Mineral Guide

A guide to minerals, with benefits, symptoms of deficiency, and natural food sources.

BORON

Benefits:

Healthy bones and for the metabolism of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, enhances brain function and promotes alertness, prevent postmenopausal osteoporosis and build muscle.

Sources:

Apples, carrots, grapes, leafy vegetables, nuts, pears, and grains.

CALCIUM

Benefits:

Formation of strong bones and teeth, maintenance of a regular heartbeat and the transmission of nerve impulses, maintenance of healthy gums, lowers cholesterol, muscular growth, prevention of muscle cramps, blood clotting and helps prevent cancer, provides energy, breaks down fats, maintains proper cell membrane permeability, aids in neuromuscular activity, helps to keep the skin healthy.

Symptoms of Deficiency:

Aching joints, brittle nails, eczema, elevated blood cholesterol, heart palpitations, hypertension (high blood pressure), insomnia, muscle cramps, nervousness, numbness in the arms and/or legs, a pasty complexion, rheumatoid arthritis, rickets, tooth decay, cognitive impairment, convulsions, depression, delusions, hyperactivity.

Sources:

Milk and dairy foods, salmon (with bones), sardines, seafood, green leafy vegetables, almonds, asparagus, blackstrap molasses, brewers yeast, broccoli, buttermilk, cabbage, carob, cheese, collards, dandelion greens, dulse, figs, filberts, goats milk, kale, kelp, mustard greens, oats, prunes, sesame seeds, tofu, turnip greens, watercress, whey, and yogurt, alfalfa, burdock root, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, chicory, dandelion, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, flaxseed, hops, horsetail, kelp, lemongrass, mullein, nettle, oat straw, paprika, parsley, peppermint, plantain, raspberry leaves, red clover, rose hips, shepherds purse, violet leaves, yarrow, yellow dock.

CHROMIUM

Benefits:

Needed for energy, maintains stable blood sugar levels.

Symptoms of Deficiency:

Anxiety, fatigue, glucose intolerance (particularly in people with diabetes), inadequate metabolism of amino acids, and an increased risk of arteriosclerosis.

Sources:

Beer, brewers yeast, brown rice, cheese, meat, and whole grains, dried beans, blackstrap molasses, calf liver, cheese, chicken, corn and corn oil, dairy products, dried liver, dulse, eggs, mushrooms, potatoes, catnip, horsetail, licorice, nettle, oat straw, red clover, sarsaparilla, wild yam, yarrow.

COPPER

Benefits:

Aids in the formation of bone, hemoglobin, and red blood cells, involved in the healing process, energy production, hair and skin coloring, and taste sensitivity, formation of collagen.

Symptoms of Deficiency

Osteoporosis, anemia, baldness, diarrhea, general weakness, impaired respiratory function, and skin sores.

Sources

Almonds, avocados, barley, beans, beets, blackstrap molasses, broccoli, garlic, lentils, liver, mushrooms, nuts, oat. oranges, pecans, radishes, raisins, salmon, seafood, soybeans, green leafy vegetables.

GERMANIUM

Benefits:

Improves cellular oxygenation, keep the immune system functioning properly, and rid the body of toxins and poisons, improved many illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis, food allergies, elevated cholesterol, candidiasis, chronic viral infections, cancer, and AIDS.

Sources:

Garlic, shiitake mushrooms, onions, and the herbs aloe Vera, comfrey, ginseng, and suma.

IODINE

Benefits:

Helps to metabolize excess fat, needed for a healthy thyroid gland.

Symptoms of Deficiency:

Fatigue, neonatal hypothyroidism (cretinism), weight gain.

Sources: 

Include iodized salt, seafood, saltwater fish, and kelp, asparagus, dulse, garlic, lima beans, mushrooms, sea salt, sesame seeds, soybeans, spinach (but see Comments, below), summer squash, Swiss chard, turnip greens.

IRON

Benefits:

Production of hemoglobin and myoglobin (the form of hemoglobin found in muscle tissue) and the oxygenation of red blood cells, healthy immune system and for energy production.

Symptoms of Deficiency:

Intestinal bleeding, excessive menstrual bleeding, anemia, brittle hair, difficulty swallowing, digestive disturbances, dizziness, fatigue, fragile bones, hair loss, inflammation of the tissues of the mouth, nails that are spoon-shaped or that have ridges running lengthwise, nervousness, obesity, pallor, and slowed mental reactions.

Sources:

Eggs, fish, liver, meat, poultry, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and enriched breads and cereals, almonds, avocados, beets, blackstrap molasses, brewers yeast, dates, dulse, kelp, kidney and lima beans, lentils, millet, peaches, pears, dried prunes, pumpkins, raisins, rice and wheat bran, sesame seeds, soybeans, and watercress, alfalfa, burdock root, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, chicory, dandelion, dong quad, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, horsetail, kelp, lemongrass, licorice, milk thistle seed, mullein, nettle, oat straw, paprika, parsley, peppermint, plantain, raspberry leaf, rose hips, sarsaparilla, shepherds purse,  yellow dock.

