Minerals and Elements
Mineral nutrients (or dietary minerals) are the chemical elements present in all body tissues and fluids that are necessary for the maintenance of certain physicochemical processes essential to life. The human body requires minerals to convert food into energy, prevent dehydration, and regulate the functions of cardiovascular, skeletal, muscular, and nervous system.
Minerals may be broadly classified as macrominerals (such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, sulfur and chloride), microminerals or trace minerals (such as iron, copper, cobalt, iodine, zinc, molybdenum, fluoride, selenium) and ultra trace elements (such as boron, chromium, arsenic, silicon, and nickel).
Macro-minerals are needed for proper fluid balance, nerve transmission, and muscle contraction. They prevent blood clotting, regulate blood pressure, and interfere in protein metabolism. They also ensure the health of teeth, bones, and connective tissue.
Trace minerals are essential for growth and development because they are involved in oxygen transport and other metabolic functions.
Our bodies cannot produce minerals, so they must be obtained through food or supplementation. Too much or too little of any mineral can pose significant harm to the body. Severe deficiencies in any of the inorganic nutrients can result to very specific symptoms and may put life at risk due to the functional failures.
The most common disorders caused by mineral deficiencies are: hypocalcaemia and osteoporosis (calcium deficiency), low calcium in blood (severe magnesium deficiency), anaemia (iron deficiency), poor immune system and increased susceptibility to illness (poor selenium status), hypophosphatemia (low phosphorus levels).
Conversely, consuming too much dietary minerals can also be harmful. Too much calcium in the blood may cause vomiting, loss of appetite, increased urination, kidney toxicity, and irregular heart rhythm. High levels of magnesium in the blood can lead to heart problems or difficulty in breathing. Copper poisoning causes vomiting and diarrhea.
The mineral content of the body may be measured by testing samples of whole blood and urine. MetaMetrics offers a comprehensive range of diagnostic tests to measure mineral deficiency. View our test list for more information.