Category Archives: Minerals

Vitamins and Minerals

What You Should Know about
Vitamins and Minerals

INTRODUCTION:

  • forty percent of Americans take vitamin and mineral supplements
  • optimal bodily function, especially in athletes, cannot occur without daily ingestion of a precise mix of 59 substances, in the correct amounts
  • oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and sulphur are needed in large amounts, while the remaining 54 are needed in medium or small amounts
  • the 54 substances previously mentioned are less plentiful in the environment and thus in our food, so you are more likely to develop a deficiency in those ones
  • as of May 1992, 13 vitamins, 22 minerals, 6 cofactors, 8 amino acids, and two essential fatty acids (EFAs) were recognized as essential to the human system
  • all nutrients act in synergy to produce, maintain, and renew the body, and if even one is missing, or in short supply, the functions of the others are impaired
  • the word ”essential” means: 1) nutrients have to be present in adequate amounts or function is impaired, 2) the body cannot make nutrients or cannot make enough of them for normal tissue function, and 3) you have to get them from your diet
  • supplements can make up for shortcomings in your diet.
  • supplements can make good health easier for you to achieve.
  • on 9 April, 1991, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Nutrition, a Washington lobby representing 3000 physicians, asked the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to abandon the four food groups and to reclassify meats and dairy as ”optional foods” – 2004 Harvard has instituted a food pyramid that tips the USDA and Health Canada food pyramids upside down.
  • a professor of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell University, presented evidence that the excess intakes of meat and dairy products in America is strongly linked with their high rates of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and osteoporosis
  • on 27 April 1992, the USDA issued a food pyramid emphasizing whole grains, then vegetables, then fruits, as the basis of nutrition, with meats and dairy as minor foods
  • just a ”balanced” “mainstream” diet alone is not enough to ensure good nutrition.
  • pregnant women, dieters, and senior citizens, simply cannot obtain the recommended allowances for certain nutrients through “mainstream” food alone.
  • sometimes supplements are a safer source of certain nutrients than certain foods.

Principles Of Nutrition

  1. Synergy.
    Nutrients are co-dependant on other nutrients to exert function within the body. They function only by interdependent interactions with each other.
  2. Completeness.
    The corollary of synergy is that even if one essential nutrient is in short supply, none of the others can function properly.
  3. Biochemical Individuality.
    Nutritional needs of individuals differ as much as their faces and fingerprints. Each person requires an individual nutrition program
  4. Lifestyle Dynamics.
    Lifestyle choices such as the choice of training level, or the choice of living in a polluted urban area, dramatically affect nutritional needs.
  5. Precision.
    There is only a narrow range of intake of each nutrient that will produce the optimum function.
  6. Physiological Dynamics.
    Improved nutrition must wait on nature to renew whole bodily systems before its effects can show.

Manganese

Actions:

  • nutritionists believe that Mn is important for certain enzymes involved in protein and calorie metabolism
  • needed for the proper formation of bone and cartilage
  • necessary for normal glucose metabolism
  • is part of an endogenous antioxidant superoxide dismutase (SOD)

Deficiency:

  • average daily intake in America is 2.7 mg in males and 2.2 mg in females
  • RDA 2-5 mg/day

Interactions and Toxicity:

  • in many steel and chemical industry workers have been shown to develop a condition called locura manganica, or permanent insanity

Sources:

  • whole grains, black tea, nuts and seeds are among the best sources
  • fruits and vegetables are moderate sources

Phosphorus

General Description:

  • there is approximately 800 grams of P in the body, 700 of which resides in the bones

Actions:

  • P is essential for many processes including making ATP, creatine phosphate and many other steps in the energy cycle, and for the metabolism of RBCs
  • can be used to reduce urinary Ca in those prone to kidney stones
  • contributes to healthy bones, normal muscle contraction, and activation of the B vitamins

Deficiency.

  • long-term overuse of antacids can lead to deficiency
  • deficiency signs: muscle weakness, bone pain, and a loss of appetite
  • many phosphorus supplements also contain Na and K
  • average Ameriacan diet contains twice the RDA (around 1500 mg for males and 1000 mg for females)
  • it is important to maintain a healthy balance between Ca and P
  • Ca:P ratio should be 1.5:1 at infancy decreasing to 1:1 at childhood

Interactions and Toxicity:

  • phosphorus supplements should not be used when high blood pressure or Addison’s disease is present
  • phosphorus is used as an additive in many foods (colas, breads), which upsets the balance of Ca and P
  • a high P intake may contribute to osteoporosis as it leaches Ca from the bones
  • supplements of P sometimes produce a laxative effect
  • antacids containing aluminum hydroxide inhibit P absorption
  • hemolysis, caused by exercise, releases P and falsely elevates serum levels

Sources:

  • meat, milk, fish, and whole grains

Iodine

Actions:

  • used in the thyroid to convert an inert chemical called thyronine to powerful thyroid hormones
  • thyroid hormones control all energy production in the body

Deficiency:

  • 50 mcg./day is sufficient for most people
  • average American intake is 250 mcg for men and 170 mcg for females
  • inadequate iodine causes the thyroid gland to grow, producing a goiter, as it is trying to provide more cells that produce the thyroid hormone
  • the mental retardation of cretinism is also caused by iodine deficiency
  • even breathing sea air each day will supply you with the infinitesimal amount of iodine that you require each day
  • iodine is lost in sweat

Boron

Actions:

