If complete and balanced, our diet provides us with all the vitamins and minerals our body needs. These vitamins and minerals are essential to the structure of each cell, tissue, and organ of the human body, and to their function. When deficient, supplements may sometimes be required. Let’s look closely at the role of minerals in the human organism, where they come from, and when supplements are recommended.
A healthy, balanced and varied diet is the key to good health. Nevertheless, certain situations may require taking supplements. Do not hesitate to consult your pharmacist about it. He/she can guide you in the selection of the product most suited to you and inform you about the precautions to take.
Calcium is essential to the formation and development of your bones and teeth.Your skeleton contains up to 99% of the total amount of calcium available in your body! But many other cells also need calcium to function.
The absorption of food calcium depends on the other foods eaten during the same meal.
In Canada,more than 10% of women of childbearing age do not absorb enough iron! This is not surprising if we examine their diet. Iron from meat, poultry and seafood is better absorbed than that from vegetables. However, almost half of women do not eat the minimal number of recommended meat or substitute portions, their main iron source being cereals.
In nature, iron exists in two forms: heme iron is present in meat, poultry and seafood, and non-heme iron is found in vegetal foods such as legumes and certain iron-enriched grain products.
Each of your body cells requires magnesium. Half the magnesium is stored in the cells of your tissues and organs.The other half is combined with the calcium and phosphor of your bones.Your blood also contains a minute quantity of magnesium.
Magnesium is found in green vegetables, legumes, almonds and seeds, as well as some whole grain products (e.g.: whole wheat bread). A small amount of magnesium is present in many foods.To insure a sufficient quantity of it in your diet, vary your menus.
Magnesium supplements are not necessary except in rare cases: when magnesium absorption is limited (improper absorption by the intestine) or when an excessive loss of magnesium is due to vomiting or severe diarrhea.
Excessive consumption of alcohol and the use of diuretics can also require supplementing magnesium.
A large amount of potassium is found in most fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy and legumes. People needing potassium supplements are rare. Eating a fruit and vegetable-rich diet is generally enough to satisfy the necessary intake. Potassium supplements are needed when taking certain medicines; in this case,medical supervision is necessary.
Present in almost all body cells, zinc is a life-essential mineral.
Zinc is found in a large selection of foods: red meat, poultry, legumes, nuts, seafood (particularly oysters), whole grains and dairy products. Zinc from animal source is better absorbed than that from grains, legumes or vegetables. Phytates found in whole grain breads and vegetables can cause a decrease in zinc absorption by the body.
People who do not eat enough calories, vegetarians, as well as children and teenagers presenting growth problems could benefit from zinc supplements. Also, people suffering from alcoholism or diseases causing improper absorption by the intestine and diarrhea often have inadequate levels of zinc. If a proper diet does not solve the problem, using supplements may become necessary.
The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.