Mineral Supplements are Necessary for Health30.11.2012
by Life Enthusiast Staff
Like vitamins, minerals work with enzymes as coenzymes, allowing all activities in your body to happen efficiently.
They are required for all metabolic processes, proper composition of your body fluids, the formation of your blood & bones, and they are also critical for healthy nerve function.
What Mineral Supplementation Can Do for You
- Maintain optimum alkalinity for optimum health
- Cleanse the kidneys, intestines and liver
- Maintain stronger bones and healthier teeth
- Alleviate insomnia
- Keep your heart beating regularly
- Help metabolize your body's iron
- Aid your nervous system
- Breakdown heavy metals and drug residues in your body
- Neutralize harmful acids that lead to illness
- Protect your body from free radical damage
- Control digestive problems
- Increase muscle and joint mobility
- Combat arthritic conditions and heart disease
- Regulate blood sugar levels and blood pressure
Mineral Supplementation is Necessary
Our civilization is starving for nutrients that are lacking in our food chain. Now more than ever, supplementation is crucial for health, because nutrients have been depleted from our soils, and destroyed in the processing & cooking of almost all the foods we eat. This type of malnutrition can be the cause of pain and chronic degenerative diseases.
Even though caloric intake is abundant, many bodies lack proper nourishment.
Superior nutrition generally does not heal or cure specific symptoms (although this has happened). But when you feed your body all of it's requirements, you can perform optimally, as intended. Your body becomes an environment in which disease cannot thrive. These dynamic reactions are generally not understood by conventional medicine and science, but we know that nature provides what we need for health.
Where Minerals Come From
Minerals are naturally occurring elements found in rocks on the earth. As rocks erode over millions of years, they break down into tiny fragments of dust and sand. This accumulates and forms the basis of soil, which is teeming with microbes that utilize the minerals. The minerals are taken up into plants, then eaten by animals, both of which are consumed by humans. In nature, this is how we ingest minerals.
Minerals In Human Body
Minerals in your body can be separated into two groups: major (or bulk) minerals and trace minerals.
Bulk minerals include calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and phosphorus. These are needed in larger amounts than trace minerals, and their deficiencies & imbalances will quickly cause illness.
Trace minerals include zinc, iron, copper, manganese, chromium, selenium, and iodine. Although very small amounts of trace minerals are required, they are just as important for good health as bulk minerals.
Because minerals are stored primarily in the body's bone and muscle tissue, overdose is possible. But toxic amounts accumulate only with extremely large doses taken for prolonged periods of time.
How Minerals are Responsible for pH Balance
To keep your pH in balance, your body has natural buffering systems, that require adequate mineral reserves. Because our society is starving for minerals that are lacking in our food chain, the buffering systems are under-performing. Without adequate mineral supplies, your body cannot compensate for excess acids. The buffering system uses primarily calcium and magnesium, plus sodium and potassium. Sulfur and phosphorus are involved in large amounts in metabolic processes. Trace minerals are referred to as such because they are required in smaller amounts, not because of lesser importance.
When your body is low on mineral reserves (most of us are), acidic events such as ingesting refined foods, cigarettes & alcohol, environmental toxins, lack of sleep, and stress will take your body out of balance for extended periods. With this continual exposure to acidic conditions, caused by low mineral reserves, your body's buffering systems are unable to correct your pH balance.
When your body is unable to excrete all the acidic compounds, it accumulates and stores them in the cells, causing an acidic cellular pH. To compensate and balance your overall ionic content, your blood becomes more alkaline, because for every molecule of stored cellular acid, an alkaline molecule needs to be put into the blood, to later escort the acid from your body. This is the body's amazing compensatory mechanism at work.
When your blood is overly alkaline, it becomes saturated with oxygen. Overly alkaline blood holds onto oxygen, unable to release it, thus depriving your cells. This cellular oxygen deficiency is the perfect environment for many serious diseases to thrive. With your buffering systems overloaded, more acid accumulates in your bodily fluids. In its initial attempt to compensate, your body will use easily reacting potassium, magnesium and sodium to normalize pH levels. In later stages, calcium (the most alkaline mineral) is drawn out of your bones into your blood in an effort to restore normal pH. This is called free calcium excess, brought about by an increasing acidic cellular environment throughout the body. This is the cause of osteoporosis (calcium taken out), arthritis (calcium settling in wrong places), etc.
