Understanding Mineral Nutrition
With so much emphasis on vitamins, fatty acids and protein today it is easy to forget the importance of minerals. However, in reality minerals and trace elements are the vital nutrients that underpin all cellular activity in the body. Today in society the average nutritional profile manifests various mineral deficiencies. Modern farming methods, chemicals and pollutants are just some of the factors contributing to this. Food processing, additives and pharmaceuticals in much of today's food also play a part in this scenario. It could be argued that there has never been a greater need for a re-assessment of minerals' importance and supplementation.
The term minerals has two definitions. Whilst in geology "minerals" are chemical compounds that are not made by biological organisms, in biology the word "mineral" refers to chemical elements, with the exception of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen. Some minerals are prioritised as essential by nutritionists. These compromise calcium, chlorine, chromium, cobalt, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, sodium, sulphur and zinc. Although not all authorities agree that boron, nickel, tin and vanadium are essential, there is a growing amount of research that points to the importance of boron for a number of the body's functions.