Mineral are primarily inorganic substances, unlike vitamins which are organic substances – carbon-containing compounds.
Minerals are often found in soil and rocks, plants absorb these minerals and animals digest it through their diet.Vitamins have two categories: Fat-soluble vitamins and the water-soluble vitamins. Similarly minerals can be divided into two classifications: the major minerals, which are needed by the body in larger quantities, and the trace minerals, required only in small amounts by the body. It is important to consume an adequate amount of minerals in order to prevent the many mineral deficiency symptoms that are known to exist.
The Need for Minerals by the Body
Some of the minerals that are needed on a daily basis include sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. Such minerals are involved in the daily functioning of the cells in the body.
Excessive intake of minerals can harm the body, for example consuming too much calcium can cause vomiting, loss of appetite, nausea, kidney toxicity, increased urination, and irregular heart rhythm. When there is too much magnesium in the blood, this can lead to difficulty in breathing and to serious heart problems. It is vitally important to have a daily intake of proper amount of minerals in order for the body to function at its best.
Without minerals, the body would not be able to conduct its basic functioning such as building new tissues, processing nerve reactions, blood clotting, contracting muscles, regulating body processes, releasing energy from food, and keeping the body pH neutral.
Mineral Deficiency Symptoms
It is essential to have a daily intake of dietary mineral in order to maintain physical health and to prevent common mineral deficiency symptoms .
Calcium deficiency can cause an abnormal low level of calcium in the blood, a condition known as hypocalcaemia, and can also cause osteoporosis.
Copper deficiency can cause impaired immunity, failure to thrive in babies, anemia, bone marrow changes and altered iron metabolism.
Severe deficiency of magnesium can lead to having low levels of calcium in the blood.
Iodine deficiency symptoms include being the main cause of goiter, which is a swelling of the thyroid gland found in the neck, as well as poor fetal growth.
Poor amounts of selenium in the body can result to increased susceptibility to illnesses and having poor immune system. It was also found to be liked with heart diseases and increased risk of cancer.
Phosphorus deficiency symptoms arise to hypophosphatemia, a condition with severely low phosphate level.
References and further reading
Mineral Information; Oregon State University; UC Davis.