Minerals

MINERALS

Minerals participate in all biochemical processes and have important role in growth and development of the human organism. They should be consumed regularly through food, water and dietary supplements since human body cannot produce them.

Physiological functions: Minerals play key roles in the body’s skeletal structures (bones, teeth, blood) and account for about 4-5% (2.8-3.5 kg) of body weight. Minerals are also necessary for the synthesis of enzymes, hormones, haemoglobin, and absorption of vitamins. The most important minerals are calcium (Ca) potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na), zinc (Z) and iodine (I).

Food rich in mineral substances: Minerals are found in food of plant and animals origin, in different quantities. The content and quantity of minerals in plants is affected by geochemical conditions and soil. Animals are often better sources of minerals (Fe, Zn, Ca).

 

 


Phosphorus (P)

Food rich in phosphorus are hard, dried-out cheese, red meat, poultry, fish, egg yolk, milk and milk products, beans and lentils, etc.

Physiological role of phosphorus: The mineral is structural component of bones and teeth, participate in absorption of glucose and glycerol (from fat), in transportation of fatty acids, etc. It is part of phospholipids (fat molecule), nucleic acids, and phosphoproteins; and supports the energy metabolism (the way body uses and store it).

It makes 0.8-1.1% of the total body weight!

Phosphorus deficiency is rare but may develop in some conditions like alcoholism and diabetes. Symptoms are rickets in children, delayed teeth growth and in adults stiff joint, bone pain, weakness, irregular breathing, etc.

Phosphorus toxicity: may occur due to increased retention of the mineral in the body in people with kidney problems and vascular occlusion, and contribute to further biochemical imbalance.

Phosphorus (P) drug interactions:

  • Antacids based on aluminium hydroxide interfere with the absorption of phosphorus, building aluminium phosphate.

Phytic and oxalic acid and dietary fibre reduce the absorption of phosphorus.


Magnesium (Mg)

Food rich in magnesium:Almonds, peanuts and peanuts butter, soybeans, spinach, potato, cocoa, peas, etc.

Physiological roles of magnesium:The mineral participates in theformation of tissue, metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates; together with calcium regulates muscle cells contractility.

Magnesium deficiency: It may develop in patients with ischemic heart disease and alcoholics.

Too much magnesium:Hypermagnesemia is rare except in patients with kidney failure.

Magnesium interaction with drugs:

  • Medication for muscle relaxation during surgical interventions and oral anticoagulants and diuretics reduce the level of magnesium in the body.
  • Concomitant administration of magnesium and drugs such as tetracycline and quinolones bisphosphonates reduce the absorption of drugs.
  • Foods rich in dietary fibres, phytatesand oxalates can lead to decreased absorption of magnesium.

Concomitant administration of magnesium and iron or manganese can reduce the absorption rate of these two elements (competitive inhibition).


Selenium (Se)

Food rich in selenium: Mixed nuts, wheat germ, bran, seafood (tuna, shrimps, sardines), chicken, red meat (offal), etc.

Physiological functions of selenium: It is important for the synthesis of thyroid hormones and in protecting tissues from free radicals together with vitamin E, and many more.

Selenium deficiency:Keshan disease (potentially fatal form of cardiomyopathy).

Multiple vitamin overdose (supplements) can rich toxic levels and cause coma or even death!

Selenium drug interactions:

  • Corticosteroids reduce level of selenium in blood.
  • Some chemotherapy drugs lower selenium in blood.
  • Selenium interferes with effects of barbiturates and anticoagulants

 


Iron (Fe)

Food rich in iron: Variety of foods of plant and animal origin such as red meat (liver, beef) seafood, poultry, egg yolks, beans, red pepper, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes and lentils as well as fortified cereals.

Physiological functions of Fe: The vitamin has an important role in oxygen transfer from lungs to tissues and cells (about 60%-70% of the total amount of iron in the body is found in haemoglobin, the red blood cells). In addition, Fe is essential for the functioning of a large number of enzymes participating in energy metabolism. Iron is classified as a trace mineral because of its small quantity in human body.

Iron deficiency: Widespread in general population including children, pregnant women, etc. Every fourth person has this type of nutritional deficiency, which is a leading cause of anaemia. Symptoms are dizziness, fatigue, slower motor function, glossitis, and many others. Some diseases (such as gastrointestinal ulcers and colon tumour) may also be related to iron deficiency.

Too much iron in blood: Although rare because of dietary reasons, Fe overload can cause liver damage, heart failure, hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus, and other serious conditions.

