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Vitamins are important but they can do nothing for you without minerals. Vitamins cannot be assimilated (absorbed and made use of) without the aid of minerals. And though the body can manufacture a few vitamins, it cannot manufacture a single mineral. All tissues and internal fluids of our body contain varying quantities of minerals. Minerals are constituents of the bones, teeth, soft tissue, muscle, blood, and nerve cells. They are vital to overall mental and physical well-being.

Minerals act as catalysts for many biological reactions within the body, including muscle response, the transmission of messages through the nervous system, the production of hormones, digestion, and the utilisation of nutrients in foods.

Below is a comprehensive list and explanation of the roles each of the minerals play. Also included is a list of sources of each of these minerals.

Calcium (Ca)
Role: Builds and maintains bones and teeth, regulates heart rhythm, eases insomnia, helps regulate the passage of nutrients in & out of the cell walls, assists in normal blood clotting, helps maintain proper nerve and muscle function, lowers blood pressure, important to normal kidney function and in current medical research reduces the incidence of colon cancer, and reduces blood cholesterol levels.

Deficiency symptoms: May result in arm and leg muscles spasms, softening of bones, back and leg cramps, brittle bones, rickets, poor growth, osteoporosis ( a deterioration of the bones), tooth decay, depression.

Sources: Dark leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, oats, navy beans, almonds, millet, sunflower seeds, canned sardines/salmon.

Chromium (Cr)
Role: Claimed to work with insulin in the metabolism of sugar and stabilises blood sugar levels, cleans the arteries by reducing Cholesterol & Triglyceride levels, helps transport amino acids to where the body needs them, helps control the appetite, medical research has shown that persons with low levels of Chromium in their bodies are more susceptible to having cancer and heart problems and becoming diabetic. Some ‘peer approved’ studies have shown Cr to have absolutely no effect on insulin.

Deficiency symptoms: May result in glucose intolerance in diabetics, arteriosclerosis, heart disease, depressed growth, obesity, tiredness.

Sources: Naturally hard water, whole grain bread, mushrooms, brewer’s yeast, cane juice.

Role: Essential for the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Helps the liver in it’s detoxifying activity.

Sources: Seaweed (kelp), watercress, avocado, chard, tomatoes, cabbage, celery, cucumber, oats.

Copper (Cu)
Role: Necessary for the absorption and utilisation of Iron, helps oxidise Vitamin C and works with Vitamin C to form Elastin, a chief component of the Elastin muscle fibres throughout the body, aids in the formation of red blood cells, helps proper bone formation & maintenance.

Deficiency symptoms: May result in general weakness, impaired respiration and skin sores.

Sources: Also almonds, peas, beans, green leafy vegetables, whole grain products, prunes, raisins.

Role: Essential for bone and tooth building. Protects against infections. Excess (as in fluoridated water) causes mottled teeth and can be toxic.

Sources: Steel-cut oats, sunflower seeds, carrots, garlic, almonds, sea water and natural hard water.

Germanium (Ge)
Role: Alleviates arthritis, food allergies, elevated cholesterol. A fast acting pain killer.

Sources: Aloe vera, garlic, ginseng, onions.

Iron (Fe)
Role: Its major function is to combine with protein and copper in making haemoglobin. Haemoglobin transports oxygen in the blood from the lungs to the tissues which need oxygen to maintain basic life functions. Iron builds up the quality of the blood and increases resistance to stress and disease. It is also necessary for the formation of myoglobin which is found only in muscle tissue. Myoglobin supplies oxygen to muscle cells for use in the chemical reaction that results in muscle contraction. Iron also prevent fatigue and promotes good skin tone.

Deficiency symptoms: May result in weakness, paleness of skin, constipation and anaemia.

Sources: Apricots,peaches, bananas, black molasses, prunes, raisins, whole grain cereals, turnip greens, spinach, dry beans, lentils.

Iodine (I)
Role: Aids in the development and functioning of the thyroid gland, regulates the body’s production of energy, helps burn excess fat by stimulating the rate of metabolism, mentality, speech, the condition of the hair, skin & teeth are dependent upon a well-functioning thyroid gland.

Deficiency symptoms: May result in an enlarged thyroid gland, slow mental reaction, dry skin & hair, weight gain, loss of physical & mental vigour.

Sources: Seaweed, Swiss chard, turnip greens, garlic, watercress, pineapple, pears, citrus, seafood and fish liver oils.

Magnesium (Mg)
Role: Plays an important role in regulating the neuromuscular activity of the heart, maintains normal heart rhythm, necessary for proper calcium Vitamin C metabolism, converts blood sugar into energy.

