Effects of Mineral Deficiency on the Body
Minerals are inorganic substances that are essential for a healthy body, as they help to create hormones, enzymes, bones, tissues, teeth and fluids. Take a closer look at some important minerals and their effects of deficiency on the body.
Calcium and vitamin D are essential for maintaining bone density and reducing the risk of fracture. A deficiency in calcium can create improper brain function, low bone mineral density, and muscular symptoms like aches, pains, twitching, spasms and cramps. In elderly adults, supplementation of calcium and vitamin D can markedly enhance bone density and reduce fracture. As women are particularly prone to calcium deficiency, it is important that they have a bone scan by age 60 and take a daily calcium supplement – liquid vitamins and minerals are a good holistic source to ensure proper calcium intake and other needed nutrition.
The adult human body contains roughly 25 grams of magnesium, which is important for maintaining energy levels. A deficiency in magnesium also triggers a calcium deficit, which results in low blood potassium levels, retention of sodium, muscular symptoms such as tremors and spasms, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and personality changes.
Potassium keeps the muscles and nervous system working properly. Because of its alkaline properties, it helps the body maintain pH levels and regulates the amount of water in the blood and body tissues. The most important function of potassium is in helping to regulate blood pressure. When the body fails to retain the necessary amount of required potassium, a deficiency results called hypokalemia, which can be fatal if not attended to. Some symptoms of potassium deficiency are fatigue, muscular weakness, acne, anxiety and memory loss.
Iron-deficiency anemia is caused by a deficit in iron which the body uses to produce hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs to body tissues. When there is a deficit in iron, the red blood cells are fewer and smaller than usual, and anemia results. Iron-deficiency anemia will likely cause fatigue, dizziness, irritability, headaches, difficulty concentrating, a pale appearance, brittle nails, and cracked lips. As supplementing with iron can increase risk for diabetes in women, the best sources are dietary in the form of clams, oysters, beef, shrimp, turkey, enriched breakfast cereals, cooked beans, lentils and pumpkin seeds.
Zinc is essential for healthy growth in humans, animals and plants, for mental development in children and proper functioning of the immune system. The risk of zinc deficiency affects one third of the world population, and it is the fifth leading risk factor for disease in the developing world. Symptoms of zinc deficiency include hair loss, skin lesions, diarrhea, acne, and white spots or lines on the fingernails.
Chromium is essential in the use of glucose for energy and for the metabolism of amino acids and fats. Symptoms of deficiency include glucose intolerance, elevated cholesterol and weight loss. Those over age 55 and folks who exercise regularly may lose chromium through the urine and will need supplementation. Some chromium supplements contain yeast, which can interfere with certain prescription drugs, and chromium is unsuitable for pregnant or breast-feeding women and for epileptics.
Other trace minerals such as molybdenum, selenium, phosphorus, iodine, and sodium are important for health and well-being and their deficiencies can cause a host of health problems. A good diet is the foundation of a healthy body, but to ensure proper nutrition and to stave off symptoms of deficiency, make sure to take high-quality liquid vitamins and minerals on a daily basis.