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Types of Minerals and Its Characteristics


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    Types of Minerals and Its Characteristics

    Minerals are natural compounds formed through geological processes. Minerals are needed by the body in small amounts to help it function properly and stay strong. Iron, calcium, potassium, and sodium are some of essential minerals. Humans need small amounts of about 14 minerals to maintain normal body function and good health.

    The 14 minerals that have been shown by research to be essential to human health are:
    Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, and Sulfur, Iron, Manganese, Copper, Iodine, Zinc, Fluoride, and Selenium.

    These 14 essential minerals are crucial to the growth and production of bones, teeth, hair, blood, nerves, skin, vitamins, enzymes and hormones; and the healthy functioning of nerve transmission, blood circulation, fluid regulation, cellular integrity, energy production and muscle contraction.

    Minerals are neither animal nor vegetable; they are inorganic. Almost all foods contribute to a varied intake of essential minerals. Most minerals are easy to obtain in quantities required by the body. The study of minerals is called mineralogy.

    Types of Minerals
    There are two types of minerals: Macro minerals and Trace minerals.

    1. Macro Minerals Macro means "large" in Greek are dietary minerals needed by the human body in high quantities. The macro mineral group is made up of Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, and Sulfur.
    2. Micro / Trace Minerals Micro minerals, also known as trace elements are micronutrients that are chemical elements. A trace of something means that there is only a little of it. So, even though your body needs mineral each day in small amounts for good health. Scientists aren't even sure how much of these minerals you need each day. Trace minerals includes Iron, Manganese, Copper, Iodine, Zinc, Fluoride, and Selenium.

    Why we need Minerals
    We need the minerals for all the chemical processes that go on inside us! If you have ever walked around at very high altitudes (where there is less oxygen in the atmosphere) you will know how breathless you can get. We get Iron from some green vegetables, liver, beef &lots of other sources. It is best eaten from different foods -some don't let us absorb it quite so easily by just eating those foods.

    Nutritionists are very careful when they say that a nutrient is essential in the human diet. This is particularly true when it comes to minerals, because some minerals taken in high concentrations can be toxic. We can't make minerals in our body; we must ingest them either in our food, our drinking water or in supplements. Most minerals are required in very minute amounts, and proving that a trace mineral is essential for health is a very difficult task.

    Everyone at every age needs minerals. A major exception is iron for children under age 4 and adolescent girls and women in the childbearing years. These groups need more iron than a normal diet may provide. Iron is also essential for our blood to be able to carry oxygen round the body - and without oxygen our muscles can't work properly. Iron, for example, found in lean meats, nuts, dried beans, whole grains, and leafy, green vegetables, is necessary for making red blood cells. If a person is deficient in iron, poor digestion or anemia could result.

    Nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron and zinc that perform important jobs in the body - building bones and teeth, transporting oxygen from the lungs to tissues and regulating metabolism.

    Iodine deficiency leads to goitre, but is less common in industrialized nations due to the addition of iodine to table salt. The body needs calcium for bones and other purposes. Calcium deficiency or at least an inadequate intake of calcium can be implicated in osteoporosis and other diseases.

    This mineral builds bones and teeth, and it is necessary for blood clotting. The best sources are milk and hard cheese. Others are leafy greens, nuts, and small fishes such as sardines with bones that can be eaten.

    Phosphorus works with calcium to make strong bones and teeth. A diet that furnishes enough protein and calcium also provides enough phosphorus. Other important minerals are sodium, potassium, iodine, magnesium, zinc, and copper.


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    Re: Types of Minerals - Calcium

    Calcium
    Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body and has several important functions. Calcium is the top macro mineral when it comes to your bones. This mineral helps build strong bones, so you can do everything from standing up straight to scoring that winning goal. Calcium is a primary structural constituent of the skeleton, but it is also widely distributed in soft tissue where it is involved in neuromuscular, enzymatic, hormonal, and other metabolic activity.

