Many people are aware of the importance of macronutrients, but it can sometimes be easy to forget how vital minerals are as the foundation of our health. In fact, without minerals, all of these other nutrients would be unable to work to their full effect.
What are minerals?
Minerals are inorganic substances, derived from rocks, soil or water. They are known as a micronutrient. Micronutrients are required by the body in smaller amounts compared to macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats and protein).
However this does not mean they are less important.
They have vital functions in the body but cannot be made by the body and we therefore consume them through food and supplements.
Why do we need minerals?
Minerals are needed for all aspects of health, starting with our cells.
They are needed for blood and plasma, bones and muscles, tissues and organs and to keep every bodily system working efficiently, including the immune system.
What is the difference between minerals and trace elements?
Minerals include sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. They are required by the body in larger amounts compared to trace elements (over 100mg/day).
All the other elements are known as trace elements as they are required by the body in smaller amounts (below 100mg/day). However they are equally important. Examples include selenium, zinc, iron, copper, manganese and many more as shown in the diagram below.
What minerals do we need?
Certain minerals and trace elements have specific roles that are well known such as calcium for bone health and iron for transporting oxygen around the body. However each and every mineral and trace element is essential due to the interactions of elements with each other in the body (fig 1).
Certain individuals may need to pay more attention to their mineral intake.
Iron deficiency anaemia is the world’s most common nutritional deficiency. Vegans, vegetarians and women under 50 are at higher risk of developing iron deficiency due to insufficient intake through diet and losses of iron during periods and pregnancy.
Supplementing with the full range of elements is more beneficial that just supplementing with iron on its own. This is because iron interacts with 10 other minerals and trace elements which each directly or indirectly interact with a range of other elements. For optimal absorption and metabolism of iron it is therefore important to ensure you are consuming the full range of minerals and trace elements as a deficiency or excess in one element can create an imbalance of other elements in the body.
Up to 90% of bone mass forms before the age of 18 in girls and 20 in boys, this increases nutrient requirements, especially calcium, phosphorus and magnesium which are associated with bone health. Bone density starts to decline after 35 and The British Nutrition Foundation reported that one in two (50%) of women and one in five (20%) of men over 50 experience a fracture due to bone loss. This highlights the importance of mineral intake throughout life to support health and reduce the risk of disease and injury.
It is not just calcium and iron that are important. Magnesium is needed for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body with specific roles in nerve, muscle and psychological function. It also helps to regulate potassium and sodium, controlling blood pressure. Zinc and selenium have a role in immunity, fertility and reproduction whilst copper supports brain development and immune function and supports the use of iron in the body.
Where can we get minerals?
A healthy diet creates the foundation for health. This means consuming a variety of whole foods and seeing food as beneficial to your gut, your heart and your body. Although we consume nutrients through food, over the years there has been a decline in nutrient density of our food with minerals being one of the most prominent losses.
This has led to insufficient nutrient intakes amongst the population. Although a mineral deficiency may not develop, symptoms such as low energy, poor immunity and digestive health can arise, linked to mineral intake. This can also impact health later in life.
Whilst it might seem like supplementation of an individual mineral is the answer, looking at fig1, we can see that each mineral and trace element cannot be absorbed or work optimally in the body if the full spectrum of elements are not present and in the correct proportions.
What happens if we consume too much of one mineral?
Consuming too much of one mineral or trace element can create an imbalance of elements, affecting their absorption and use within the body.
Each Cellnutrition Quinton ampoule provides 78 minerals and trace elements and in the correct proportions. Each ampoule is harvested from nature and is cold micro-filtered to provide one of the most potent mineral supplements on the market. It is recommended to take one ampoule of Cellnutrition Quinton in the morning 15-20 minutes before food to support energy levels and to take a second ampoule throughout the day or as/ when you need it.