This is the first in a series of blogs on minerals. Why am I focusing on them? Because they are truly the body’s spark plugs and without them, we have no vitality. They are one of the keys to a healthy, vibrant life.
I focus on them as part of initial testing for my clients -knowing someone’s mineral status gives me a very good idea of root causes of their health issues and let’s me build a holistic road map to help them regain health, which includes diet, lifestyle and supplements.
Let’s start by looking at the nutrition elements in food necessary for health.
Macro-nutrients which are proteins, fats and carbohydrates
Micro-nutrients which are vitamins and minerals (they’re called micro because they are found in smaller quantities in the body.
Minerals - the sparkplugs of life and play many important health-related roles within the human body, including
• Minerals comprise about 4% of our body
• Humans do not produce minerals; therefore, we must obtain them through our food
• Minerals are what remain as ash when plant or animal tissues are burned
• They come from the earth and will eventually return to the earth
• Out of the 103 known minerals, at least 18 are necessary for good health
I focus primarily on the macro-minerals but always consider the micro-minerals too.
Minerals play numerous important roles in the body, including:
Acting as cofactors for enzyme reactions
Properly digesting your food
Contracting and relaxing muscles
Maintaining pH balance in the body
Regulating tissue growth
Facilitating the transfer of nutrients across cell membranes
Providing structural and functional support
Maintaining proper nerve conduction
Minerals influence each of these roles and they, in turn, will have an influence on one’s mineral status. Examples include
Vitamin C will affect iron absorption and it can also reduce copper retention.
Boron and iron will influence the status of B2.
Vitamin B2 affects the relationship between calcium and magnesium
B2 is a vitamin that will speed up the metabolic rate by its effects on the glycolysis and Krebs cycle, which in turn, tends to lower calcium levels.
Vitamin B1 enhances sodium retention.
B12 enhances iron and cobalt absorption which are both synergistic to copper.
Vitamin A enhances the utilization of zinc and also helps to increase tissue potassium and antagonizes Vitamin D and E.
Enzymes are substances produced by a living organism primarily from amino acids (protein) which act as catalysts to bring about a specific biochemical reaction. There are trillions in the body.
Minerals create and build enzymes and act as enzyme activators.
All cells require enzymes to work properly. Each function in the body has specific binding sites (enzyme binding receptor site) for enzymes to do their job. One to two minerals and their vitamin co-factors are present at the site to help them function and complete the job. Each enzyme is specific in its fitting the biochemical reactions by which it was designed like a key to a lock.
Every organ and tissue have their own specialized group of enzymes.
Without enzymes or minerals, the cells of the body will no longer function
It is critical it is to know your mineral balance. Obtaining the right amount of minerals in the body is a foundation imperative to optimum health.
Vitamins are synergistic to minerals as co- enzymes, therefore mineral imbalances will also have correlating imbalances in the vitamins they are synergistic with.
Mineral to Mineral Interactions
You can find a number of “mineral wheels” on the internet. These wheels show the interactions of minerals with each other. These interactions are either:
Synergistic-minerals work with each other, or
Antagonistic-minerals which work against each other. An example of this is that magnesium works to keep one’s calcium level from going too high.
How to Determine One’s Mineral Status
My recommendation: Blood testing in conjunction with hair tissue mineral analysis. Start with hTMA, then add blood testing as indicated
Blood test – only sees the small percentage of minerals circulating in blood. 80-90% is in tissues. Blood test cannot see that
Red Blood Cell Mineral Level – useful with magnesium. Must be specifically requested.
Hair Mineral Tissue Analysis
Screening test that measures levels of minerals and toxic metals present in a sample of hair. It is an excellent biopsy material which reveals a clear record of mineral metabolism because hair, like all other body tissues contains minerals that are deposited as the hair grows. Although the hair is dead, the minerals remain as the hair continues to grow. Minerals and toxic metals are locked inside the hair during the growth state as the body uses it for the storage and elimination of mineral.
A hair sample reflects metabolic activity over the course of about three months, so the test results are not influenced by day-to-day variations in body chemistry due to stress, diet or other factors.
It reveal patterns which may be associated with:
blood sugar and carbohydrate imbalances
biochemical energy and production and glandular imbalances, especially thyroid and adrenal glands which are responsible for regulating the body’s energy production.
nutritional status relative to the presence of heavy metals from the environment
It is a screening test so has limitations and ideally should be used in conjunction with other laboratory tests, medical histories and physical examination. It is not intended to be diagnostic
Lastly, let’s look at some general issues with mineral imbalance
Even nutrient overload can cause more issues than can deficiencies. The essence of nutritional therapy is to identify each person’s nutrient overload and deficiencies and provide a game plan that helps normalize the body’s systems.
We really have to know for sure our body’s mineral levels to help us know what to eat and how to supplement correctly.
Minerals will harder to free or liberate from food during digestion if digestion is compromised in any way. And if so, we know that minerals will not fully be absorbed. Only about 20-80% of the calcium we’ve ingested is actually absorbed. So, absorption from the GI tract is the first step in getting minerals into circulation.
We can evaluate vitamin needs as minerals interact not only with each other, but also with vitamins, protein, carbohydrates and fat.
If you’d like to know your mineral status, I can help you, no matter where you live (as long as you speak English). Check out the HTMA information under “Work With Me” on this site, then shoot me an email and let’s talk.