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Minerals: the ins and outs

Speak to any gardener or farmer and they will tell you that the success of their plants depends on the nutrient levels of the soil.  This is also true when it comes to our body which will only thrive if all nutrients are available.  These nutrients include minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids (good fats), complex carbohydrates, protein and clean water.  Today I’d like to explain more about the importance of minerals – how these respond to each other and factors that may help or block their actions.

Some minerals are more well-known than others:  Magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc head a long list, while others like selenium, copper, manganese and molybdenum may not be so well-know.   In addition, there are hundreds of trace-elements that are also required all-be-it in very small quantities.

While there may be a lot of products on shelves that provide minerals like magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron, there seems to be very little information regarding how minerals respond to each other or how they get to where they are needed in your body.

Minerals come in a variety of forms – they are bound to other elements which will influence how they are absorbed and where, or how well, they will be used within the body.  Some of these combinations may be oxide, sulphate, amino acid chelate, orotate, carbonate, glycinate or citrate.  A qualified Naturopath or Nutritionist is able to identify which type of mineral is best suited to your needs.

Not only is the form of a mineral important, but also the relationship minerals have with each other.  Some work well together, while others block each other’s actions.  Dose is also highly important. 

Calcium is another mineral that has become the subject of a lot of mis-information and misperceptions about it being ‘the boss of bones’.  When reviewing research and newest evidence, the recommendation to supplement  with large doses of calcium, not only lacks strong evidence but may cause harm to some. 

Zinc, taken at high levels, blocks the absorption of magnesium. However, low dosages of zinc seem to aid absorption. Further, having too much magnesium alone in one dose will decrease its absorption. 

Zinc, Iron and Copper can, when taken together and in the same format, block each other.

There are foods, which are high in phytates and oxalates, that can hinder magnesium absorption. However, other constituents of our food can enhance magnesium absorption like protein, medium-chain-triglycerides, resistant starch, oligosaccharides and inulin. 

Let’s not forget what’s going on in your body – like overall mineral levels in the body, age (absorption decreases with age), intestinal issues (Irritable Bowel Disease, Crohn’s Disease), hormones and other signalling molecules that effect the transporters, as well as other health states. 

So with all this complexity what is my recommendation?  Always consult a qualified Naturopath first.  These tips may also help:

  1. Eat a balanced, whole-foods diet, rich in fresh vegetables and fruit.
  2. If you need to supplement, split dosages throughout the day.  
  3. Most importantly don’t eat something that is high in phytates and oxalates at the same time you are taking mineral supplements. Give it an hour or two. 
  4. Caffeine can also affect mineral absorption.
  5. Take quality products – your qualified practitioner will be able to recommend the best for you.

Arrange a consultation by phoning True Medicine on 07 5530 1863 today.