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Minerals - All you need to know

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Minerals – All you need to know

In my previous article, I had discussed about Vitamins and its importance to our bodily functions. Now let’s focus on another important micronutrient – Mineral, which is also very important and, in this article, I will discuss about different categories and its importance. What are Minerals?                                 Mineral is a naturally occurring substance which is solid and inorganic, represented by a chemical formula and it also has a crystal structure. It has various nutritional importance and minerals are required by the organism to grow, repair tissues, metabolise and perform other bodily functions. Our body requires lots of minerals, commonly known as essential minerals.   Essential minerals are divided into two categories. 1. Major Minerals (Macro – Minerals) •Sodium •Chlorine •Potassium •Calcium •Magnesium •Phosphorus 2. Trace Minerals (Micro – Minerals) •Iron •Iodine •Chromium •Manganese •Cobalt •Copper                                                                             •Zinc Let’s discuss about some essential minerals in brief. Sodium  Ø Sodium is important for fluid balance, nerve transmission, and muscle contraction. Ø The deficiency in sodium can cause Hyponatremia and the symptoms may include nausea and vomiting, headache, confusion, loss of energy, drowsiness and fatigue, restlessness and irritability, muscle weakness, spasms and cramps, seizures, coma. Ø overconsumption of sodium can cause Hypernatremia and this occurs in Cushion’s disease. Ø Sources: Table Salt, processed foods, canned foods, spices. Sodium will generally be available in most of the food items. Ø RDA: RDA for Male/Female – 1500 mg/day References:                      Chlorine Ø Chlorine is the principal anion in extracellular fluids and it is also involved in the regulation of extracellular osmotic pressure. Ø The deficiency of chlorine can cause hypochloremia. It can cause vomiting, renal disease and also the excretion of chloride is markedly reduced in the urine. Ø The toxicity can cause hyperchloremia and it can occur when water losses exceed sodium and chloride. Ø Sources: Table salt, Soya Sauce, processed foods, small amount is available in milk, meats, breads and vegetables. Ø RDA: Male/Female as per USDA – 2300 mg/day Ø References: Potassium Ø functions in acid-base balance, regulation of osmotic pressure, muscle contractions particularly the cardiac muscle. It is also required during glycogenesis. Ø Increased level of serum potassium in the system causes Hyperkalemia and causes dilation of heart, cardiac arrest, small bowel ulcers. Ø Low level of serum potassium causes Hypokalemia and this occurs in diarrhea and familial periodic paralysis. Ø Sources: Meats, Milk, fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains. Ø RDA: Male/Female as per USDA – 4700 mg/day Ø References:       Calcium Ø Calcium is the main component in the formation and health of bones and teeth in our body, it also helps regulating the functions of nerves and muscle functions. Ø Hypocalcemia is an electrolyte imbalance and indicated by low level of calcium serum in the blood. It mainly causes because of Vitamin D deficiency, chronic renal failure, magnesium deficiency, Alcoholism, Certain things in the diet, like caffeine, phosphates (found in soda pop), and certain antibiotics may make it difficult for you to absorb calcium. Ø Hypercalcemia is the high calcium level in blood and the most common reason for this is an overproduction of parathyroid hormone or hyperparathyroidism. The symptoms are constipation, nausea, kidney stones, dementia, memory loss, bone aches and pains. Ø Sources: Dairy products, canned fish, tofu, soy milk, green vegetables. Ø RDA: Male/Female as per USDA: 1000mg/day Ø References: Phosphorus Ø Phosphorus is located in every cell of our body and bones. It is an electrolyte that helps body with energy production and nerve function. It helps build strong bone and teeth. Ø Hypophosphatemia is an abnormally low level of phosphorus in blood. This form of the disease can also lead to the bone disease rickets, and a softening of the bones called osteomalacia. Ø Hyperphosphatemia is an excess level of phosphorus in the blood. Kidneys help remove extra phosphate from body to keep the levels in balance. When the kidneys are damaged, body can’t remove phosphate from the blood quickly enough. This can lead to chronically elevated levels of phosphate. Ø