Overdose with supplement (Iron pills) may cause serious medical complications even coma and death!

 Interactions with drugs:

  • Antacids hinder the absorption of iron.
  • Concomitant administration of tetracycline antibiotics and iron reduce drug and Iron absorption.
  • Iron may have adverse effects on level of copper in the body.
  • Concomitant administration of iron and non-esterified vitamin E can oxidise vitamin E.
  • Synergistic effect: Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and sulphuric acid enhance the absorption of Iron.

No evidence of possible harmful quantities due to regular consumption: Chromium

Food rich in chromium:  Tomatoes, beans, broccoli, mushrooms, bread, brewer’s yeast, egg yolk, lean meat, beef (liver), cheese, grape juice, apple, oranges, etc.

Physiological functionsof chromium: The nutrient supports functioning of insulin in the body, i.e. regulates level of sugar in blood.

Chrome deficiency: Lack of chromium can cause hyperglycaemia,glucose intolerance and obesity. Also, without enough chromium, sugar is converted into fat (increasing levels of cholesterol and triglycerides).

Too much chromium: Possible overdose with chromium supplements due to long-term use can cause renal and liver failure.

Chromium drug interactions:

  • Chromium supplementation can have adverse affect and interfere with antiplatelet drugs, antacids, beta-blockers or anti-inflammatory

Chromium may lower levels of sugar in blood, i.e. the amount of diabetes medication such as Glucophage, DiaBeta (Glibenclamide), etc.


Potassium (K) & Sodium (Na)

Food rich in potassium: Green vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, fruit (banana), rice, cereals, etc. Almost all food, except olive oils, contains potassium.

Physiological functions of K:The mineral regulates muscle activity together with sodium and calcium, and has important role in transmitting nerve impulses, maintaining acid-base balance. It also and participates in metabolism of carbohydrates (glycogen deposition), as well as in the synthesis of proteins.

Potassium deficiency: Rare in health individuals since almost all food contain potassium.

Too much potassium in blood: Can be harmful in certain conditions such as renal and heart failure.

Potassium drug interactions:

  • ACE (Monopril, Vasotec, etc.) inhibitors may increase level of potassium in blood.
  • Anticoagulant drug Heparin can raise the level of potassium in blood.

Some diuretics may decrease the level of potassium in blood.

Food rich in sodium: Table salt, all processed foods, artichoke, asparagus, additives, and other.

Physiological functions of sodium: The mineral is important in maintaining water and acid-base balance in the body, keeping permeability of cell walls, etc. Together with potassium (K) it participates in the transmission of impulses through nervous system.

1/3 of Sodium is incorporated in the skeleton and 2/3 in the extracellular fluid!

Sodium deficiency: Symptoms may include weakness, nausea, and exhaustion. It may develop as a result of rapid fluid loss, and can be compensated with intravenous fluids (electrolytes) to prevent more serious conditions.

Too much sodium in blood: Harmful for cardiovascular system and kidneys. Daily servings of salt should be around ¼ teaspoon (570 mg of Na) to ½ of teaspoon (1100 mg of Na) for healthy individuals.

Cutting down an excessive salt intake will significantly reduce high blood pressure.

Sodium drug interactions:

Both very high and very low sodium intake interfere with Lithium and Tolvaptan.


Calcium (Ca)

Food reach in calcium: The main sources of calcium are milk and dairy products such as cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt (about 150 mg of calcium in 120 ml). High in calcium are also leafy green vegetables (spinach), dark green vegetables; nuts, bread and cereals  (200 mg daily) egg yolk, etc. Some cereals, soy products and fruit juices are fortified with up to 1000 mg of calcium per serving.

Physiological role of Ca: Calcium makes 1.5-2% of the total body weight. It has an important role in formation of bones and teeth, blood coagulation, muscle contraction and relaxation, transmitting nerve impulses, permeability of cell walls, activation of some enzymes, etc.

Calcium deficiency may develop due to low intake and/or poor absorption and can cause rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults (bone pain, fracture, osteoporosis).

Too much calcium in blood (hypercalcemia) may cause: Hyperthyroidism, primary hyperparathyroidism, tuberculosis, acute kidney disease, benign breast dysplasia and many others.

Calcium drug interactions:

  • Drugs that adversely affect the absorption of vitamin D activity reduce the level of calcium in organism.
  • Barbiturates diminish activity of vitamin D, and cholestyramine reduces vitamin D absorption.
  • Tetracycline, H2 receptor blockers and proton pump inhibitors reduce the absorption of calcium in supplements.
  • Concomitant administration of calcium and certain drugs (bisphosphonates and quinolones) reduce the absorption of the drugs in organism.

