Minerals You Might Be Missing
These people do. See if you need help too.
My mineral research first takes me back 5,000 years to the Bronze Age, where I discovered that "taking the waters" - whether drinking or bathing in mineral-laden spring waters - was a common form of therapy for disease. Hot spring waters and muds are still medical sanctioned in much of Europe and Japan. But most of us in the United States, even if we're mineral water drinkers and spa-goers, don't take the medicinal benefit of minerals very seriously.
"Minerals are just as critical to our health as vitamins," says one expert. "In fact they may be even more important."
"Minerals are a basic part of all cells, particularly blood, nerve, and muscle cells, as well as of bones, teeth, and soft tissue. They control the actions of enzymes and certain hormones, and they provide necessary materials to build and maintain our bodies."
Mineral Profile #1
Thirtysomething working mother of two who takes multitasking to new heights.
- Theme Song: "I am Woman, Watch Me Hyperventilate."
- Suffers from Fatigue, migraines, high blood pressure, diet cola addiction.
"Caffeine intake is going to further deplete minerals from a woman who may already be out of balance thanks to stress. If you go onto the stress nutritionally well armed with a multivitamin/multimineral and adequate amounts of calcium and magnesium - you're much better able to cope."
Supplements to consider:
- For her cola habit: Colas are high in phosphorus, which in excess can throw calcium levels ot of whack, possibly causing a calcium deficiency. To reach the RDA of calcium, supplement with 500 mg. (and ditch the colas.)
- For the headaches: There's evidence that a low magnesium level may trigger migraine and tension headaches. A supplement of 300 mg may help.
- For fatigue and stress: If you're not already taking magnesium, a magnesium/vitamin E combo (250 mg of magnesium and 100-400 international units of E) has been shown to be calming and may promote sleep.
- For blood pressure: 2.5 grams a day of potassium have been shown to bring numbers down.
Mineral Profile #2
50-year old sometime athlete who loves bicycling and cold beer with lime.
- Has family history of prostate problems, heart disease.
- Thinks sweat is an aphrodisiac.
Supplements to consider:
- To reduce the risk of cancer: Research at the National Cancer institute and else here has consistently shown that selenium can help ward off several forms of cancer; some of the strongest evidence is prostate cancer. Studies ave shown a decreased incidence among men who take a daily selenium supplement of 200 micrograms. The Prostate Cancer Research Institute recommends organic selenium supplementation in the 400-800 mcg range.
- To replenish minerals lost during workouts: Athletes been shown to have lower blood levels of zinc than sedentary people. In one study comparing the performance of athletes who ate low-zinc (3 milligrams) and high-zinc (18 mg) dies, the high-zinc group bested the low-zinc one.
- To protect the heart: Some evidence suggests magnesium may be helpful. From supplements, aim for a maximum of 350 mg. per day.
Mineral Profile #3
Plump 47-year old woman who sits at a desk all day.
- Suffers from mood swings and sugar cravings.
- Has a family history of diabetes.
"Vitamins and minerals can go a long way to help this woman feel better without medication."
Supplements to consider:
- For osteoporosis: A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that taking 1,000 milligrams of supplements calcium a day slowed bone loss in postmenopausal women by 43 percent. Another study showed that calcium supplementation reduces the risk of osteoporotic fractures by 25 to 60 percent among older women. The calcium citrate-malate and calcium carbonate forms are well absorbed, especially when taken with meals. Magnesium deficiency also may play a role in osteoporosis, according to some studies. 350 mg of magnesium daily will help calcium do its job, by enhancing its absorption; so will 10 mcg of vitamin D.
- To balance blood sugar levels and mood: Research has shown that 200 to 400 mcg of chromium helps keep blood sugar stable and may reduce sugar cravings. The calcium/magnesium combo may also lessen mood swings.
People at high risk of certain diseases may want to consider therapeutic doses, well above the RDA of certain minerals, to help ward them off.
Excerpts from the article: "Do You Need a Mineral Boost?" See the full article in Alternative Medicine Magazine, May 2003.
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