Essential minerals are minerals known to be essential to the growth and production of bones, teeth, hair, blood, nerves, skin. Not only that, but they support almost all of our bodily functions by helping deliver other important nutrients. And they are critical to producing enzymes in the body, on which every cellular chemical reaction depends. Essential minerals are sometimes divided up into major minerals (macro-minerals) and trace minerals (micro-minerals). These two groups of minerals are equally important, but trace minerals are needed in smaller amounts than major minerals. The amounts needed in the body are not an indication of their importance.
One of the key tasks of major minerals is to maintain the proper balance of water in the body. Sodium, chloride, and potassium take the lead in doing this. Three other major minerals: calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium are important for healthy bones.
- Calcium: Calcium is crucial to building and maintaining strong bones, teeth, and connective tissue. The body also needs calcium for muscles to move and for nerves to carry messages between the brain and parts of the body. Calcium is also used to help blood vessels move blood throughout the body and to help release hormones and enzymes that affect almost every function in the human body. Calcium gluconate is a synthesis of Calcium and Gluconic Acid, and is used to prevent and to treat calcium deficiencies.
- Magnesium: Magnesium, reputed to be the “anti-stress” mineral, is essential to a wide variety of body processes, including energy production, protein formation, DNA production, and nerve conduction. It helps maintain normal levels of potassium, phosphorus, calcium, adrenaline and insulin, and keeps the bones strong and the heart healthy. Magnesium has been found to help ward off the formation of blood clots, lower blood pressure, assist in maintaining bone strength, and contribute to greater life expectancy by reducing the risk of heart disease and by limiting the effects of free radical damage.
- Sodium: Sodium Bicarbonate is a substance naturally produced in the body that buffers acids and helps keep pH in check. It is needed for proper fluid balance, nerve transmission, and muscle contraction. When taken before intense exercise, sodium bicarbonate buffers the lactic acid that builds up in hard-working muscles, delays fatigue and enhances athletic performance.
Trace minerals, or micro-minerals, are essential because they critical for the processing of vitamins, the production of crucial enzymes, and the production of hormones in the body. They are needed for proper blood circulation, fluid regulation, nerve transmission, muscle contraction, cellular integrity, and energy production. The body needs trace minerals in very small amounts. The trace minerals are Iron, Zinc, Iodine, Selenium, Copper, Manganese, Fluoride, Chromium and Molybdenum. Other trace nutrients known to be essential in tiny amounts include nickel, silicon, vanadium, and cobalt.
- Chromium: Chromium controls insulin and normalizes blood sugar levels, lowers bad cholesterol levels, raises good cholesterol levels, increases immune system functioning, reduces the incidence of heart disease and lowers blood pressure. Chromium even boosts levels of DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, a hormone with longevity and antiaging properties.
- Copper: Copper is the third most abundant trace mineral in the body, and helps protect the cardiovascular, skeletal, and nervous systems. Copper helps the body fight cardiovascular disease by promoting lower cholesterol levels. Copper also helps regulate the function of lysyl oxidase, an enzyme needed for the creation of collagen in the bones, connective tissues, and skin. Additionally, copper aids in the development and maintenance of healthy skin and hair, by producing the skin pigment melanin, which colors the skin, hair, and eyes.
- Manganese: Manganese is an antioxidant that is important for proper food digestion and for normal bone structure. It helps the body convert protein and fat to energy. It also promotes normal bone growth, helps maintain healthy reproductive, nervous, and immune systems, and is involved in blood sugar regulation. In addition, manganese is involved in blood clotting, the formation of cartilage, and lubricating fluid in the joints.
- Selenium: Selenium works closely with vitamin E to provide the body with powerful antioxidant protection from the free radicals that may contribute to the development of disease. Selenium protects the body from free radical damage in two ways: It is incorporated into proteins to make seleno-proteins, which are important antioxidant enzymes, and it helps the body manufacture its own natural antioxidant, glutathione.
- Zinc: Zinc helps the body maintain the immune, reproductive, and digestive systems. It is needed for healthy skin, bones, hair, nails, and eyes, and is essential for making growth hormones and the important male hormone, testosterone. Zinc is also an antioxidant that helps to reduce the damage caused by free radicals. Zinc is crucial to a strong immune system as it has the effect of revitalizing the functioning of the thymus gland, which is crucial to T-cell production.