Phytic and oxalic acid, and dietary fibres reduce the absorption of calcium.


Copper (Cu)

Food rich in cooper: Wholemeal cereals, bran, nuts, fruits, fish, chocolate, coffee, tea, etc. Cooper from meat is better absorbed than cooper in vegetables, and from human milk rather than cow’s milk.

Physiological functions of Cu in the body: The nutrient is essential for endocrine functions, growth, cardiovascular functions, metabolism of iron bone and connective tissues, and many more.

Copper deficiency: Uncommon, but can cause some haematological disorders such as hypochromic microcytic anaemia and neutropenia and other neurological manifestations.

Too much copperfrom dietary or due to environmental exposure can causeacne, anaemia, hair loss, depression, arthritis, etc.

Copper drug interactions:

Contraceptive pills, Cimetidine, medication used for treatment of ulcers, Allopurinol, for gout treatment, interferes with copper and may increase the level of copper in blood. Consult your health provider in case of concomitant intake of drugs and dietary supplements.


Fluoride

 


Iodine (I)

Food rich in Iodine:Fruit, Diary products, seafood, fish and algae, tuna, eggs, strawberries, cranberries, various iodised salts.

Physiological functionsof iodine: The mineral is structural component of the thyroid hormones thyroxin and T3, which regulate body’s metabolic rate. It is responsible for the conversion of food into energy in the body, and the way body uses the energy.

Iodine deficiency: Lack of this nutrientcan cause serious medical conditions such as goitre, hypothyroidism (due to reduced synthesis of thyroid hormone), cretinism (lack of iodine during pregnancy), and other severe intellectual and mental disorders.

Too much iodine: Excess intake of iodine can cause hyperthyroidism.

Iodine drug interactions:

Iodine is contraindicated with antiplatelet drugs (warfarin), antithyroid drugs and lithium.


Magnesium (Mg)

Food rich in magnesium:Almonds, peanuts and peanuts butter, soybeans, spinach, potato, cocoa, peas, etc.

Physiological roles of magnesium:The mineral participates in theformation of tissue, metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates; together with calcium regulates muscle cells contractility.

Magnesium deficiency: It may develop in patients with ischemic heart disease and alcoholics.

Too much magnesium:Hypermagnesemia is rare except in patients with kidney failure.

Magnesium interaction with drugs:

  • Medication for muscle relaxation during surgical interventions and oral anticoagulants and diuretics reduce the level of magnesium in the body.
  • Concomitant administration of magnesium and drugs such as tetracycline and quinolones bisphosphonates reduce the absorption of drugs.
  • Foods rich in dietary fibres, phytatesand oxalates can lead to decreased absorption of magnesium.

Concomitant administration of magnesium and iron or manganese can reduce the absorption rate of these two elements (competitive inhibition).


Zinc (Zn)

Food rich in zinc: Variety of food of plant and animal origin seafood (oysters), red meat (liver), eggs, diary products, whole grain cereals, nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin, etc.

Physiological functions of zinc: This essential element is structural component of over 70 different enzyme systems in the body. It has an essential role in the synthesis of DNA and RNA. It is necessary for growth, division and maturation of cells. Zink is important for bone formation and activation of vitamin A (crucial for the vision process).

Zinc deficiency: frequently seen in diabetics, alcoholics, and vegetarians. The symptoms may vary from diarrhoea, lack of appetite, hair loss to impaired immune system, atrial fibrillation, mental confusion and many others severe conditions.

Zinc drug interactions:

  • Concomitant administration of zinc and medications such as tetracycline,bisphosphonates, penicillamine and quinolones, reduce the absorption of the medications and zinc.
  • Foods rich in dietary fibre,phytates and oxalates can decrease absorption of zinc.
  • Concomitant administration of zinc and iron can reduce the level of absorption of both elements.
  • Concomitant administration of zinc and copper can reduce the absorption of copper.
  • Concomitant administration of zinc and potassium can reduce the absorption of zinc.
  • Coffee and tea (caffeine) can reduce the absorption of zinc.

Synergistic effect: zinc and sulphur amino acids improve the absorption of zinc.

Potential Toxicity Of Minerals

Low health risk even in larger quantities:

Phosphorus

Magnesium

Selenium

Iron

Potentially toxic if exceeding the recommended intake:

Potassium & Sodium

Calcium

Copper

Fluoride

Iodine

Iron

Manganese

Zinc

No evidence of possible harmful quantities due to regular consumption: Chromium