What benefits do minerals bring?

Minerals have been ascribed a large range of functions in the human body. It is well known, for instance, that calcium is important for the development and strength of bones and teeth; iron is essential for the development of red blood cells (which carry oxygen around the body); sodium (as found in salt) is involved in muscle contraction and nerve transmission. There are many other such connections:

  • Calcium (in addition to its importance to bones and teeth) plays an essential role in blood clotting, nerve transmission and muscle contraction.
  • Chromium appears to play a part in maintaining blood glucose levels.
  • Copper helps the body take up iron.
  • Iron (in addition to its role in red blood cells) bolsters the immune system.
  • Iodine plays a key role in creating thyroid hormones.
  • Magnesium is involved in the work of enzymes, and in muscle function and the formation of bones and teeth.
  • Phosphorus is important for bones and teeth, and is associated with the creation and delivery of energy.
  • Selenium helps to regulate the thyroid gland and serves as an antioxidant combating the free radicals associated with ageing; selenium deficiency has been linked to cardiovascular disease and cancer.
  • Zinc is essential to the functioning of the immune system, the reproductive system, and the body's ability to repair tissue and wounds.

Useful website

www.nutrition.org.uk (British Nutrition Foundation)

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