also be taken in the form of supplements, which are available over the counter at most pharmacies and health food stores. However, it is generally recommended to get minerals from the diet rather than from supplements, as the body is better able to absorb and use the minerals from food.
The daily requirements for minerals vary depending on a person's age, sex, and level of physical activity. The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for minerals are the levels of intake that are sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of most healthy individuals. The RDAs for minerals are set by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, and they are updated periodically as new information becomes available. The RDAs for minerals are generally expressed as a daily intake of the mineral in milligrams (mg) or micrograms (mcg). For example, the RDA for calcium for adult men is 1000 mg per day, while the RDA for iron for adult women is 18 mg per day. It is important to note that the RDAs are not intended to be used as targets for individual intake, but rather as a guide to help ensure that the population as a whole has enough of each mineral.
Mineral deficiency occurs when a person does not get enough of a certain mineral from their diet. This can lead to a range of health problems, depending on which mineral is lacking. Some of the most common symptoms of mineral deficiency include fatigue, muscle weakness, irritability, and an increased risk of infections. In severe cases, mineral deficiency can lead to serious health conditions such as anemia, osteoporosis, and goiter.
It is possible to get too much of certain minerals. This is called mineral toxicity or hypermineralosis. Consuming too much of certain minerals can lead to a range of health problems, such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and organ damage. In severe cases, mineral toxicity can be life-threatening. It is important to avoid taking high-dose mineral supplements unless they are recommended by a healthcare provider. It is also important to follow the recommended daily intake for each mineral to avoid getting too much of any one mineral.
There are several reasons why someone might consider buying mineral supplements. One reason is to help increase the body's mineral intake, which can be beneficial for people who are at risk of deficiency or who may not be getting enough minerals from their diet. For example, older adults and people with certain medical conditions may be at risk of deficiency and may benefit from taking mineral supplements. Another reason is to help support the immune system, as some minerals are involved in the production of antibodies and other immune cells. Mineral supplements can also be used to help support healthy bones, teeth, and muscles, as some minerals are involved in the maintenance of healthy bones and the regulation of muscle contractions. Additionally, mineral supplements can be helpful for people who are on a vegetarian or vegan diet, as plant-based foods may not provide all of the essential minerals. Overall, mineral supplements can be a useful addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle.
The first mineral to be discovered was calcium, which was isolated from lime in 1808.
Iron was the first mineral to be added to food, and it was added to flour in the form of iron sulfate in the 18th century to prevent iron deficiency anemia.
Zinc is the most commonly supplemented mineral, and it is often found in over-the-counter cold remedies.
Sodium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, and it is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous and muscular systems.
Potassium is the third most abundant mineral in the body, and it is essential for the proper functioning of the heart and other muscles.