Deficiency symptoms: May result in calcium depletion, heart spasms, nervousness, muscular excitability, confusion, kidney stones.

Sources: Nuts, soybeans, green leafy vegetables, figs, apples, lemons, peaches, almonds, salmon.

Manganese (Mn)
Role: An antioxidant nutrient, important in the blood breakdown of amino acids and the production of energy, necessary for the metabolism of Vitamin B-1 & Vitamin E, Activates various enzymes which are important for proper digestion & utilisation of foods, is a catalyst in the breakdown of fats & cholesterol, helps nourish the nerves and brain, necessary for normal skeletal development, maintains sex hormone production.

Deficiency symptoms: May result in paralysis, convulsions, dizziness, ataxia, loss of hearing, digestive problems, blindness and deafness in infants.

Sources: Spinach, beets, blueberries, oranges, grapefruit, apricots, kelp, green leafy vegetables.

Molybdenum (Mo)
Role: Integral part of certain enzymes, involved improper carbohydrate metabolism. Guards against copper poisoning.

Sources: Brown rice, millet, buckwheat, brewer’s yeast, legumes and naturally hard water.

Phosphorous (P)
Role: Works together with calcium and must be balanced to be effective. Needed for building bones and teeth.

Sources: Whole-grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, dried fruit, corn.

Potassium (K)
Role: Works with sodium (Na) to regulate the body’s waste balance and normalise heart rhythms (sodium-potassium pump), aids in clear thinking by sending oxygen to the brain, preserves proper alkalinity of body fluids, stimulates the kidneys to eliminate poisonous body wastes, assists in reducing high blood pressure, promotes healthy skin.

Deficiency symptoms: May result in poor reflexes, nervous disorders, respiratory failure, cardiac arrest, muscle damage.

Sources: Green leafy vegetables, oranges, whole grains, sunflower seeds, bananas, fresh salmon.

Selenium (Se)
Role: A major antioxidant nutrient, protects cell membranes and prevents free radical generation thereby decreasing the risk of cancer and disease of the heart and blood vessels. Medical surveys show that increased selenium intake decreases the risk of breast, colon, lung and prostate cancer. Selenium also preserves tissue elasticity, slows down the ageing and hardening of tissues through oxidation, helps in the treatment and prevention of dandruff.

Deficiency symptoms: May result in premature aging, heart disease, dandruff, loose skin.

Sources: Sea water, brewer’s yeast,mushrooms, seafoods, most vegetables.

Sodium (Na)
Role: Regulates fluid and acid/base balance; sodium is necessary for hydrochloric acid production in the stomach.

Sources: Kelp, celery, romaine lettuce, watermelon, sea salt.

Sulfur (S)
Role: “The Beauty Mineral”. Vital for healthy skin, hair and nails. Aids in reducing oxidations

Sources: Radish, turnip,onions, celery, horseradish, watercress, soybeans, fish.

Vanadium (V)
Vanadyl Sulfate is a non steroidal supplement derived from vanadium. Vanadium is actually a trace mineral (see below). In research studies, vanadyl sulfate has been shown to influence many of the same biological processes that are controlled by insulin. Vanadyl Sulfate helps increase the amount of carbohydrates and protein that are transported into the muscle to aid muscle growth.

Zinc (Zn)
Role: Zinc is finally being recognised within the athletic community. It is a key factor in over 200 different enzyme activated reactions which produce nearly every anabolic hormone in the body, including, testosterone, IGF-1, Prostaglandins, Insulin and Growth Hormone. Optimal levels of zinc are vital for masculinity and virility. Zinc is an antioxidant nutrient, necessary for protein synthesis, wound healing, vital for the development of the reproductive organs, prostate functions and male hormone activity, it governs the contractility of muscles (around 55% of stored zinc is found in slow twist fibres), important for blood stability, maintains the body’s alkaline balance, helps in normal tissue function, aids in the digestion and metabolism of phosphorus.

Deficiency symptoms: May result in delayed sexual maturity, prolonged healing wounds, white spots on finger nails, retarded growth, stretch marks, fatigue, decreased alertness, susceptibility to infections.

Sources: Wheat bran, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, brewer’s yeast, onions, oysters, green leafy vegetables.

Trace Minerals
Minerals that occur in tiny amounts or traces. They play a major role in health, since even minute portions of them can powerfully affect health. They are essential in the assimilation and utilisation of vitamins and other nutrients. They aid in digestion and provide the catalyst for many hormones, enzymes and essential body functions and reactions. they also aid in replacing electrolytes lost through heavy perspiration or extended diarrhoea and protects against toxic reaction and heavy metal poisoning.