    Calcium absorption is dependent upon the calcium needs of the body, the foods eaten, and the amount of calcium in the foods eaten. Vitamin D from diet or exposure to the ultraviolet light of the sun increases calcium absorption. Calcium absorption tends to decrease with increased age for both men and women. More than 99% of total body calcium is stored in the bones and teeth where it functions to support their structure. The remaining 1% is found throughout the body in blood, muscle, and the fluid between cells. Because of its biological importance, calcium levels are carefully controlled in various compartments of the body. The three major regulators of blood calcium are parathyroid hormone (PTH), vitamin D, and calcitonin.
    Calcium Stats
    Atomic Number
    : 20 Atomic Radius : 197.3 pm
    Atomic Symbol : Ca Melting Point : 842 0C
    Atomic Weight : 40.08 Boiling Point : 1484 0C
    Electron Configuration : [Ar]4s2 Oxidation States : 2

    Functionality of calcium:
    It helps in building of strong bones, healthy teeth, for chomping on tasty food. Because the body cannot manufacture calcium, you must eat calcium in your daily diet to replace the amounts that are constantly lost. Calcium is also used in muscle contraction, blood clotting, and maintenance of cell membranes. Long-term calcium deficiency can lead to osteoporosis, in which the bone deteriorates and there is an increased risk of fractures. Calcium has also been found to assist in the production of lymphatic fluids. Just 1% of the total body pool of calcium is utilized to support nerve transmission, muscle contraction (including normal heart rhythm), blood clotting, and regulation of enzyme and hormone activities. Membrane calcium transport systems are involved in regulation of cellular osmolarity and peripheral vascular resistance. Additionally, this mineral assists in transport of nutrients and other substances across cell membranes and is required for binding of intrinsic factor to ilea receptors for absorption of vitamin B12.

    Deficiency Diseases of calcium: Arthritis, High Blood Pressure, Osteoporosis

    Overdose Disease of calcium: Constipation and lack of appetite


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    Re: Types of Minerals - Calcium

    Deficiency Symptoms of calcium:
    Because bone stores of calcium can be used to maintain adequate blood calcium levels, short-term dietary deficiency of calcium generally does not result in significantly low blood calcium levels. But, over the long term, dietary deficiency eventually depletes bone stores, rendering the bones weak and prone to fracture.

    The symptoms of calcium deficiency are:


    • Bowlegs, Pigeon Breast, and Knock-knees of children
    • Cramp pains in legs
    • Delay in sitting up, Crawling and Walking of babies
    • Heart becomes irregular
    • Nerves become extremely irritable
    • Poor sleep disorder
    • Weakness in the bones

    Rich Sources of calcium:
    • Dairy Products, such as Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt
    • Canned Salmon and Sardines with Bones
    • Leafy Green Vegetables, such as Broccoli, Spinach
    • Calcium-Fortified foods - from Orange juice to Cereals and Crackers
    • Ice Cream, Kale, Oysters, Ricotta

    Individuals two years and older should eat 2-3 servings of dairy products per day. A serving is equal to:


      • 1 cup (8 fl oz) of milk
      • 8 oz of yogurt
      • 1.5 oz of natural cheese
      • 2.0 oz of processed cheese


    Although dairy products are the main source of calcium in the diet, other foods also contribute to overall calcium intake. A person may have to eat several servings of certain foods such as spinach to obtain the same amount of calcium in one cup of milk, which is not only calcium-rich but also contains calcium in an easily absorbable form.

    Calcium is Important for:

    • Formation of bones and teeth
    • Coagulation of blood
    • Contraction of muscles, Cardiac action, Milk production
    • Transformation of light to electrical impulses in the retina
    • Young mothers during pregnancy and the nursing period
    • Children and young people for rapid growth of bones

    Best Suitable Composition:
    Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D, Phosphorus, Soy-based foods and Fluoride compose the major nutrients that strengthen bone. A deficiency of any of these may produce a serious disturbance in the framework of the body.


