Even though essential minerals are labeled as such because they are essential to maintaining the bodies health, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the taking of nutritional mineral supplements. One side of the argument is that the taking of mineral supplements is acceptable for those people that do not pursue a nutritionally balanced diet. On the other side of the fence are those who strongly believe that mineral supplements should only be available through prescription as with so many other 'drugs'
Why we need Essential Minerals
Essential minerals are labeled as such because they are essential to maintaining human health. The major minerals and the trace minerals help the body perform many important bodily functions.
- Calcium and magnesium both help build strong bones and teeth.
- Iron is needed to produce red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. Other minerals are needed to assist with the production of hormones, proteins and amino acids.
- The hair, fingernails, nerves, skin, muscles and all the major organs count on these essential minerals to help them do their jobs.
Unlike vitamins, many of which are water soluble meaning that excessive amounts and those amounts not used are easily and regularly eliminated from the body via the urine or sweat, there are real dangers associated with consuming excessive amounts of some minerals. Those individuals who regularly consume a diet that is full of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, lean meats, 'good' fats and low-fat dairy products usually get the recommended daily allowances of most vitamins and minerals and don't need supplements.
However, many people don't eat that way. Eating fast food, no food, restaurant food, and high-fat snack food is the norm rather than the exception for these folks. Vegetarians may also need to rely on mineral supplements for their mineral needs. By restricting meat and sometimes dairy from their diets, their bodies may be severely lacking.
In these cases, it may make sense to take a mineral supplement. Before doing so, take time to first speak with your medical provider. Talk about your typical diet, any known medical conditions and any prescriptions you are currently taking. After that, you will both be able to make a more informed decision about mineral supplements. Should the decision to proceed be made, keep the following in mind:
- Select your mineral supplements with care.
- Go with a name brand you trust or that you are familiar with.
- Price should not be the main consideration.
- It is okay to purchase online, but research your source first.
- For the most benefit, look for a supplement that contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
- Be sure to take only as required. Taking more than has been instructed will not double or triple your benefits. In fact, the opposite may happen. Excessive amounts of some minerals can have toxic effects.
Most importantly, do not rely on vitamin or mineral supplements to provide your body with the nutrients it needs.
Make time to get nutritional foods into your diet. Snack on fruits rather than chips. Consume red meat and dairy in moderation. Add a vegetable to each meal. Something as simple as a side salad (using leafy green lettuce) will make a huge difference.
Remember that vitamin and mineral supplements are what they say they are - supplements!