Minerals serve diverse functions. They provide the building blocks of teeth and bones and are components of connective tissues and muscles. They activate enzymes and are responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses and muscle contraction. They help regulate physiologic processes like the pH (hydrogen ion concentration) and blood volume.
Body Mineral ReservesBody storage of minerals from previous intake will affect daily requirements.
The body has large stores of some minerals if liberal dietary intakes were previously available (i.e., Ca and P in osseous tissue), and can store considerable quantities of trace minerals such as Cu, Se, and I.
Optimal mineral allowances are needed to permit animals to achieve their full genetic potential for optimal performance. The higher the allowance, the greater the extent to which it compensates for the influencing factors that result in higher true requirements; thus, mineral allowances higher than NRC requirements may be needed to allow optimal performance.
It should be emphasized that subacute deficiencies can exist although clinical deficiency signs do not appear. Such borderline deficiencies are both the most costly and the most difficult to manage, often go unnoticed and unrectified, and yet they may result in poor and expensive gains, impaired reproduction, or depressed production. Under farm conditions there is usually not a single mineral deficiency, but deficiencies result from a combination of factors; often deficiency signs will not be clear cut. If the NRC minimum requirement for a mineral is the level that barely prevents clinical deficiency signs, then this level moves in relationship to the level required for optimal production responses. Optimum animal performance required under modern commercial conditions cannot be obtained by fortifying diets to just meet minimum requirements. Adequate margins of safety must provide for those factors that may increase certain dietary mineral requirements and for variability in availability within individual feed ingredients.
The NRC requirements often do not take into account that in disease, certain minerals are needed at higher-than-recommended levels for response. Minerals play a major role in the immune response, the body's defense system against infectious disease; mineral supplementation above requirements is required for optimal immune responses (Cunha, 1985). Magnesium, P, Na, Cl, Zn, Cu, Fe, and Se have been shown to improve an animal's ability to cope with infections.
The body requires at least 40 different minerals. Seven of these are required in large amounts and are classified as "major"' minerals, or macrominerals. The amounts of macrominerals required daily range from a fraction of a gram to several grams. Calcium, phosphate and magnesium are bone builders and metabolic helpers. Potassium, sodium, sulfate and chloride are the major electrolytes (ions) in body fluids. These ions help regulate the acid-base balance of body fluids and balance charged chemicals in the blood. They are partially responsible for osmotic pressure in blood vessels and cells.
Trace minerals or microminerals, are needed in much smaller amounts. The levels needed per day vary from micrograms (millionths of a gram) to a few milligrams (thousandths of a gram). Trace minerals include cobalt, iron, manganese, copper, selenium, molybdenum and zinc, which assist the action of enzymes. Chromium and iodine play roles in hormone function, while fluoride helps build teeth and bones. Other trace minerals, including boron, silicon, vanadium, tin, and nickel, etc., play less major, though nonetheless important roles.
A third classification of minerals is those known as microtrace or ultratrace minerals. These are also sometimes known as rare earth elements. The level of these minerals needed by the human body is less well known, and are found in the range of ppm (parts per million). Examples of these minerals are arsenic, gold, silver, platinum and cesium, etc.
COLLOIDAL MINERALS as DIETARY SUPPLEMENTSIn recent years, a plethora of oral "colloidal mineral solutions" has been appearing in the dietary supplement marketplace sold as mineral/trace element supplements. The following discussion is not intended to be an indictment against the colloidal minerals per se, but to bring to light scientific evidence that challenges many of the claims being made for these products. The natural products industry is under considerable challenge from many sectors to provide the public with truthful and non-misleading information about its products. If any sector of the industry is found to be misinforming the public, regulators will use these examples as evidence of why the industry should be significantly restricted in the marketplace. Consumers can only determine what is best for them if they are informed.
The purveyors of colloidal minerals have gone about their business aggressively informing the public about the importance of minerals and many trace elements in human health. For this effort, they are to be commended. Minerals and many essential and some still unproven trace elements play a crucial role in human health, as do all the micronutrients, vitamins, essential fatty acids, and accessory nutrients. However, in their enthusiasm to inform the public about the importance of minerals and trace elements, exaggerated and sometimes totally unfounded claims are made for products which lack scientific support and/or experimental evidence.
What does colloidal mean?According, to Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary, 24th Edition, a colloid is
"A state of matter in which the matter is dispersed in or distributed throughout some medium called the dispersion medium. The matter thus dispersed is called the disperse phase of the colloid system. The particles of the disperse phase are larger than the ordinary crystalloid molecule, but not large enough to settle out under the influence of gravity."
The current edition of Random House Dictionary of the English Language says this about colloids:
Physical chemistry A -- a colloidal system, one in which a finely divided solid is suspended in a liquid, such colloids range from solutions to gels. Physical Chemistry B -- a colloidal suspension. Physical Chemistry C – a substance that when suspended in a liquid will not diffuse easily through vegetable or animal membrane.
The point here is that when compared to specialized commercial preparations of "water-soluble" minerals, the colloidal minerals lack the ease of absorption and taste that water-soluble minerals possess. This is because of their production process. Various nutritional companies state in their literature that they use fossilized plant-derived colloidal minerals (humic shale). They further state that the mineral deposits of humic shale are processed by "leaching" the minerals out of the shale (using various acids). This is one reason these products taste so bad (acidic taste). Another reason these products taste bad is that the minerals are not in solution (i.e., not water-soluble). Also, look at the product itself. It is cloudy. You have non water-soluble particles floating around in the bottles. Folks, I have tasted many of these products, and I can tell you there is a potential problem of heavy metal toxicity here.
A WATER-SOLUBLE MINERAL ALTERNATIVEThe mineral products that I have chosen to use with my patients and my family are totally water-soluble, have little or no taste and are totally clear (i.e., they are water-soluble). When minerals are fully water-soluble they are absorbed 100% and are non-toxic. You do not have to worry about one mineral being out of balance with another mineral because your body easily excretes any excess.
By the way, for everybody who is using colloidal silver, I have heard from several sources that the FDA is looking to pull colloidal silver products off the market because of their potential health risk. This is because there are pieces of metallic silver floating around in water. Very little of the silver is able to be absorbed by the body and since the silver is not in a water soluble form it is potentially toxic for continuted human use. To be safe the silver has to be in solution, that is, totally dissolved in a water solution to be effective and safe.
Therefore, the MAIN nutritional company I use is BIOTICS RESEARCH CORP. HERE IN THE HOUSTON, TEXAS AREA. Their minerals as as well as their vitamins are water soluble.
The remaining portion of the web site in this section is devoted to the 40 or so minerals science has determined to be essential for prevention of disease and for promotion of optimal health. In fact, I am of the opinion that every mineral that is present in the oceans of the world is probably essential to us. Also listed are some minerals whose essentiality is still not known, but have functions of therapy in some disease conditions. So we invite you to peruse this section of minerals and do not try to understand every word. Just try to get a general idea of the abstracts and reports presented. I believe you will come to the same conclusion that I have and that is we need to make sure that we try to get all these minerals into our bodies daily.
As new information comes forth, the mineral data will be upgraded. We will be updating this info quite often to keep abreast of the constantly changing ideas and research results.
ADDITIONAL NOTE: Some of the information on the basic information on minerals was referenced from RARE EARTHS - Forbidden Cures 2nd edition May, 1995 written by Dr. Joel Wallach and Ma Lan, M.D. This book is available at Amazon.com.
DISCLAIMER: On this web site we are not making any therapeutic medical claims. The information here is for educational uses only. If you want to use some of the items mentioned here, you are advised to consult a health care professional first.
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