What are Minerals?
Minerals are chemical element (as opposed to organic compound, as in the case of vitamins) necessary for the health and maintenance of bodily functions. Our very existence is dependent upon the body’s ability to utilize minerals because minerals activate thousands of enzyme reactions within the body. No vitamins can be absorbed or carry out their intended functions without the presence of specific minerals in very particular amounts. In a way minerals are more important than vitamins – while plants can manufacture vitamins by themselves they need to obtain minerals from the soil.
Minerals biochemical functions:
– to provide structure in forming bones and teeth;
– to help maintain normal heart rhythm, neural conductivity, muscle contractility and acid-base balance;
– to help regulate cellular metabolism by becoming part of enzymes and hormones that modulate cellular activity
Two types of minerals: Major Minerals and Trace Minerals
Minerals can be found in water, root plants and animals. Approximately 4% of our body’s mass consists of Minerals. They are classified as trace minerals (body requires less than 100 mg/day), and major minerals (body requires more than 100 mg/day).
1. Major Minerals are:
2. Trace Minerals are:
Minerals cannot be made in the body and must be obtained in our diet. The daily requirements of minerals can be obtained from a well balanced diet. Like vitamins, excess minerals can produce toxic effects.