MINERALS are essential factors in human nutrition; they are constituents of the bones, teeth, soft tissue, muscles, blood, and nerve cells. They act as catalysts for
many biological reactions within the body, and are important in the production of hormones.
Calcium is the body’s most abundant mineral. Its primary function is to help build and maintain bones and teeth, which it does in co-operation with
Phosphorus. In addition, Calcium aids in the process of blood clotting and in the control of the passage of fluids through the cells. It is also related to the
proper functioning of the heart and neuromuscular system.
Vitamin D is an important factor in Calcium absorption.
Copper is found in all the tissues of the body. It assists in the formation of haemoglobin and red blood cells by aiding Iron absorption, and assists in the
conversion of an amino acid to a dark pigment which colours the hair and skin. A large amount of Molybdenum, Zinc or Sulphur in the diet is antagonistic
to Copper, having an adverse effect on its absorption.
Iodine is an essential component of the thyroid hormone, thyroxine, which is the master regulator of metabolic reactions involved in oxidation.
The major function of Iron is to act with protein and Copper in making haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying pigment found in red blood cells. Vitamin
C enhances the absorption of Iron by changing it to a form that is more readily usable by the body.
At least half of the Magnesium in the body is combined with Calcium and Phosphorus in the bones. The remainder is in the red blood cells, muscles
and other soft tissue. Magnesium is involved in muscle contraction and nerve function.
Manganese is an important activator for, and is part of, many enzyme systems. It plays a part in protein synthesis and fatty acid metabolism, and is necessary
for normal skeletal development and pituitary gland activity.
Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body, and is found in every living cell. It is involved in the proper functioning of both muscles and
nerves, and often works along with Calcium. The healthy body maintains a specific Calcium-Phosphorus balance in the bones of 2:1.
Sodium and Potassium are involved in the balance of fluid within the body, Potassium being found mainly within the cells, and Sodium being found
predominately in the fluids outside the cells. Along with Calcium and Magnesium, the balance of these electrolytes plays a vital role in cardiovascular health.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral, important to the immune system, and is a component of many enzyme systems. It is also a constituent of insulin and male
reproductive fluid. Should there be a high intake of Calcium, or of phytic acid, found in certain grains, there is a need for a greater intake of Zinc.
Chromium, serves to potentiate the effectiveness of insulin, the hormone responsible for blood sugar metabolism.
Molybdenum is a trace element that serves as a co-factor in many enzyme systems. The physiological roles of the Sulphur-bearing Amino Acids involve
Boron is a trace element that influences the metabolism of nutrients involved in the maintenance of strong bones and may play a role in hormone regulation.
Selenium is an essential trace mineral that works synergistically with Vitamin E. As a constituent of Glutathione peroxidase, an antioxidant enzyme, Selenium
neutralises free radicals before they can damage body tissues.