    Applications or Uses of Calcium:

    Some of the applications or uses of calcium are as follows:

    • Calcium is used in the extraction of other metals, such as uranium, zirconium, and thorium as a reducing agent:
    • Calcium is used for various ferrous and nonferrous alloys as a deoxidizer, desulfurizer, or decarbonizer.
    • Calcium is used in the production of aluminium, beryllium, copper, lead, and magnesium alloys as an alloying agent
    • Calcium is also used in the making of cements and mortars to be used in construction.



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    Re: Types of Minerals - Calcium

    How to retain calcium in healthy food?

    Calcium is lost in cooking some foods even under the best conditions. To retain calcium:

    • Cook foods in a minimal amount of water.
    • Cook for the shortest possible time.
    • Some foods, such as orange juice, bread, and ready-to-eat cereals, are not normally good sources of calcium but may have had calcium added. Most instant-prepared cereals are fortified with calcium.
    • The serving sizes used on the list of good sources is only estimates of the amounts of food you might eat. The amount of nutrient in a serving depends on the weight of the serving. For example, a cup of a cooked vegetable contains more calcium than a cup of the same vegetable served raw, because a serving of the cooked vegetable weighs more. Therefore, the cooked vegetable may appear on the list while the raw form does not.
    • Use low fat or fat free milk instead of water in recipes such as pancakes, mashed potatoes, pudding and instant, hot breakfast cereals.
    • Blend a fruit smoothie made with low fat or fat free yogurt for a great breakfast.
    • Sprinkle grated low fat or fat free cheese on salad, soup or pasta.
    • Choose low fat or fat free milk instead of carbonated soft drinks.
    • Serve raw fruits and vegetables with a low fat or fat free yogurt based dip.
    • Create a vegetable stir-fry and toss in diced calcium-set tofu.
    • Enjoy a parfait with fruit and low fat or fat free yogurt.
    • Complement your diet with calcium-fortified foods such as certain cereals, orange juice and soy beverages.

    Recommended Daily Intake:
    The Recommended Daily Intakes (RDI) for calcium is shown in the table given below:

    Calcium Requirements
    Life Stage Calcium mg/day
    Infants
    0-6 months 210
    7-12 months 270
    Children
    1-3 years 500
    4-8 years 800
    Males
    9-13 years 1300
    14-18 years 1300
    19-30 years 1000
    31-50 years 1000
    51-70 years 1200
    >70 years 1200
    Females
    9-13 years 1300
    14-18 years 1300
    19-30 years 1000
    31-50 years 1000
    51-70 years 1200
    >70 years 1200
    Pregnancy
    < 18 years 1300
    19-30 years 1000
    31-50 years 1000
    Lactation
    < 18 years 1300
    19-30 years 1000
    31-50 years 1000
    Calcium is one of the most important macronutrients for the body's growth and function. Sufficient amounts are important in preventing many diseases. Calcium levels are tightly controlled by a complex interaction of hormones and vitamins. Dietary requirements vary throughout life and are greatest during periods of growth and pregnancy. However, recent reports suggest that many people do not get sufficient amounts of calcium in their diet. Various calcium supplements are available when dietary intake is inadequate.


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    Re: Types of Minerals - Calcium

    Who needs extra calcium to prevent a deficiency?