  • boron provides biochemicals called hydroxyl groups, essential for the manufacture of the active forms of some steroid hormones; especially the hormones involved in Ca, P, and Mg metabolism in bone, and in muscle growth
  • adequate boron status is necessary for normal testosterone production
  • post-menopausal women who supplemented 3 mg./day of sodium borate showed increased blood levels of testosterone and 17-beta-estradiol, the most active form of estrogen

Interactions and Toxicity:

  • intakes above 50mg/day may interfere with phosphorus and/or riboflavin metabolism

Sources:

  • soybeans, almonds, peanuts, prunes, raisins, dates and unprocessed honey

Molybdenum

Actions:

  • part of the essential enzymes, xanthine oxidase, aldehyde oxidase, and sulphite oxidase

Deficiency:

  • average daily American intake is 109 mcg for males and 76 mcg for females
  • RDA 50-250 mcg/day

Interactions and Toxicity:

  • toxicity starts at 10 mg daily, causing a gout-like condition

Sources:

  • whole grains and legumes

Other Trace Elements

  • silicon is essential for normal bone growth
  • silicon from horsetail (Equisetum arvense) is far superior to silicon dioxide
  • cobalt forms an essential part of vitamin B12
  • flouride is essential for healthy teeth and bones
  • nickel and arsenic are essential for normal growth
  • tin, germanium, and vanadium are also be essential to the body

Chromium

General Description:

  • biologically active chromium, or glucose tolerance factor (GTF), is not simply chromium, but rather a complex of substances that includes chromium, nicotinic acid and some amino acids
  • chromium picolinate is superior to both chloride and nicotinate (for muscle building effects)

Actions:

  • chromium is essential for normal glucose metabolism, insulin metabolism, and muscle growth
  • the body cannot handle sugar without chromium as it evolved with a sugar source containing chromium ie. the sugar cane
  • chromium, in the form picolinate, increases muscle growth and decreases bodyfat

Deficiency:

  • average daily intake in America is 33 mcg for males and 25 mcg for females
  • RDA 50-200 mcg
  • thus, chromium is one of the most deficient minerals in the American food supply
  • impaired GT is found in diabetes and hypoglycemia, and chromium deficiency is now considered the leading cause of these conditions
  • chromium is rapidly depleted during exercise
  • severe deficiency is rare in the US, but borderline deficiency is common
  • marginal deficiency probably occurs with age, as our bodies tend to store less
  • food choices greatly affect chromium health: white flour, sugar, and rice, along with butter and margarine are low in chromium and often make up the most part of ones diet today

Interactions and Toxicity:

  • trivalent chromium in foods is non-toxic but hexavalent chromium or chromate is highly toxic and a known carcinogen

Sources:

  • brewer’s yeast is one of the richest sources of biologically active chromium
  • GTF is not the biologically active form and must be converted to it in the body
  • rich sources of chromium are brewer’s yeast, whole grain cereals, bran, wheat germ and cheese

Copper

General Description:

  • copper in the blood is bound to a protein called ceruloplasmin
  • Cu is a part of many enzymes including one that produces noradrenaline

Deficiency:

  • levels of ceruloplasmin (a copper-containing enzyme) are used to test for Cu deficiency
  • a rare genetic disease called Menke’s syndrome, is marked by a copper deficiency, but it is failure to absorb copper rather than an inadequate intake to blame

Interactions and Toxicity:

  • kidney disease can impair Cu nutrition
  • high intakes of zinc and vitamin C can impair Cu absorption

Sources:

  • best: oysters and dried yeast
  • good source: nuts, seeds, legumes, and fresh fruits and vegetables
  • poor source: refined sugars, cereals, and milk

Potassium

General Description:

  • K is the main cation inside the cells with a host of important functions

Actions:

  • K interacts with Na and Cl in the conduction of nerve impulses
  • mankind evolved on a high K, low Na diet as most foods naturally occur this way (even those that naturally taste salty are higher in K than Na)
  • food processing today reverses this healthy K:Na ratio and produces foods which are unhealthy
  • beneficial effect on blood pressure and is therefore expected to interact somehow with sodium, the mineral best known for its effect on blood pressure
  • with sodium (Na) outside the cells and potassium (K) inside the cells, the two work together to maintain the body’s water balance
  • K allows for the normal functioning of the nerves and muscles, particularly the heart
  • K also assists in the body processes that synthesize proteins and store carbohydrates

Deficiency:

  • average American intake of K is only 2500 mg.
  • RDA is 3500 mg
  • deficiency is rarely seen but most often happens in those with chronic diarrhea or vomiting, alcoholism, and anorexia nervosa
  • diabetics that progress to the state of ketoacidosis and those with hyperaldosteronism are also at risk of K deficiency
  • excessive loss of K occurs in the sweat of those with cystic fibrosis
  • impaired kidney function as well as the use of diuretics can predispose one to K deficiency
  • a desirable diet should contain Na and K in equal amounts
  • K weighs 1.7 times that of Na (so in weight you would need twice as much K as Na)
  • naturally occurring foods normally have this K:Na ratio needed for good health, however, processing reverses this healthful ratio
  • symptoms of K deficiency include:
  • average K intake in America is estimated at 2800 mg. for men and 2300 mg. for women while the Na intake is estimated at a whopping 4000-6000 mg. (2-3 times the K intake)

Interactions and Toxicity:

  • infants and children should never be given large amounts of potassium chloride

Sources:

  • plant sources are the richest in this mineral
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