The body will always seek to balance its pH, even at the expense of its own long term health. The door is open to a host of serious diseases, including faster aging.
Four Minerals Control Your Autonomic Nervous System
Calcium activates the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) which controls your "fight or flight" reaction. SNS is stimulated by calcium, and inhibited by magnesium. Imbalance causes SNS dominance, an uptight nervous, jittery person. Magnesium will calm you down and bring back your sunny personality.
Magnesium activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS), which controls our "rest & digest" reaction. PSNS is stimulated by magnesium, and inhibited by calcium. Imbalance causes PSNS dominance (quite rare) a lethargic, tired, slow moving person. Supplementing potassium will revive you out of the evening fatigue.
The Result of Mineral Imbalance On Your Autonomic Nervous System
Free excess calcium will over-stimulate your SNS, because there's insufficient magnesium to balance. Potassium is depleted, so the PSNS cannot be properly stimulated to offset the SNS. If you have an acidic cellular environment and free excess calcium, you'll have an imbalance between the SNS and the PSNS of your autonomic nervous system. This can cause you to be hyperactive, quick to anger, nervous & jittery, and burnt out (like many people in our fast paced society). If pushed to the extreme, a person may appear to be PSNS dominant (lethargic, tired & slow), but this is very rare. This person is past SNS dominance into utter exhaustion.
Magnesium to Calcium Ratio
This ratio between calcium and magnesium is very important in dealing with the cause and prevention of a number of disorders, including cardiovascular, heart and blood pressure illnesses. The absorption and metabolism of magnesium depends upon calcium intake, and vice versa. The balance between these two minerals is extremely important. In view of the overwhelming benefits of magnesium, the traditional ratio of approximately 2 parts calcium to 1 part magnesium needs to be revised. The ideal ratio for most people's needs is equal amounts of calcium and magnesium. If calcium consumption is high, then magnesium intake also needs to be high.
Note: The trace mineral boron plays a part in preventing the urinary loss of magnesium and calcium. Also, silicon aids in calcium absorption.
Drinking Water's Contribution To Your Magnesium Levels
Drinking water can significantly contribute to magnesium intake. Hard water can supply 9% to 29% of your daily magnesium intake, but the ratio between magnesium and calcium in drinking water is of considerable significance. The ideal ratio for most people's needs is an equal ratio of calcium and magnesium.
In a survey of 25 cities in the US, the lowest death rates from heart disease were found in areas where the drinking water supplied above average levels of magnesium. Part of Texas has the highest levels of magnesium in drinking water, and also the lowest cardiovascular mortality rates in the US Australia has some of the lowest drinking water magnesium levels, and also the highest cardiovascular death rate in the world.
Misconceptions Regarding Calcium and Magnesium Supplementation
A common misunderstanding is that your daily requirement of calcium should be taken in supplemental form. Many doctors suggest calcium supplementation of 1200mg a day. This creates a risk: too much total calcium from your diet and supplements together can lead to dangerous plaque on your arteries & kidneys, and gallstones. A supplement's purpose should be to increase your total intake of calcium (diet + supplements) to the optimum.
The problem with the most common forms of calcium supplementation is the lack of absorption. This depends on many factors such as the type of calcium used (carbonate, citrate or chelate), amount of protein in your diet, and cofactors such as magnesium, boron, silica and vitamin D. Ideally, your intake of calcium and magnesium should be equal. This allows proper absorption of both minerals, leading you to far better health. The majority of North Americans get enough calcium from diet, but their intake of magnesium and silicon is often inadequate, causing calcium malabsorption.
Don't Use Calcium Supplements from an Antacid
The New England Journal of Medicine reported a study in which postmenopausal women were given an antacid to neutralize the acid that is produced by a high protein diet. Researchers saw significant improvements in the bone retention of calcium & phosphorus, in less than 3 weeks. Unfortunately, many of the women had digestive problems resulting from this therapy. Antacids have been shown to seriously reduce nutrient bioavailability. A more sensible conclusion would have us eat less protein, and more fruits & vegetables.