What are Minerals all about?

Minerals number in the thousands and research is still being done to discover all their Nutritional Health Value.
Minerals number in the thousands and research is still being done to discover all their Nutritional Health Value.

What is a Mineral?

It is rather interesting that when one goes to research minerals you look into nutrition and get a list of vitamins then the phrase, “and minerals” without explanation. I guess it is because there are so many minerals or perhaps that science is just beginning to understand the importance of minerals to our health. After all, “We live in a Eco System.”

Webster’s Dictionary defines a mineral as, “A naturally occurring substance (salts) that occur in the ground” with a “definite chemical composition, and a crystalline substance of inorganic origin.” Simple to understand, right? Webster’s’ identified salt as Hydrogen or Basic and comes in the form of: Silicate, Carbonate, Sulfate, Halide, Oxide, Sulfide, Phosphate, Element, and Organic classes. Webster’s’ defines Organic as something that comes from a body organ and contains carbon compounds.

So then, minerals can be simple salts or very complex silicates with thousands of known forms, a mineral does not originate in the body and does not contain carbon compounds. The amount of minerals is hugh so we usually hear the most about the well known minerals: calcium, iron, and sodium. What science teaches us about minerals, is that they are constantly seeking equilibrium in the body. So, when minerals take in a calcium deposit and sending it in the blood stream to repair bone loss, minerals seek another deposit of calcium to maintain the equilibrium system. It is important to point out that if there is a calcium withdrawal without a subsequent calcium deposit, a person could suffer a stroke. A Minerals job is a mighty one!

There ia a total of 60 minerals identified in the human body to date.There is no list of what these minerals are except in the Scientific Elements Table, or perhaps a Physician's Desk Reference I didn't look in? Of that 60 total minerals, 22 minerals are considered to be "Essential for Health". Minerals only make up 4% of your body weight. Minerals many be tiny in number, but they are mighty in value because our skeletal bones are 2/3 minerals and 1/3 organic matter (collagen). Without minerals, we’d collapse. Seven minerals have been designated as “MacroMinerals” because of their large importance. These include: calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur. Minerals are inorganic, they are found in the Earth’s crust and in the food grown in the Earth. We eat minerals in our food. The problem is that during food processing (canning and freezing) some of the Essential Minerals are stripped from the food. This is why fresh fruits and vegetables have higher Nutritional Value.

Short list of Minerals:

Acetate –a salt has the ability to mimicking those of the natural hormone, Somatostatin, which regulates the endocrine system and affects neurotransmission and cell proliferation. Acetate is combined with Octreotide to make a hormone drug that is used to treat some types of cancer

Ammonium –  a salt found in rainwater and serves as a source of nitrogen for plants and helping maintain acid/base balance in animals. It is produced during the normal metabolism of amino acids and is converted to urea in the liver. Liver dysfunction may lead to toxic levels of ammonia in the blood.

Calcium - nourishes your blood by keeping your heart beating, contracts muscles, and helps blood clot. It also helps to develop strong teeth, is an effective natural tranquilizer and combats osteoporosis. Good calcium food sources include dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, canned salmon and sardines with bones, Leafy green vegetables, such as broccoli, Calcium-fortified foods — from orange juice to cereals and crackers

Carbonate - a common substance found in rocks everywhere in the world. Carbonate is used in the manufacture of baking soda, sodium nitrate, glass, ceramics, detergents, etc.

Chloride - is an electrolyte that helps keep the amount of fluid inside and outside of your cells in balance. It also helps maintain proper blood volume, blood pressure, and PH balance of your body fluids.Blood and other body fluids have almost the same concentration of chloride ion as seawater.

Chromium – is the active component of GTF (glucose tolerance factor) helping insulin bring glucose from the blood into the cells for energy. Good chromium food sources include whole grain breads and cereals, lean meats, cheeses, and some spices, such as black pepper and thyme. Brewer’s yeast is also rich in chromium.

Citrate – is found in salt water Salts of citric acid are used in beverages and pharmaceuticals. Magnesium citrate is a chemical agent used medicinally as a saline laxative and to empty the bowel prior to a surgery

Copper - is a primary mineral in basaltic lavas and is used to protect other material against biological fouling corrosion, rust, lime scale

Cyanide - is a very poisonous group of salts including sodium cyanide and potassium cyanide. Cyanides are used to make plastics and to extract and treat metals.

Hydroxide - is a white crystalline compound that occurs naturally as the mineral gibbsite. Potassium hydroxide is used in bleaches and to make soaps and detergents

Iodine - is required by the body for the synthesis of thyroid hormones that stimulate the metabolism. Iodine can easily be found in Iodized table salt.

