Trace minerals are a category of nutrients that are commonly overlooked but very important to our health. One of most important roles of trace elements is as an electrolyte. Our bodies are bioelectric. Each cell acts as a tiny battery with its own electrical force powered by electrolyte minerals.
Trace minerals, along with macro minerals, assist in every aspect of life from the production of hormones and energy, digestion, nerve transmission, and muscle contraction to the regulation of pH, metabolism, cholesterol and blood sugar.
Essential trace minerals include boron, chromium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, selenium, silicon, sulfur, tin, vanadium and zinc.
Our bodies like to maintain health by keeping a homeostatic balance of minerals. Many things we do will cause our bodies to go out of balance and try to self-correct. Minor aches, pains, anxiety, sleeplessness and the manifestations of degenerative disease are simply the body’s way of telling us that something is out of balance.
Simple problems such as muscle cramps and spasms have their origin in mineral deficiency. Even serious age-related disorders are linked to electrolyte deficiency. Electrolyte minerals are catalysts for healing.
Many substances in our day to day diet deplete our mineral stores. The type of food we choose either nourishes us or literally robs us of minerals. Coffee, tea, sodas, alcohol, refined grains and sugar deplete minerals. Stress is another cause of mineral depletion.
Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are the examples of long term mineral imbalances and free radical damage. They are the manifestation of an acid condition in the body and develop because minerals are out of balance in the blood stream.
Many people take calcium to correct osteoporosis. However, calcium without magnesium and essential trace minerals such as boron, silica and zinc is useless – even harmful, causing further mineral imbalance. There are many good trace mineral supplements. Good sources of trace minerals are plant sources such as alfalfa, kelp, red raspberry, and the family of super green foods such as spirulina, blue green algae, and chlorella. I like to recommend herbs because they are easily assimilated and they contain essential trace minerals among other nutrients.
Another trace mineral I like to recommend is Terratol – which is humate, a mineral source that is plant based and easily absorbable. It contains humic and fulvic acid. Humates oxygenate the blood, help chelate heavy metals, and have some anti-viral properties.
When using nutritional supplements to make up for deficiencies in the diet, it is important to include something rich in trace minerals. Many multivitamins today include trace minerals from good sources.
Form is important. I prefer plant based supplements as opposed to ground up rocks, which cannot be utilized by the body and will result in further imbalances if used over the long term.
Margaret Durst owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas. www.naturalcowgirl.wordpress.com