MAGNESIUM

Benefits:

Assists in calcium and potassium uptake transmission of nerve and muscle impulses, causing irritability and nervousness, help prevents depression, dizziness, muscle weakness and twitching, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and also aids in maintaining the bodys proper pH balance. calcification of soft tissue, may help prevent cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and certain forms of cancer, and it may reduce cholesterol levels.

Symptoms of Deficiency:

Confusion, insomnia, irritability, poor digestion, rapid heartbeat, seizures, and tantrums may be a major cause of fatal cardiac arrhythmia, hypertension, and sudden cardiac arrest, as well as asthma, chronic fatigue, chronic pain syndromes, depression, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, and pulmonary disorders.

Sources:

Dairy products, fish, meat, and seafood, apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, blackstrap molasses, brewers yeast, brown rice, cantaloupe, dulse, figs, garlic, grapefruit, green leafy vegetables, kelp, lemons, lima beans, millet, nuts, peaches, black-eyed peas, salmon, sesame seeds, soybeans, tofu, torula yeast, watercress, wheat, and whole grains, alfalfa, bladderwrack, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, dandelion, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, hops, horsetail, lemongrass, licorice, mullein, nettle, oat straw, paprika, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaf, red clover, sage, shepherds purse, yarrow, and yellow dock

MANGANESE

Benefits:

Protein and fat metabolism, healthy nerves, a healthy immune system, and blood sugar regulation, energy production, normal bone growth and for reproduction.

Symptoms of Deficiency:

Atherosclerosis, confusion, convulsions, eye problems, hearing problems, heart disorders, high cholesterol levels, hypertension, irritability, memory loss, muscle contractions, pancreatic damage, profuse perspiration, rapid pulse, tooth-grinding, tremors, a tendency to breast ailments.

Sources: 

Avocados, nuts and seeds, seaweed, and whole grains. This mineral may also be found in blueberries, egg yolks, legumes, dried peas, pineapples, and green leafy vegetables. Herbs that contain manganese include alfalfa, burdock root, catnip, chamomile, chickweed, dandelion, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, ginseng, hops, horsetail, lemongrass, mullein, parsley, peppermint, raspberry, red clover, rose hips, wild yam, yarrow, yellow dock.

MOLYBDENUM

Benefits:

Normal cell function, nitrogen metabolism.

Symptoms of Deficiency:

Mouth and gum disorders and cancer impotence in older males.

Sources:

Beans, cereal grains, legumes, peas, dark green leafy vegetables.

PHOSPHORUS

Benefits:

Bone and tooth formation, cell growth, contraction of the heart muscle, and kidney function utilization of vitamins and the concision of food to energy.

Symptoms of Deficiency:

Anxiety, bone pain, fatigue, irregular breathing, irritability, numbness, skin sensitivity, trembling, weakness, weight changes.

Sources:

Carbonated soft drinks, asparagus; bran; brewers yeast; corn; dairy products; eggs; fish; dried fruit; garlic; legumes; nuts; sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds; meats; poultry; salmon; and whole grains.

POTASSIUM

Benefits:

Prevent stroke, aids in proper muscle contraction, and works with sodium to control the bodys water balance maintaining stable blood pressure and in transmitting electrochemical impulses.

Symptoms of Deficiency:

Abnormally dry skin, acne, chills, cognitive impairment, constipation, depression, diarrhea, diminished reflex function, edema, nervousness, insatiable thirst, fluctuations in heartbeat, glucose intolerance, growth impairment, high cholesterol levels, insomnia, low blood pressure, muscular fatigue and weakness, nausea and vomiting, periodic headaches, proteinuria (protein in the urine), respiratory distress, and salt retention.

Sources:

Dairy foods, fish, fruit, legumes, meat, poultry, vegetables, and whole grains, apricots, avocados, bananas, blackstrap molasses, brewers yeast, brown rice, dates, dulse, figs, dried fruit, garlic, nuts, potatoes, raisins, winter squash, torula yeast, wheat bran, and yams, catnip, hops, horsetail, nettle, plantain, red clover, sage, and skullcap.

SELENIUM

Benefits:

Inhibits the oxidation of lipids, preventing the formation of free radicals, preventive against the formation of certain types of tumors pancreatic function and tissue elasticity.

Symptoms of Deficiency:

Exhaustion, growth impairment, high cholesterol levels, infections, liver impairment, pancreatic insufficiency, and sterility.

Sources:

Meat and grains, Brazil nuts, brewers yeast, broccoli, brown rice, chicken, dairy products, dulse, garlic, kelp, liver, molasses, onions, salmon, seafood, torula yeast, tuna, vegetables, wheat germ, and whole grains. Herbs that contain selenium include alfalfa, burdock root, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, fennel seed, fenugreek, garlic, ginseng, hawthorn berry, hops, horsetail, lemongrass, milk thistle, nettle, oat straw, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaf, rose hips, sarsaparilla, uva ursi, yarrow, and yellow dock.

