Balance is important to all areas of our lives and nutrition, but it is particularly crucial when it comes to minerals and trace minerals.
There are two types of minerals your body needs to stay healthy: major or macrominerals, and trace minerals. As their names suggest, these kinds of minerals are divided by need. Your body needs large amounts of major minerals and only very small amounts of trace minerals for normal function. Major minerals include calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, chloride and sulfur. Trace minerals include iron, copper, zinc, manganese, fluoride, selenium and cobalt.
Keeping minerals in proper balance throughout the body while providing all of them insufficient quantities needed for optimal health is complex. This is further complicated when using a bullet approach based on the latest research that finds specific deficiencies and then supplements the diet with just that particular nutrients.
Within the blood stream, lymphatic fluid, cells and extracellular fluid, minerals and trace minerals can be found completely dissociated into solution, which can also be called electrolyte or ionic form. In this state, they all have specific positive or negative electrical signatures that cause a dynamic equilibrium to take place. The body can use minor changes in this equilibrium to create proper osmotic pressure and move nutrients to the areas that need them most and create electrical impulses that run the entire nervous system.
As you can tell, the dynamic equilibrium of minerals and trace minerals found in sea water is incredibly complex and has worked itself out over millions of years using natural forces which as of yet are not fully understood by scientists.
Minerals and Human Health
A number of factors have been associated with the occurrence of a deficiency of a mineral in humans: deficiency in the soil ; water and plants; mineral imbalances; processing of water or soil; and, inadequate dietary intake.
To understand the concept of " biochemical individuality " we have to get away from the mistaken assumption that every person utilizes and absorbs minerals the same way. The absorption of minerals is dependent on so many different factors, not the least of which is age, adequacy of stomach acid output, balanced bowel flora, lack of intestinal illnesses and parasites, and dietary fiber intake.
For example, all these 8 minerals should be ionic in order to be readily absorbed into the body through transfer in the small intestine (intraluminal absorption). These minerals become ionic after their food-bound forms, whether organically or inorganically bound, have been exposed to hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Hydrochloric acid helps liberate these minerals into ionic " charged " minerals.
Aging increases the risk of gastric atrophy, a condition that commonly is associated with a decreased secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. As the level of hydrochloric acid output decreases, the body's ability to absorb these minerals from their food-bound form diminishes. This inability to adequately absorb these minerals may be one of the causes of age associated degeneration. It is for this reason that careful attention must be given to the form a mineral takes, since the less dependent it is on hydrochloric acid to be absorbed, the more likely it will be able to be utilized by the body.
The important point is that gastric atrophy or conditions such as achlorhydria (lack of stomach acid ) or hypochlorhydria (inadequate stomach acid) can impair the body's absorption of important minerals. Achlorhydria has been found in children as young as 5 or 6 years of age. Hypochlorhydria, however, is more commonly seen after age 35 . It is estimated that between 15% and 35% of adults age 60 have some degree of gastric atrophy, including hypochlorhydria. Finding a source of minerals in ionic form would clearly be of benefit to such individuals.
Let's have a look on Zinc, a mineral found in every fluid, tissue, cell, and organ, in the human body. Inadequate intake of this essential mineral can effect any of over 200 enzymes in the body, such as the enzyme, alkaline phosphatase. In patients with either bulimia nervosa (binge-purging behavior) or anorexia nervosa (self-induced starvation), zinc deficiency can directly affect cognitive and perceptual processes that help maintain these insidious eating disorders. Recently it has been shown that there is an inverse relationship between morbid obesity and Zinc, meaning that the more morbidly obese the individual the lower their zinc status. This suggests that zinc plays an important role in the entire continuum of eating disorders, from obesity to anorexia nervosa. A similar example would be the mineral M agnesium which plays a role in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body, many of which are directly related to cardiovascular health.
Physical illness can substantially increase body demands for many trace elements . The demand for some minerals, such as zinc, even increases under psychological stress. Drug-nutrient interactions can also create deficiencies and imbalances of minerals at the cell level. For example, the absorption of iron from the gut can be affected by antacids and tetracycline . Magnesium and zinc are hyperexcreted by those receiving oral diuretics, nephrotoxic drugs, penicillamine, and antacids containing aluminum hydroxide.
What is an ion?
An ion is a particle (either an atom or a group of atoms) that carries an electrical charge. There are two types of ions: positively "+" charged ions called cations, and negatively "-" charged ions called anions . Examples of important cations in the body include magnesium, sodium, potassium, calcium, and hydrogen . Important anions are bicarbonate, chloride, and phosphate .
Then what is an electrolyte?
Substances that form ions are called electrolytes. Calcium, magnesium, chloride, bicarbonates, potassium, sodium, and hydrogen are all examples of electrolytes .
From the examples above, it is clear that maintaining a balance of cations and anions in the body is essential to our health . For example, the acidity of the blood is dependent on the level of hydrogen cations. To prevent the blood from becoming too acidic, hydrogen cations are neutralized by bicarbonate anions . Should the fluid state within any cell become too acidic, phosphate anions inside the cells will " neutralize " the cations to restore balance. In this way you can see how a natural inorganic magnesium source, such as magnesium chloride, can provide both a cation and an anion vital to maintaining the electrical balance in the fluid and the cells of the body.
For the body to function normally, the level of each ion must be kept in balance within a very narrow range; any significant deviation can result in symptoms.