Iron – is a mineral that transports oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Good iron food sources include: Meat, especially red meat, such as beef, Tuna and salmon, Eggs, Beans, Baked potato with skins, Dried fruits, like raisins, Leafy green vegetables, such as broccoli, Whole and enriched grains, like wheat or oats

Magnesium - is a mineral that is known to reduce high cholesterol, alleviates depression, and modifies stomach acidity.

Manganese - an oxide found naturally as Hausmannite on the ocean floor. It's use is to  increase strength, hardness, and wear resistance of steel

Molybdenum - is a mineral with essential trace elements in plant nutrition, it is used in fertilizers, dyes, enamels, and reagents.

Nitrate - is a salt that is soluble in water that is sometimes used as a source of nitrogen in fertilizers,  the combined with glycerin to form Nitroglycerin, an explosive liquid used to make dynamite, and in medicine to dilate blood vessels.

Oxide - is a compound of oxygen with another element. Zinc oxide is used as a pigment, in cosmetics, in glass, in inks, and in zinc ointment treatment for diaper rash.

Phosphate - is a salt important ito regulate metabolism. A form of Phosphate, Phosphorous, is a highly reactive, poisonous, nonmetallic element. Phosphorus is used to make matches, fireworks, and fertilizers and to protect metal surfaces from corrosion.

Potassium - is a mineral that keeps your muscles and nervous system working properly. Good potassium food sources include: Bananas, Tomatoes, Potatoes with skins, Leafy green vegetables (Broccoli,), Citrus fruits, like oranges, Dried fruits, Legumes, such as beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts

Pyridine - It is used as a solvent and waterproofing agent during the manufacture of various drugs and vitamins. Berberine, a pyridine alkaloid, is derived from the plant Berberis aristata, and is supplied as an extract as berberine sulfate. Berberine has traditionally been used to support regular and normal bowel function in healthy individuals, however current research indicates that Berberine might cause cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure.

Selenium - is an essential mineral believed to boost the immune system. It also hasanti-cancer benefits. The body naturally absorbs selenium from foods such as vegetables, meat and seafood. Selenium used in photocells; and occurs in sulfide ores (as pyrite)

Sodium – is a salt found abundantly in natural compounds like sea water, and in the mineral halite (rock salt). Sodium is used as fertilizer, combined with chloride makes table salt, sodium bicarbonate and carbonated soda.

Sulfate - a salt made from sulphuric acid. Scientists believe that it is possible to rebuild joint cartilage with glucosamine sulfate. Sulfate combines with magnesium to make fertilizer.

Sulfur - is used in black gunpowder, rubber vulcanization, the manufacture of insecticides and pharmaceuticals (acne relief), and in the preparation of sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide and sulfuric acid. It is also used in many medicine compounds.

Zinc - helps your immune system, which is your body's system for fighting off illnesses Good zinc food sources include: Beef, Pork, Lamb, Legumes, such as beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts

Minerals are currently being reviewed, evaluated and researched; looking outside-the-box so to speak. Scientists are attempting to utilize “safe” forms of the sometimes extremely toxic minerals found in the Eco System. A variety of combinations are currently in use and considered safe combinations to treat ailments like, cancer, high blood pressure, diarrhea, stomach upsets, etc. Whether or not we want the minerals listed above in us, they are in the air we breath, many are used as commercial fertilizers, and all are found in the environment.

Minerals Resources can be found on,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mineral http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals.html, http://www.galleries.com/minerals/by_name.htm, and http://www.mineralsunlimited.com/General_Minerals.html

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Galadriel Arwen profile image

Galadriel Arwen 2 years ago from USA Author

Beware of elements you find on the counter and do your research. Selenium salts are toxic. Selenim is an element similiar to sulfur and tellurium and the body uses it in small amounts. Selenium is also added to shampoo because it is known to cause sheading of dry skin.

There are many things found in the "vitamin" isle of the store that have the potential of causing danger.

For instance, COQ10 which is a coenzyme now found in many multi-vitamins helps with waste removal and negative effects published are largely gastrointestinal. Personally taking it caused my heart to race so fast I thought I was having a heart attack.

Eating too much of anything including nuts can be harmful also. Proportions are important.

Rule of thumb when taking anything is to watch out for the risks involved vs. the positive effect. Note effects on your health and behavior. Vitamins like everything else can be used if not abused.


Alise- Evon 2 years ago

In my studies for a Master Herbalist diploma, we spent a bit of time studying minerals (and vitamins, etc.). Minerals are surely under-appreciated by most people, but they are so important, like you say. Did you know that eating 3 Brazil nuts a day provides you with the recommended daily amount of selenium a person should have?

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