Macrominerals and trace minerals: What are they? What do they do? How do we get more?

 In Functional Medicine

We may be unique, but there’s one thing we all have in common: our bodies need vitamins and minerals to keep us fit, healthy, and thriving.

Our bodies are exceptional – they produce many of the core nutrients we need to function. But minerals are not produced by the body. We can only get minerals from the food we eat and the supplements we take. That means many of us are at risk of a deficiency.

Here’s what you need to know about minerals, their role in our health, and what to do if your levels are low.

What are minerals?

Minerals are essential to our body’s health and function. We use minerals to keep our bones robust, muscles strong, brain sharp, and to produce enzymes and hormones.

There are two kinds of minerals – macrominerals and trace minerals. We need larger amounts of macrominerals to thrive. These include calcium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, and potassium. On the other hand, we only need small quantities of trace minerals – but that doesn’t mean they are any less important. Trace minerals include manganese, zinc, and selenium.

Three minerals critical to health, wellbeing, and vitality

Our bodies don’t manufacture minerals. Instead, we get them from our diets and supplements. Deficiencies can lead to weak bones, an underperforming immune system, fatigue, and other life-limiting conditions.Our bodies don’t manufacture minerals. Instead, we get them from our diets and supplements. Deficiencies (https://www.healthline.com/health/mineral-deficiency) can lead to weak bones, an underperforming immune system, fatigue, and other life-limiting conditions.

Let’s take a closer look at three essential minerals and their role in helping you achieve optimal health and wellbeing – zinc, selenium, and magnesium.Let’s take a closer look at three essential minerals and their role in helping you achieve optimal health and wellbeing – zinc, selenium, and magnesium.

Minerals essential to optimal health: Zinc

Found in cells throughout your body, zinc is a trace mineral that performs many vital functions. In the immune system, zinc helps fight invading viruses and bacteria. It plays a role in gene expression, metabolism maintenance, tissue repair, and insulin signals. Zinc also boosts the body’s antioxidant reserves, protecting it from free radical damage. Finally, zinc is vital for nucleic acid metabolism and brain tubulin growth and phosphorylation, and it contributes to axonal and synaptic transmission. In brief, it’s integral to healthy brains.

Because zinc supports such a broad range of functions, even a marginal deficiency can result in health issues. Lack of zinc has been linked to impaired RNA , DNA, and protein synthesis during brain development. Research suggests changes to zinc are a leading factor in the onset of several neuropsychiatric disorders, such as depression.

What’s more, a growing body of evidence has demonstrated a connection between zinc deficiency and an increased risk for neurological disorders. Zinc impacts neurogenesis and can result in increased programmed cell death of neurons. In turn, this can result in learning and memory insufficiencies. Zinc levels are therefore a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline.

Minerals essential to optimal health: Selenium

Selenium helps the body produce several vital compounds, including the enzymes that contribute to antioxidant mechanisms. It’s essential to reproduction, DNA production, and safeguarding the body against infection and free radical damage.

Your selenium levels are dependent on the soil conditions where your food is grown and raised. Research has found that under-functioning thyroids tend to be common in regions where selenium intake is low. Selenium is vital to thyroid health and is a necessary cofactor in the production of the three core enzymes required to produce and metabolize the thyroid hormone.

Together with its partner iodine, selenium minimizes oxidative stress for optimal thyroid and breast health.

Minerals essential to optimal health: Magnesium

Magnesium aids many processes in the body – it regulates muscle and nerve function , blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. It also supports healthy protein, DNA, and bone production.

Critically, magnesium plays a central role in the brain and nervous systems. This mineral supports nerve transmission and neuromuscular conduction and protects against excessive excitation, which can lead to neuronal cell death (excitotoxicity).

Magnesium is also profoundly connected to stress levels – stress and low magnesium potentiate each other’s adverse effects. Magnesium deficiency – called hypomagnesemia – has been linked to high-stress conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome, migraine, and fibromyalgia.

Finally, magnesium helps stimulate activity in the brain, allowing the brain to process information, which, in turn, aids memory and sleep. So if you want to sharpen your cognitive function, improve your sleep, or mitigate stress-related health problems, you may benefit from increasing your intake of magnesium.

Am I getting enough minerals? What can I do about it?

To some extent, ‘listening’ to what your body craves can guide you in the right nutritional direction. After a workout, for example, it’s totally normal to want foods high in carbohydrates. If you’re lusting after a juicy steak, your body might be crying out for protein. Problem is, low mineral levels are a little trickier to detect without support from a trusted healthcare provider.

Some risk factors for low levels of critical minerals include:

  • A diet that is not nutritionally balanced – remember, our bodies cannot produce minerals themselves
  • Where your food comes from
  • Malabsorption due to a gastrointestinal condition, such as an inflamed gastrointestinal tract or ‘leaky gut’

The good news is, if your doctor or nutritionist identifies a mineral deficiency, the solution might be as simple as making a few dietary swaps (brazil nuts are incredibly high in selenium , and oysters contain more zinc than any other food) and incorporating supplements into your day-to-day routine.

Leveraging my neurological experience, I’ve developed three high-powered supplements containing essential macrominerals and trace minerals. Each supplement has been carefully engineered to maximize absorption, protect against health issues, and boost cognitive function.

  • My Neuro Zinc Pro supplement is ideal for those with low-zinc diets or who have been recommended zinc supplements.
  • My iNeuro Thyroid Support supplement is a must for those that struggle with thyroid health.
  • My Neuro Mag Pro supplement supports memory and sleep, relieves stress, and sharpens your mind.

Personalized support

Minerals are vital, but they are one piece of the complex and unique-to-you puzzle of your health. So if you are seeking answers, hope, a path forward toward a lifestyle you love, reach out today.

Together with my multi-disciplinary team, we can redirect the trajectory of your health and help you achieve milestones you didn’t think possible. To find out more, I invite you to pick up the phone, give us a call, and schedule a one-on-one consultation.

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