Sources: Meat, dairy products, fish, poultry, processed foods. Ø RDA: Male/Female as per USDA: 700 mg/day Ø References: Magnesium Ø Magnesium mostly located in the bones, soft tissues and extracellular fluids. Ø Deficiency of magnesium causes Hypomagnesemia and can be attributed to chronic disease, alcoholism, gastrointestinal losses, renal losses, and other conditions. Ø Hypermagnesemia refers to an excess amount of magnesium in the bloodstream. It is rare and is usually caused by renal failure or poor kidney function. Ø Sources: Nuts and seeds, leafy green vegetables, sea foods. Ø RDA: Male as per USDA: 420mg/day               Female as per USDA: 320 mg/day Ø References:                 Iron Ø Iron is one of the most important minerals for human body. Our body consists of close to 2-4 grams of iron, majority of which is stored in hemoglobin. The excess amount is stored in liver, bone marrow and in spleen. ØI ron deficiency can cause extreme fatigue, weakness, pale skin, chest pain, shortness of breath, headache, dizziness, poor appetite specially in infants and children. The deficiency of iron is mostly seen in 4 groups of people. •Women •Infants and Children •Vegetarians •Frequent blood donors Ø Sharp iron toxicity is most commonly seen in cases where certain individual consumes excessive amount of iron pills and vitamin or mineral pills with high concentration of iron. Ø Sources: Red meat, pork and poultry, Seafood, Beans, Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots Ø RDA:  adult men – 8mg/day                Post-menopausal women – 8mg/day                Women in menopausal phase – 18 mg/day                Lactating mother – 9mg/day Zinc Ø Zinc is known to be found in all human organs, tissues and bodily fluids. It is also closely related to immune functions, sexual maturations, fertility and reproduction. Ø Zinc deficiency is characterised by growth retardation, loss of appetite, and impaired immune function. Ø Zinc is considered to be relatively nontoxic, particularly if taken orally. However, manifestations of overt toxicity symptoms (nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain, lethargy, and fatigue) will occur with extremely high zinc intakes. Ø Sources: Meats, fish, poultry, whole grains, vegetables ØRDA: Male/Female as per USDA – 11-15mg/day Ø References:                 Iodine Ø Iodine is a trace element that is necessary for the synthesis of thyroid hormones in vertebrates. Atoms of iodine are needed for the production of thyroid hormone, namely thyroxine(T3) and triiodothyronine(T4). Ø Low levels of iodine are not the only cause of low thyroid function. But a lack of iodine can cause an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland, known as a goiter, and other thyroid problems. Ø Pregnant women require more iodine than any other group of people. Because of this, they’re likely to experience a deficiency if they don’t make a conscious effort to consume high-iodine foods. Ø Toxicity of iodine happens because of overconsumption of foods which are rich in iodine. The symptoms of toxicity include burning of mouth, throat and stomach, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. Ø Source: Seafood, foods grown on iodine-rich soil, iodized salt, bread, dairy products Ø RDA: Male/female as per USDA: 0.15 mg/day Ø References:          Chromium Ø Chromium is known to improve insulin activity. Ø Big-time chromium deficiency is uncommon, but it used to develop in patients who depended on intravenous feedings. Fortunately, nutritionists have eliminated the problem by adding chromium to total parenteral nutrition (TPN) solutions. Ø Signs of chromium toxicity included respiratory distress, irritation, and body weight depression (Gad et al. 1986). Ø Source: Unrefined foods especially liver, brewer’s yeast, whole grains, nuts, cheeses . ØRDA: Male as per USDA: 35mcg/day              Female as per USDA: 25mcg/day Ø References: Like any other macronutrients, vitamins and minerals are also very important and both macronutrients and micronutrients work hand in hand to work on different bodily functions and keep us healthy. Every mineral has different source of foods and while preparing a diet, try to include those sources to create a balanced diet which will fulfil all the dietary requirements of both macronutrients and macronutrients. This article is for general awareness only. For any medical conditions, you must consult with doctor and check if any medical supplementation is necessary.

Sarika Tyagi

awesome article..

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