To Your Health
October, 2009 (Vol. 03, Issue 10)
Is Your Body Getting Enough?
By Dr. Richard Drucker
While it's safe to say most people have heard the word minerals
before and know that they are beneficial when consumed, it's also safe to say their exact meaning and purpose remain a mystery to many. Typically we tend to think of minerals as small particles of matter in soil or rock. In essence, that description is correct; however, it does not really represent the benefits minerals provide to the human body. Let's take a closer look at minerals and why specific minerals are key components to good health.
Webster's Dictionary defines minerals as "inorganic substances occurring naturally in the earth and having a consistent and distinctive set of physical properties and a composition that can be expressed by a chemical formula: sometimes applied to substances in the earth of organic origin, such as coal." Even the official definition leaves questions regarding the vital role of minerals in the body. Here are a few answers.
Minerals: Necessary for Good Health
Minerals are essential for all the chemical processes required for the human body to function properly. All nutrients, such as vitamins, proteins, enzymes, amino acids, carbohydrates, fats, sugars, oils, etc., require minerals for proper cell utility. In fact, minerals play a more important role in our health than do vitamins. While vitamins are required for every bodily biochemical process, they are useless without the presence of minerals.
Minerals are also essential for healing. Tissue rebuilding occurs more easily when the body has access to necessary minerals. Certain minerals are critically necessary to the body. These are known as "trace" minerals and include zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, selenium, and copper, to name a few.
Maximizing Mineral Absorption
Minerals are often difficult to absorb into the body. Calcium, for instance, must be taken with vitamins D and C, and essential fatty acids in the proper ratio to magnesium in order to be digested. One of the reasons that women tend to be anemic is because of improper digestion of iron, which is necessary for blood to carry oxygen. Iron is present in every food we eat, according to the late nutritionist Adelle Davis, but because the mineral is difficult to digest, most iron ingested passes through the body unassimilated.
When it comes to mineral supplements, most are not easily incorporated into the body, either. It's important for mineral supplements to be water-soluble (liquid form is best) and not in rock form, and that the elements be absorbed readily and fully, bringing more oxygen to the blood cells and thereby releasing toxins from the body.
Misconceptions About Toxicity
In addition to general limited knowledge regarding the necessity and function of minerals, there also exists a few mineral misconceptions. One such misconception has to do with the fear of mineral or metal buildup in the body, which has been documented to cause various health problems. With all the toxicity-related disorders and talk about heavy-metal accumulation, there's an overlying anxiety that metals (minerals) are harmful. This is both true and false.