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Dietary minerals are crucial for optimum health and detoxification. Here's the big picture as well as our recommendations for supplements. Minerals are of critical importance.
There are important similarities between minerals and vitamins.
For more about vitamins, see our Vitamins web page. (The link to the vitamins page is given at the bottom of this page.)
Like vitamins, minerals have critical physiological functions. They have important roles with respect to energy metabolism, collagen formation, bone/teeth mineralization, antioxidant activities, detoxification, cell excitability, and blood clotting.
Minerals for everyone
Everyone, and not only people who are dieting or using one of the physical training programs presented at this website (or a similar program) to promote weight loss, should at least obtain the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA's) and avoid exceeding the Tolerable Upper Limits (UL's).
It is best to meet the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI's) and not just the RDA's.
As with vitamins, current RDA's, UL's, DRI's, and descriptions of how the various minerals work are easy to find online as well as in books that we recommend.
Our concern here with minerals is prompted by our interest in weight loss that lasts.
Are the guidelines for fitness and strength trainees different from the guidelines for those who are inactive?
Are the guidelines for fitness and strength trainees different? As with the similar question about vitamins, the experts are not sure. There's no consensus.
Distinguish a trainee from a competitive athlete: some competitive athletes do have dietary mineral needs that exceed those who do not exercise.
There are several relevant groups. There are those who, like competitive bodybuilders, manipulate their diets in extreme ways.
Female athletes who restrict their energy intake can become amenorrheic. Some athletes such as female runners who sweat copiously are at greater risk, and so are female athletes who are menstruating.
Some athletes with very high training volumes also may need to pay extra attention.
Finally, there are athletes who are vegetarians.
If you happen to fall into one of those groups, it's very important that you eat properly; furthermore, check with your physician concerning possible supplementation of dietary minerals.
Most of us, however, are not at high risk for these deficiencies. Instead, our concern with respect to dietary minerals should be to acquire and sustain optimal mineral status.
How to sustain optimal mineral status
The most important way to acquire and sustain optimal mineral status is to eat properly.
The best way to eat for optimal mineral status is to ensure that your daily diet provides the following: multiple servings of different fresh, organic vegetables (and, perhaps, berries); fish and/or meat from natural sources; iodized salt; fluoridated water; unsalted nuts; and some dairy products [unless you are strictly following a Paleolithic diet].
It's also important to attain your proper natural percentage of body fat and stay there. Once you are there, consume adequate energy to maintain that weight.
This means, of course, that while you are losing body fat, you are not maintaining your weight. That means that you are not eating properly in terms of optimal status.
For that reason, we do make a recommendation about mineral supplements.
At least while you are on a restricted diet, supplement daily with a multi-mineral that is made by a reputable manufacturer.
Once you have achieved your naturally balanced body weight, you may discontinue the special intake if you wish.
However, you need not discontinue it; it will still provide excellent nutritional insurance.
That's a simple, easy-to-follow recommendation. If you are healthy and eating a healthy, natural (preferably organic) diet with very few or no refined processed carbohydrates (unless you happen to be an athlete in one of the at-risk categories mentioned above or unless you cannot or do not eat properly for optimal mineral status) you need not worry much about minerals.
However, if you are not eating a healthy diet, then you DO need to worry about your mineral intake.
Unless you have a specific reason for doing it, avoid using individual minerals such as calcium or iron. Occasionally, there are good specific reasons for considering it. For example, if you are an extremely active vegetarian female of reproductive age, you may be sufficiently concerned about iron deficiency anemia to consult with your physician about it.
However, though most people are not calcium or iron deficient, most people could benefit from more magnesium-rich foods.
If you have concerns or questions always discuss them with your health care provider.
We are all unique. Even athletes in the high risk categories should be individually assessed.
In North America, if you are healthy and eating well as we recommend on this website, with plenty of fresh vegetables,you should be fine for minerals.
Web pages to help you further
We, personally, do supplement daily with a hypoallergenic multi-mineral from a reliable manufacturer.
However, a dietary mineral supplements should not replace obtaining minerals from the best foods. Use the following link for more information about our dietary recommendations:
Recommended reading list for this topic
Here are some initial reading suggestions:
This completes the dietary minerals page. We hope that you found it useful.