Benefits of Minerals for Nutrition & Health|
Essential Minerals work in combination with each other and with other nutrients, so imbalances of any mineral can cause health problems – too little of any essential mineral can lead to deficiency: calcium, selenium, zinc, chromium, trace colloidal minerals...
Minerals are elements that originate in the Earth and cannot be created by living systems. Plants obtain minerals from the soil, and most of the minerals in our diets come from directly from plants or indirectly from animal sources. Minerals may also be present in the water we drink, but this varies from place to place. Minerals from plant sources may also vary, because soil mineral content varies geographically.
People with high blood pressure have long been instructed by their doctors to reduce salt intake. However, new research suggests that high blood pressure is more closely linked to diets low in minerals, such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
High salt intake was found to be a marker of a poor quality diet, which turns out to be the significant link between salt and high blood pressure.
Minerals are inorganic substances required by the body for a variety of functions, benefits include:
Some minerals are needed in larger amounts than others: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium and potassium. Others are required in smaller quantities and are called trace minerals: iron, zinc, iodine, selenium and copper. Despite being required in smaller amounts, trace minerals are no less important than other minerals. Mineral supplements prevent disease and promote good health.
Micronutrients play a key role in many of the metabolic processes that promote survival from critical illness. For vitamins, these processes include oxidative phosphorylation, which is altered in the patient with systemic inflammation, and protection against mediators, in particular oxidants. Trace elements (minerals) are essential for direct antioxidant activity as well as functioning as cofactors for a variety of antioxidant enzymes. Wound healing and immune function also depend on adequate levels of vitamins and trace elements (minerals) - of extreme importance is the ease with which a deficiency state can develop in the critically ill because of decreased nutrient intakes and increased requirements. Daily intakes up to or exceeding many times the RDA usually are required.
A Purdue University study suggests women taking oral contraceptives can counteract bone loss by making sure they get enough calcium in their daily diet.
Earlier research indicated optimizing bone mass in adolescence and young adulthood prevents low bone density and osteoporosis later in life. On the other hand, researchers noted oral contraceptives appear to decrease bone density.
"It's estimated eight out of 10 women in the United States use oral contraceptives at some time during the years in which peak bone mass is developing," said Dorothy Teegarden, assistant professor at Purdue. "The results of our study suggest the loss for this group can be prevented by increasing calcium intake."
According to the National Academy of Sciences, the recommended dietary allowance of calcium for women age 19 to 50 is 1,000 milligrams a day. The recommended daily allowance of calcium for adolescents age 9 to 18 is 1,300 milligrams daily.
Selenium, an essential dietary mineral that can act as an antioxidant when incorporated into proteins, has been shown in many studies to reduce the incidence of cancers - notably lung, colorectal and prostate.
The mineral selenium is necessary to the antioxidant glutathione peroxidase, which helps protect the body from cancers, including skin cancer caused by sun exposure. Selenium also preserves tissue elasticity, and slows down the aging and hardening of tissues through oxidation.
When scientists in Arizona gave one group of men and women 200 micrograms of selenium daily for seven years and another group a placebo, they made an astonishing discovery: the group who took the selenium supplement was 42 percent less likely to develop cancer than the group who took the placebo. Selenium is a potent antioxidant, which binds with unstable molecules in our cells, preventing them researchers believe, from damaging cells and thus potentially causing cancer.
Selenium is most effective when taken in combination with at least 400 IU vitamin E daily.
Zinc is essential for our immune system, for reproduction, growth, wound repair, taste and smell. Zinc is the number one nutritional deficiency in U.S. children. Research at Baylor College in Houston found significantly lower levels of zinc among women with PMS.
Hyperactive children could benefit from taking zinc supplements in addition to their normal medication, researchers say. A study of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) found that those given the extra zinc improved faster in their behavior.
Around one in every 25 children of school age is thought to be affected by ADHD, with symptoms including concentration problems, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Research has found that vitamin and mineral deficiencies correlate with ADHD, suggesting that dietary supplements could play a part in managing the condition.
Oral and esophageal cancers are associated with nutritional zinc deficiency, and a rise in the expression of the enzyme COX-2 is connected with these cancers.
Zinc given orally to zinc-deficient rats reverses the development of precancerous conditions in the esophagus and tongue. These findings suggest that zinc supplements may prevent the development of esophageal or oral cancers. Zinc in the diet comes mostly from red meat and seafood. Up to 10 percent of Americans have a zinc-deficient diet.
Epidemiological evidence show the incidence of esophageal and oral cancers is rising in recent years. As many as 13,000 Americans die from esophageal cancer each year.
Zinc deficiency increases cell proliferation in the esophagus and in the tongue, making both areas susceptible to carcinogens and increasing the risk of cancer development. Rats given a carcinogen while on a zinc-deficient diet developed esophageal cancer. Giving zinc prevented the cancer.
For good health, nutrition and disease prevention, all adults should take Zinc and Selenium supplements at least several times a week, preferably with 400 IU vitamin E.
Supplementation with chromium picolinate can lead to significant improvements in body composition resulting from fat loss, particularly for individuals who may not be as aggressive in making lifestyle changes such as reducing caloric intake or increasing their physical activity.
Chromium supplementation helps in reducing the risk of early onset of coronary heart disease by reducing the associated coronary risk complications.” In addition, an analysis of the relationship of chromium and heart disease in over 30,000 men by Dr. Eric B. Rimm of the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that chromium status is strongly associated with the risk of coronary heart disease, especially among overweight men. It can help you lose weight.
Chromium picolinate supplement has been shown to help maintain normal insulin levels, reduce elevated blood glucose levels, reduce coronary risk factors and reverse insulin resistance, which are all significant factors in people with obesity and diabetes.
Many women start taking calcium supplements during menopause, but calcium deficiency increasingly is being seen in younger women, says the June 2003 issue of the Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource.
Women who aren't getting enough calcium in their diets should take a supplement, regardless of their age. If dietary intake of calcium is insufficient, calcium supplements can provide special benefit to the bones at certain times in life, such as puberty or in early menopause. But at any age, calcium benefits a woman's bones as well as muscles and nerves.
Remember that calcium prevents osteoporosis, which can result in hip fractures and broken bones. Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones that greatly increases the risk of fractures. About 10 million Americans already have osteoporosis and 18 million more are at increased risk owing to low bone mass.
Osteoporosis-related fractures are estimated to account for $13.8 billion in hospital and nursing home costs each year, and these costs are increasing. Owing to the increasing age of our population (more than 25% of Americans will be age 50 or older by 2011), the emergence of osteoporosis as a societal problem is only beginning.
The first large study to look at total calcium consumption in adolescents found that girls who consumed more calcium weighed less and had lower body fat. The findings were presented at the Experimental Biology 2003 meeting in San Diego, as part of the American Society for Nutritional Sciences program.
Calcium supplements taken by a woman during pregnancy could have a lasting benefit for her child's blood pressure, new study findings suggest.
Researchers found that toddlers whose mothers took calcium supplements while they were pregnant had lower blood pressure than those whose moms did not.
The investigators say such calcium intake may help "program" fetal blood pressure, possibly with effects that persist into adulthood.