    • Menopausal WomanMenopausal Woman often leads to increases in bone loss with the most rapid rates of bone loss occurring during the first five years after menopause. Drop in estrogen production after menopause result in increased bone resorption, and decreased calcium absorption.
      Estrogen therapy works to restore postmenopausal bone remodeling levels back to those of pre-menopause, leading to a lower rate of bone loss. Estrogen appears to interact with supplemental calcium by increasing calcium absorption in the gut. However, including adequate amounts of calcium in the diet may help slow the rate of bone loss for all women.
    • Amenorrheic Women and the Female Athlete Triad Amenorrhea is the condition when menstrual periods stop or fail to initiate in women who are of childbearing age. Secondary amenorrhea is the absence of three or more consecutive menstrual cycles after menarche occurs (first menstrual period). The secondary type of amenorrhea can be induced by exercise in athletes and is referred to as "athletic amenorrhea". Potential causes of athletic amenorrhea include low body weight and low percent body fat, rapid weight loss, sudden onset of vigorous exercise, disordered eating and stress.
      The condition "female athlete triad" refers to the combination of disordered eating, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis. Exercise-induced amenorrhea has been shown to result in decreases in bone mass. In female athletes, low bone mineral density, menstrual irregularities, dietary factors, and a history of prior stress fractures are associated with an increased risk of future stress fractures. Thus, it is important for amenorrheic women to maintain the recommended Adequate Intake for calcium.
    • Lactose Intolerant Individuals Lactose mal-digestion (or "lactase non-persistence") describes the inability of an individual to completely digest lactose, the naturally occurring sugar in milk. Lactose intolerance refers to the symptoms that occur when the amount of lactose exceeds the ability of an individual's digestive tract to break down lactose.
      Symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea after consuming large amounts of lactose (such as the amount in 1 quart of milk). Lactose maldigesters may be at risk for calcium deficiency, not due to an inability to absorb calcium, but rather from the avoidance of dairy products. Symptoms of lactose intolerance vary from individual to individual depending on the amount of lactose consumed, history of previous consumption of foods with lactose and the type of meal with which the lactose is consumed. Drinking milk with a meal helps reduce symptoms of lactose intolerance substantially.
    • Vegetarians There are several types of vegetarian eating practices. Individuals may choose to include some animal products or no animal products in their diet. Calcium absorption may be reduced in vegetarians because they eat more plant foods containing oxalic and phytic acids, compounds which interfere with calcium absorption. However, vegetarian diets that contain less protein may reduce calcium excretion. Yet, vegans may be at increased risk for inadequate intake of calcium because of their lack of consumption of dairy products. Therefore, it is important for vegans to include adequate amounts of non-dairy sources of calcium in their daily diet

    Calcium Supplements
    Calcium supplements are taken by individuals who are unable to get enough calcium in their regular diet or who have a need for more calcium. They are used to prevent or treat several conditions that may cause hypocalcemia (not enough calcium in the blood). The body needs calcium to make strong bones. Calcium is also needed for the heart, muscles, and nervous system to work properly.

    Pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and adolescents may need more calcium than they normally get from eating calcium-rich foods. Adult women may take calcium supplements to help prevent a bone disease called osteoporosis. Osteoporosis, which causes thin, porous, easily broken bones, may occur in women after menopause, but may sometimes occur in elderly men also. Other bone diseases in children and adults are also treated with calcium supplements.

    Vitamin D helps prevent calcium loss from your bones. It is sometimes called "the sunshine vitamin" because it is made in your skin when you are exposed to sunlight. If you get outside in the sunlight every day for 15 to 30 minutes, you should get all the vitamin D you need. However, in northern locations in winter, the sunlight may be too weak to make vitamin D in the skin. Vitamin D may also be obtained from your diet or from multivitamin preparations. Most milk is fortified with vitamin D.


    Last edited by Nishahameetha; 8th Oct 2012 at 01:15 PM.
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    Re: Types of Minerals - Phosphorus

    Phosphorus
    Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body and 85% of it is found in the bones. The rest of the body's phosphorus is found in the blood. It is found in the body usually at a ration of 1:2 to calcium. It is nonmetallic element that is found in the blood, muscles, nerves, bones, and teeth and is a component of adenosine tri-phosphate

    Functionality:
    Like calcium it is needed for the formation of bone tissue and plays other vital roles in the blood, nervous and enzyme systems. It helps form cell membranes and genetic material. Phosphorus also helps to maintain normal acid-base balance (pH) in its role as one of the body's most important buffers.