For many centuries healers gave people who were excited the " sedative salt " boric acid, another compound containing boron. Today it has been scientifically demonstrated that boron is important to brain function, especially in enhancing memory, cognitive function, and hand-eye coordination.
The highest concentrations of boron are found in the drinking water and soil of some of the driest climate areas in the world, such as the red Sear of the middle east, the inland deserts of Australia, or the deserts of the United States and Chile.
Evidence continues to mount that boron may reduce either the symptoms or incidence of Arthritis . Although the connection between arthritis and boron was first discovered sheep and chickens, researchers have found a curious association between the amount of boron in the soil and drinking water, and the incidence of arthritis in a population.
For example, in the most dry/desert areas of the world, the incidence of arthritis tends to be dramatically lower than in the rain-laden areas. Dry areas have been found to have the highest concentrations of boron in the drinking water and soil. This is most interesting since it is well known that boron can get more readily leached out of the soil in wet climates . This is one reason most good farmers and ranchers check for the level of boron in their soil. If boron concentrations are low, they may give their crops or livestock supplemental feed containing this important trace element.
In post-menopausal females who are magnesium deficient, it has been scientifically demonstrated that 3 milligrams of boron a day added to the diet resulted in:
- improvements in both calcium and magnesium retention,
- elevations in circulation serum concentrations of testosterone, and
- elevations in circulating serum concentrations of 17-beta-estradiol (a form of estrogen). Similar improvements can also be seen in Vitamin D deficient post-menopausal females.
Only recently has it been discovered that manganese is vital to human health, hence it is considered by many an essential trace element.
Among many of its most important functions, manganese:
- activates numerous enzymes
- helps in the utilization of thiamin
- helps in the utilization of vitamin E (tocopherol)
- helps in the utilization of iron, and
- increases the level of the antioxidant, superoxide dismutase (SOD)
Too much manganese may cause problems. For example, excessive manganese interferes with iron absorption. (Excessive iron can also interfere with manganese absorption.) It is believed that taking a calcium supplement may interfere with manganese absorption. For this reason, many health practitioners recommend that if manganese supplements is needed, it be taken at a time other than when a calcium supplement is taken.
Recent studies are suggesting that infants under 24 months of age should not consume excessive amounts of manganese in the diet or via infant formula, since it may increase the risk of interfering in the brain’s chemistry, leading to negative behavioral effects.
Yet manganese is vitally important to our health. Insufficient manganese concentrations in the tissue and cells of the body can lead to a variety of problems, including:
- heart disease
- lower levels of the good cholesterol fraction, HDL-cholesterol
- accelerated bone loss
- reduced fertility
- retarded growth in children
- low blood sugar
- middle ear problems, including difficulty maintaining balance
Unrefined whole grains and cereal products are the richest dietary sources of manganese . Unfortunately, the refined of grains has lead to widespread inadequacies in the daily intake of manganese from our diet. Fruits and vegetables to a more limited degree can provide manganese in the diet. Black teas are a rich source of manganese, especially for populations not consuming enough unrefined grains as cereal products.
Trace Mineral Drops is an ionic, electrolyte solution of minerals and trace minerals. Trace Minerals Research has developed a special process of tableting so that our tablets rapidly release the minerals and trace minerals provided by ConcenTrace back into an ionic, electrolyte solution even when placed completely whole into cold water.
Naturally occurring inorganic elements having a characteristic crystalline structure and chemical composition. Minerals or macro-minerals are those minerals which the body requires more than 100 milligrams of per day for proper maintenance of health. Micro or trace minerals are those minerals which the body requires less than 100 milligrams of per day.
- All minerals and trace minerals that are not negatively charged (or anions) are inherently metallic . This does not, however, mean that they are either toxic or non-toxic. For example, magnesium is a metallic element which is an essential nutrient and plays several vital roles in the body
- Metallic elements can be found in solid metal or metallic form such as a gold nugget, a copper penny or bronze, which is a combination of metallic minerals. Metallic elements can be found in the soil in tiny particles in this form but would be non-soluble and fairly difficult to assimilate. Only metallic elements are capable of conducting electricity in solid form.
All metallic minerals are capable of also being in an ionic form and when in an ionic solution, are capable of conducting electricity through the solution . This is essential to human health. Metallic elements are also capable of being in several non-metallic forms.
- All minerals are elemental or elements when looked at and analyzed individually. Therefore, by this definition, all minerals could be referred to as elemental
- A pure mineral which is not balanced with other elements. This is usually accomplished through extensive processing such as extreme heat or electroprocessing. Examples would include magnesium metal, copper metal or tin metal or chlorine gas. There are several problems which make this type of elemental mineral unsuitable for supplementation including the fact that most, if not all, of the minerals in this form would either become such a tightly bound metal that it would be virtually impossible to digest and assimilate or it would be so highly reactive that the mineral would be extremely toxic. Even though several companies are now warning the public of the dangers and difficulties of taking this type of elemental mineral, Trace Minerals Research is not aware of any companies which are actually selling this type of elemental mineral as a dietary supplement.
- Minerals in an ionic solution such as found in ConcenTrace are free flowing and are not bound to the other minerals and trace minerals in the solution and could therefore be referred to as elemental minerals.
The minerals and trace minerals in an ionic solution such as ConcenTrace are, however, balanced and in associations such as ion pairs which keep them from being reactive. For example, the chloride which is found in ConcenTrace is associated with many other minerals and trace minerals and is in the same form which is readily absorbed as one of the most abundant minerals in the body. This is very different from the highly processed and separated chlorine which is very reactive and toxic.