SILICON

Benefits:

Formation of collagen for bones and connective tissue; for healthy nails, skin, and hair; and for calcium absorption in the early stages of bone formation counteracts the effects of aluminum plays a major role in preventing cardiovascular disease.

Sources:

Alfalfa, beets, brown rice, the herb horsetail, bell peppers, soybeans, leafy green vegetables, whole grains.

SODIUM

Benefits:

Maintaining proper water balance and blood pH needed for stomach, nerve, and muscle function.

Symptoms of Deficiency:

Abdominal cramps, anorexia, confusion, dehydration, depression, dizziness, fatigue, flatulence, hallucinations, headache, heart palpitations, an impaired sense of taste, lethargy, low blood pressure, memory impairment, muscular weakness, nausea and vomiting, poor coordination, recurrent infections, seizures, weight loss.

Sources:

All foods

SULFUR

Benefits:

Sulfur disinfects the blood helps the body to resist bacteria stimulates bile secretion, and protects against toxic substances. protect against the harmful effects of radiation and pollution slows down the aging process.

Sources:

Brussels sprouts, dried beans, cabbage, eggs, fish, garlic, kale, meats, onions, soybeans, turnips, and wheat germ contain sulfur, as do the herb horsetail and the amino acids cysteine, cystine, lysine, methionine

VANADIUM

Benefits:

Cellular metabolism and for the formation of bones and teeth growth and reproduction, and inhibits cholesterol synthesis.

Symptoms of Deficiency:

Cardiovascular and kidney disease, impaired reproductive ability, and increased infant mortality.

Sources:

Dill, fish, olives, meat, radishes, snap beans, vegetable oils, and whole grains.

ZINC

Benefits:

Important in prostate gland function and the growth of the reproductive organs. prevent acne and regulate the activity of oil glands protects the liver from chemical damage and is vital for bone formation maintain the proper concentration of vitamin E promotes a healthy immune system and the healing of wounds.

Symptoms of Deficiency:

Loss of the senses of taste and smell. It can also cause fingernails to become thin, peel, and develop white spots, acne, delayed sexual maturation, fatigue, growth impairment, hair loss, high cholesterol levels, impaired night vision, impotence, increased susceptibility to infection, infertility, memory impairment, a propensity to diabetes, prostate trouble, recurrent colds and flu, skin lesions, and slow wound healing.

Sources:

Brewers yeast, dulse, egg yolks, fish, kelp, lamb, legumes, lima beans, liver, meats, mushrooms, pecans, oysters, poultry, pumpkin seeds, sardines, seafood, soy lecithin, soybeans, sunflower seeds, torula yeast, and whole grains, alfalfa, burdock root, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, dandelion, eyebright, fennel seed, hops, milk thistle, mullein, nettle, parsley, rose hips, sage, sarsaparilla, skullcap, wild yam.

WATER

The human body is composed of approximately 70 percent water. In fact, the bodys water supply is responsible for and involved in nearly every bodily process, including digestion, absorption, circulation, and excretion. Water is also the primary transporter of nutrients throughout the body and so is necessary for all building functions in the body. Water helps maintain normal body temperature and is essential for carrying waste material out of the body.

Most people assume that when they turn on their kitchen tap, they are getting clean, safe, healthy drinking water. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Regardless of the original source of tap water, it is vulnerable to a number of different types of impurities. A study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that 18,500 of the nations water systems (serving some 45 million Americans) violated safe drinking water laws at some point during 1994. The councils report blamed contaminated water for some 900,000 illnesses a year, including 100 deaths. Even if the levels of individual substances in water are well within allowable limits, the total of all contaminants present: may still be harmful to your health.

Long considered a problem limited to poor, developing countries, the presence of bacteria and parasites in drinking water especially a parasite called cryptosporidium is becoming a serious problem in the United States today. In 1993, the residents of one of Wisconsins largest cities were forced to boil their tap water after it was discovered to contain unacceptable levels of cryptosporidium, most likely from agricultural runoff. This outbreak was suspected of causing six deaths in the area. The same organism has created controversy over the safety of the water in New York City; many people with weakened immune systems have charged that cryptosporidium in the city water has made them sick, even though local officials insist that the water is safe to drink. For people with HIV or AIDS, cryptosporidium can be lethal. The chlorine added to water to kill bacteria is not effective at killing these parasites.

The information provided in InnerSelf Health is for educational purposes only. These articles are submitted to InnerSelf by various authors and sources. InnerSelf Publications is not responsible for the accuracy of the content or suggestions. Readers should consult a specialist of their choice before undertaking any particular endeavor or following any of the suggestions offered.