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Why does the body require minerals?

  • The body cannot make minerals, so it relies on dietary or supplemental sources.
  • Minerals work with vitamins, enzymes, and hormones to keep the body healthy.
  • Minerals can either work together to enhance their functions or against each other by competing for absorption.
  • Minerals should be consumed in the proper ratio to each other to ensure a healthy balance.
  • The 20 minerals the body requires are divided into two classes: major and trace.
  • Major and trace minerals are both important; a deficiency of either type leads to health problems. 

What are the major minerals?

  • A mineral is classified as “major” if the body contains more than a teaspoon of it.
  • The major minerals are calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur.
  • One of the important functions of calcium is to build strong bones that resist osteoporosis.
  • The body needs magnesium to help convert food into energy and to ensure a steady heartbeat. 

What are the trace minerals?

  • All of the trace minerals together add up to less than a teaspoon in the body.
  • The trace minerals include boron, chromium, cobalt, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, silicon, vanadium, and zinc.
  • Trace minerals affect every body function. For instance, zinc is needed for a strong immune system, chromium helps regulate blood sugar and insulin, and selenium is needed in the antioxidant defense system.
  • Many of the trace minerals, including iron, copper, and selenium, are needed to prevent anemia.
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