    Deficiency Diseases:
    Rickets, Osteoporosis, Stiff joints and Pain in the bones. It can also cause anxiety, irritability, sensitive skin, stress, tiredness and weak teeth etc.

    Overdose Disease: N/A,

    Deficiency Symptoms:

    • Weak or fragile bones & teeth
    • Fatigue, weakness
    • Loss of appetite
    • Joint pain and stiffness
    • Less energy and a susceptibility to infections

    Rich Sources:
    Milk, Yogurt, Cottage cheese, American cheese, Pork, Hamburger, Tuna, Lobster, Chicken, Sunflower seeds, Peanuts, Pine nuts, Peanut butter, Bran flakes, Shredded wheat, Whole wheat bread, Noodles, Rice, White bread, Potatoes, Corn, Peas, French fries, Broccoli, Milk chocolate and Soda beverages (due to the phosphoric acid added as a preservative)

    Important for:

    • Growth, maintenance, and repair of cells, and the production of energy
    • Maintain the pH level (acidity-alkalinity) of the blood
    • Reduces pain of arthritis
    • Speedy recovery of burn victims
    • Cancer prevention
    • Building of strong bones and skeletal structure
    • Maintain heart regularity

    Best Suitable Composition:
    Phosphorus & Calcium compose the major nutrients that strengthen bone. The body would not be able to make these connective tissues and organs that are so vital without a steady supply of Phosphorus.

    Recommended Daily Intake:

    • Men & Women: 1000 mg

    Phosphorus is best taken as part of a multivitamin and mineral supplement.


    Last edited by Nishahameetha; 8th Oct 2012 at 01:19 PM.
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    Re: Types of Minerals - Magnesium

    Magnesium
    The Magnesium is one of the families of major minerals although it is not as well known as some of the other minerals in the same group. Even though it is not as prominent, the magnesium mineral plays an essential role in about three hundred biochemical processes that take place inside the body.

    Functionality:
    It is essential to maintain both the acid-alkaline balance in the body and healthy functioning of nerves and muscles

    Deficiency Diseases: Heart disease, Diabetes and Osteoporosis.

    Overdose Disease: Kidney failure

    Deficiency Symptoms:
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Loss of appetite
    • Fatigue and a feeling of weakness

    Rich Sources:
    Dark green vegetables such as Spinach, Kale, Broccoli and Avocado are excellent magnesium sources. Other magnesium sources include Whole grains, Legumes, Black beans, Brown rice, Lentils, Almonds, Cashews, Peanuts and Peanut butter, Bananas, Soybeans, Wheat bran and Bran flakes, Lean meats, Dry figs, Halibut, Crab and Sardines.

    Important for:
    • Lowers high blood pressure
    • Promotes healthy cardiovascular system to prevent heart disease and arrhythmia
    • Calcium deposits, kidney stones, and gallstones
    • Relief from indigestion
    • Inhibits blood clots and widens arteries
    • Diabetes Prevention
    • Relaxes muscles and reduces severity of asthma by widening the airways

    Best Suitable Composition:
    It is best taken with calcium, iron, B group vitamins as well as vitamin E.

    Recommended Daily Intake:
    • Children: 80-240 mg
    • Men: 350 mg
    • Woman: 300 mg
    • Pregnancy: 350-400 mg
    • Breast-feeding: 310-360 mg


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    Re: Types of Minerals - Sodium Chloride

    Sodium Chloride
    The Sodium is also known as salt, has been getting a lot of attention over recent years, attention which has been mainly negative. It is still classed as a major mineral and is very important that the body receives its quota every day in order to function correctly.

    Functionality:
    It is required in the manufacture of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which protects the body from any infections that may be present in food.

    Deficiency Diseases: Diarrhea, Vomiting

    Overdose Disease: High Blood Pressure, Hypertension

    Deficiency Symptoms:
    Sodium deficiency is rare but Symptoms of a sodium deficiency that is combined with a loss of water includes:

    • Muscle cramps and weakness
    • Dizziness
    • Inability to concentrate
    • Memory impairment and nausea

    Rich Sources:
    Sodium is found in Table Salt, Anchovies, and Bacon etc.

