Mineral Health Benefits: A Short List
Blood Clotting: Involved in several steps of the blood clotting mechanism.
Bones and Teeth: Most important function is in the development and
maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. Need is greatest during periods of
rapid growth including childhood, pregnancy and lactation.
Cell Wall Permeability: Regulates the passage of fluids across cellular
membranes by affecting cell wall permeability.
Enzyme Function: Activates various enzyme systems responsible for muscle
contraction, fat digestion and protein metabolism.
Muscle Contraction: Helps to initiate muscle contractions. As such, it
plays a vital role in the contraction-relaxation cycle that regulates a
Nerve Transmission: Plays a role in the regulation and transmission of
Signal Messenger: Low extracellular calcium signals the release of
parathyroid hormone, which increases calcium absorption.
Collagen and Elastin: The synthesis of collagen and elastin require iron.
Energy Production: Much of iron?s functional activity in electron
transport and energy production has to do with its ability to convert back
and forth between its reduced or ferrous state (Fe++), and its oxidized
ferric state (Fe+++). This is how oxygen is either held or released.
Fatty Acid Metabolism: Necessary for the synthesis of the amino acid
carnitine, which plays a role in the metabolism of fatty acids.
Immune System: Iron is one of the substances that is necessary for optimal
Liver Detoxification: Plays a role in the cytochrome P450 liver
Neurotransmitters: Part of the enzyme that initiates the synthesis of the
neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
Oxygen Storage: Myoglobin is an iron-containing protein in muscles that
acts as an oxygen acceptor and an oxygen storage reservoir in muscle.
Oxygen Transport: The major function of iron is for oxygen transport by
hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells.
The heme portion of hemoglobin contains four atoms of iron. Iron picks up
the oxygen in the lungs where the concentration is high. Iron binds the
oxygen and then transports it to the tissues and releases it wherever it
Blood Pressure: Can lower elevated blood pressure. However, the effect is
usually only moderate, and thus magnesium should not be viewed as a
primary treatment for hypertension.
Bone: Involved in calcium metabolism, the synthesis of vitamin D, and the
integrity of skeletal bone-crystal formation.
Cardiovascular Function: Decreases platelet stickiness, helps thin the
blood, blocks calcium uptake, and relaxes blood vessels.
Enzyme Activity: A cofactor for oxidative phosphorylation in the
production of ATP. Essential for the production and transfer of energy for
protein and lipid synthesis, contractility of muscle and nerve
Heart Disease: Adequate magnesium intake reduces the risk of
cardiovascular disease and increases the rate of survival following a
heart attack. If intravenous magnesium is given during the early stages of
a heart attack, it results in a 70% decrease in deaths within one month
following the event.
Metabolism: Required for the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and
fats, as well as activity related to calcium, phosphorus and vitamin C. It
is vital for the health of nervous and muscular tissues throughout the
Teeth: Helps to bind calcium to tooth enamel, thus creating a barrier to
Acid/Base Balance: Potassium is one of the main electrolytes that helps
control pH levels in body fluids.
Blood Pressure: In part regulated by potassium. Low potassium levels are
associated with elevated blood pressure.
Electrical Activity: Helps regulate electrical activity, which in turn,
regulates the activity of muscle and nerve cells and the beating of the
Glucose: Conversion to glycogen requires potassium.
Osmotic Pressure and Water Balance: Potassium is one of the electrolytes
that control these functions through the activity of the sodium-potassium
Anti-viral Activity: Although its mechanism is not known at this time,
zinc apparently possesses antiviral activity.
Antioxidant: Cofactor for the antioxidant enzyme Zn/Cu superoxide dismutase.
Immune System: Helps regulate a wide variety of immune system activities,
including T-lymphocytes, CD4, natural killer cells and interleukin II.
Insulin Activity: Is a component of insulin and recently was discovered to
be a regulator of insulin activity.
Sensory Perceptions: Involved in sensory perceptions of taste, smell and
vision. Necessary for salt-taste perception, dark adaptation and night
Serum Vitamin A Levels: Controls the release of stored vitamin A from the
Sexual Function: Zinc is necessary for the maturation of sperm, ovulation
Thyroid: Promotes the conversion of thyroxine to triiodothyronine.
Wound Healing: Facilitates wound healing, especially in burns, surgical
and other types of scars.
(The information and photo for this article were provided in part by Ram
Chaudhari, senior executive vice president, CSO & co-founder, Fortitech,
Inc., Schenectady, NY.)