Minerals Are Elements

by admin on September 30, 2013

Trace MineralsVitamins and minerals are often packaged together in multivitamin/multimineral preparations, and this fact may lead some people to confuse vitamins and minerals. While both vitamins and minerals are essential for human health (as well as the health of other animals), their similarity ends there. Vitamins are compounds whereas minerals are elements.

Minerals come in two varieties: macrominerals and trace minerals. As the names imply, “macrominerals” are those minerals that the body has a large requirement for, whereas “trace minerals” are required in far lower quantities (hence their name). A list of both types of minerals is here; the list also includes dietary sources for these minerals. Macrominerals include calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium. Microminerals include zinc, copper, iron, manganese, iodine, fluoride, cobalt and selenium. It is important to remember that our knowledge of the biochemical role – if any – of minerals is still an evolving field; in some instances, such as that of silicon, we do not know what dietary purpose it serves (if it even serves a dietary purpose at all).

Because living organisms contain complex chemical cocktails, antioxidant fruits can also be rich sources of macrominerals and trace minerals. For instance, blueberries and strawberries are both sources of the trace mineral manganese. Even better, cranberries contain manganese and the macromineral potassium. It is comforting to realize that with just a little bit of attention to our diets, we can dramatically increase our intake of those elements and compounds that we require to lead dysfunction-free, optimal lives.

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