The Essential Minerals and Vitamins your Body Needs and How Much. (1).

We’ve all heard the term ‘vitamins and minerals’ in regard to health. Most people are well-informed about vitamins and know the basics about them. But what about that other word?

Know the Essential Minerals and Vitamins your Body Needs and How Much.Minerals, which are not produced naturally in the body, play a vital role in the body’s metabolic functions. Your body needs a good balance of minerals. Having too much or too little of these important substances in the body can lead to severe health conditions.

Here are some important minerals that the body needs and what they do.

Calcium – Almost all of your body’s calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. So, needless to say, it plays a hugely important role in maintaining healthy bones and teeth throughout life.

What happens when I have too little? 

Calcium deficiency over a long time can lead to rickets (a softening of the bones in children), poor blood clotting and osteoporosis (especially in menopausal women).

What happens when I have too much?

When too much calcium is retained in the body, it can cause hypercalcemia (a fancy word for elevated calcium levels in the blood). This can impair kidney function and decrease the absorption of other minerals.

Where do I get it from? 

The most obvious source for calcium, and one I’m betting you already know, is dairy products like milk and cheese. Other, probably less well-known, sources include: kelp, wakame and hijiki (types of seaweed); almonds, hazelnuts, sesame seeds, pistachios, black strap molasses; beans; figs; quinoa; okra; rutabaga; broccoli and kale. Many products like orange juice and soy milk are also fortified with calcium, meaning they have calcium artificially put in them where it wouldn’t naturally occur or would occur only in insignificant amounts.

Spinach, chard and rhubarb also have high calcium content but they might also contain oxalic acid, which can reduce calcium absorption.

And if you don’t mind a little effort to get your calcium, you can always ground eggshells into a powder and mix them into food or liquids.

What else should I know about calcium?

You need Vitamin D to absorb it.

Cobalt – This mineral is part of Vitamin B12 and that’s how your body will absorb it, in minute amounts. By itself, cobalt will likely not be absorbed by your body.

What happens when I have too little? 

Cobalt deficiency in your body is tied to Vitamin B12 deficiency, and being deficient in Vitamin B12 can lead to damage to the brain and nervous system.

What happens if I have too much? 

Because of Vitamin B12’s extremely low toxicity level, it’s virtually impossible to have too much of it. It’s highly unlikely you would end up with too much cobalt in your body, but plants grown in soil with extremely high concentrations of cobalt (near cobalt mining and melting facilities for example) can have high concentrations of it and eating these plants can lead to vomiting and nausea, vision problems, heart problems and thyroid damage.

High concentrations of cobalt in the air can also lead to health problems but you won’t likely run into this unless you work with it.

Where do I get it from? 

You can get Vitamin B12 (and thus cobalt) from many animal products, including: fish, shellfish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products.

What else do I need to know about cobalt? 

Vegans have a particularly difficult time getting enough Vitamin B12 in their diet so they are recommended to eat foods fortified with it or take supplements.

Copper – Copper is essential in plants and animals but only in tiny amounts. It’s absorbed in the stomach and then transported to the liver and from there to other parts of the body via blood.

What happens if I have too little? 

Copper is tied to your body’s ability to absorb iron so copper deficiency produces symptoms similar to anemia, bone abnormalities, discoloration of the skin, impaired growth, increased incidence of infections, osteoporosis, hyperthyroidism and abnormalities in glucose and cholesterol metabolism.

What happens if I have too much?

Because of the body’s natural ability to regulate copper, it’s highly unlikely you’ll end up getting too much but Wilson’s disease does cause accumulation of copper in your body, which is not a good thing, as you will get copper deposits in your body (such as a brown circle around the iris of your eyes).

It is also possible to be poisoned from copper, particularly when eating acidic foods cooked in uncoated copper cookware or from excess copper in drinking water.

Where do I get it from?

You can get copper from liver, oysters, sesame seeds, cocoa powder and chocolate, nuts, calamari and lobster, sunflower seeds, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted pumpkin seeds and dried herbs.

What else should I know about copper? 

Your body has about 1.4 to 2.1 mg of copper per kg of body mass.

Iodine – Like copper, this is another mineral that is essential in the body, but only in tiny amounts. It’s essential for proper functioning of the thyroid gland, as well as helping the mammary glands, eyes, artery walls, the cervix, and salivary glands.

What happens when I have too little? 

Iodine deficiency can cause hypothyroidism, which is when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. Symptoms include: extreme physical and mental fatigue, goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland), depression, weight gain, and low basal body temperatures (that’s the lowest temperature your body reaches while it’s at rest)

Iodine deficiency is also the leading cause of preventable mental retardation.

What happens when I have too much? 

It’s unlikely that you’ll ever get excess iodine in your body, although it’s more possible for this to happen if you have selenium deficiency, as the two elements work together.

Iodine as an element by itself can be toxic for humans but you probably won’t run into it in this state.

Where do I get it from? 

I bet you already know the answer to this one; salt. Most table salt in the western world is iodized specifically so people can get enough of it in their diets. You can also get it from eating seaweed, yogurt, cow’s milk, eggs, strawberries, mozzarella cheese, fish and shellfish.

What else should I know about iodine?

Even though wealthier nations on earth all have iodized salt and don’t have much to worry about in terms of iodine deficiency, many people in the world live in countries where the salt isn’t iodized and they don’t get enough in their diets so iodine deficiency is a huge problem in a lot of the world.

That’s a lot of information to process about these essential elements for your body. In my next post, we will look at more essential minerals.

In the meantime, keep healthy!

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