    Important for:
    • Maintaining blood pressure
    • Regulates fluids and acid-base balance in the body
    • Nerve transmission and muscle contraction
    • Treatment of diarrhea, leg cramps, dehydration, and fever

    Best Suitable Composition:
    A person should consume about half the amount of sodium in relation to potassium and is best taken with vitamin D.

    Recommended Daily Intake:
    • Men & Women: 2400 mg


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    Re: Types of Minerals - Potassium

    Potassium
    Potassium is the third most abundant mineral in the body and is considered an electrolyte. Potassium keeps your muscles and nervous system working properly.

    Functionality:
    Potassium is needed for growth, building muscles, transmission of nerve impulses, heart activity etc. It assists in muscle contractions and in maintaining appropriate levels of fluid and the electrolyte balance in the body cells. Potassium also functions in the conduction of nerve impulses and enables the body to convert glucose into energy, which is then stored in reserve by the muscles and liver.

    Deficiency Diseases:
    Fatigue, Cramping legs, Muscle weakness, slow reflexes, Acne, Dry skin, Mood changes, Irregular heartbeat.

    Overdose Disease: Kidney failure

    Deficiency Symptoms:
    • Weakness
    • Scarring of heart muscle, Irregular heartbeat or heart failure
    • Hypertrophy of kidneys
    • Paralysis of muscle
    • Retarded bone growth

    Rich Sources:
    Bananas, Broccoli, Tomatoes, Potatoes with skins, Kiwi, Leafy green vegetables, Broccoli Citrus fruits, Oranges, Dried fruits, Dates, Apricots, Avocado, Beans, Peas, Lentils, and Peanuts are rich sources of Potassium.

    Important for:
    • Regulates heartbeat
    • Maintains fluid balance
    • Helps muscles contract
    • Helps in lower blood pressure
    • Dispose of body wastes
    • Reduces pain of arthritis

    Best Suitable Composition:
    A person should take as much potassium as sodium twice, and is best taken with vitamin B6.

    Recommended Daily Intake:
    • Men & Women: 3500 mg


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    Re: Types of Minerals - Sulfur

    Sulfur
    Sulfur, an acid-forming, non-metallic element is not treated as an essential mineral. The average human body contains about 1 teaspoon of sulfur. Sulfur often occurs in petroleum deposits, where it is found coated with greasy black petroleum. Sulfur is soft, light in weight, and very brittle. Therefore, care must be exercised when handling and storing specimens.

    Functionality:
    Sulfur is used to detoxify the body, assist the immune system and fight the effects of aging, as well as age related illnesses such as arthritis. It is found in the hair, nails and skin. Although sulfur might not be an essential mineral, it is an essential element of protein, biotin as well as vitamin B1.

    Deficiency Diseases:
    Deficiencies will only really happen if a diet is deprived of protein.

    Overdose Disease: N/A

    Deficiency Symptoms:
    • Skin problems or disorders
    • Muscle pain, nerve disorders
    • Circulatory trouble
    • Arthritis, inflammation
    • Damages resulting from free radicals
    • Stress, infection
    • Constipation and wrinkles

    Rich Sources:
    Sulfur is found in all proteins so eating a protein rich diet is one of the best ways to ensure the body gets an ample amount. Some of the best sources of Sulfur include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs and egg yolks, milk and legumes. Garlic, cabbage, brussels sprouts, onions, turnips, kale, lettuce, kelp, seaweed and some nuts also contain Sulfur.

    Important for:
    • Cleans the blood
    • Help protect against toxic build-up

    Best Suitable Composition:
    Best Suitable Composition of Sulfur is with the B group vitamins.

    Recommended Daily Intake:
    • Men & Women: 100 mg



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