This article was originally written by Steve Wilcott
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Minerals are essential nutrients that serve the body in many ways. Many minerals are active in their own right, serving individual purposes within the body. However, the much more common way of working for minerals is partnership. They act as cofactor in many complex substances and processes. Many minerals complement each other, serving as cofactor to each other in the body’s most essential processes.
The skeletal system benefits from the partnership of various minerals, as do the teeth. Calcium and phosphorus, the two minerals that are present in the highest amounts in the body, are the key mineral players in the hard surfaces of bones and teeth, with the mineral magnesium serving to help the body metabolize the calcium and the phosphorus. The mineral manganese serves a purpose in this process as well and the mineral zinc is needed to metabolize phosphorus. This group of minerals also combine to protect the health of the nerves and to enhance the ability of the nerves to communicate, as well as ensures the ability of the muscles in the body to contract smoothly and regularly, contributing to, among other things, a regular heartbeat.
The mineral iron is responsible for the production of hemoglobin in the blood, which is what the red blood cells store the oxygen in as they travel the body, supplying the cells and tissues with the oxygen that is vital to their survival. But, without the mineral copper, the body would be unable to absorb and use the iron. A deficiency in copper results in an anemia that is similar to that caused by a deficiency of iron.
Minerals serve as cofactors in a variety of chemical combinations in the body that are essential processes of everything from food digestion to oxygenation of the body’s cells. The entire functioning of the body is built upon chemical and electrical reactions. These depend primarily upon the nutrition we consume, which serves as fuel and, once broken down to its basic elements, the chemicals needed to complete the various interactions. The balance of the complex system is delicate, but must be maintained to ensure health and peak performance.
The amount of mineral available in food and water can vary from region to region. That is because the amount of minerals found in plants depends on the quality of the soil, the type and amount of mineral deposits in the soil. Growing the same crops in the same place year after year can deplete the minerals in the soil. Topsoil erosion also can reduce the minerals available in soil.
Nutritional supplements can serve as an effective and safe means of ensuring that each day the body achieves the standard recommended daily intake levels of the minerals it need to perform the essential operations of the body. Because the balance of nutrients in the body is so important, it is a good idea to engage in a consultation with a licensed nutritionist who will be able to help you to devise a mineral supplement plan that is best suited to your individual dietary needs.