Minerals for Health: The Missing Piece of the Puzzle
People are suffering from chronic diseases now more than ever before. Many are told there is no cure and there is nothing they can do about it. But is that true? Keep reading to learn all about minerals for health and why I believe they are the missing piece of the health puzzle.
Minerals are one of the most overlooked aspects of nutrition. Most people often think of different foods as either good or bad. I did this for years.
Kale & spinach=good
Nuts & seeds=good
But we often fail to ask ourselves why a certain food is either considered good or bad. Our beliefs about food often come from TV doctors or internet health gurus.
(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure statement here.)
I am not a doctor and the statements on this blog have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please do not ask me for medical advice. Click here to read my full disclaimer.
For years I restricted carbs and sugar and ate tons of leafy greens and protein bars because I thought that was the healthy thing to do.
It wasn’t until I began to learn about cellular energy production and really just basic human physiology that I began to understand how the body actually works.
It made me question everything I thought I knew about nutrition up to that point and was what ultimately catapulted me into the world of pro-metabolic eating and minerals.
I’m not going to go too much into pro-metabolic eating. You can read this post – What is Pro-Metabolic Eating – to learn all about it.
But essentially at its core, pro-metabolic eating is simply eating real foods that contain bioavailable nutrients that your body can easily digest.
So instead of looking at foods as either good or bad, we should be asking ourselves does this food contain minerals that my body can actually use? Because minerals truly are the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to health and nutrition.
What are Minerals?
Minerals are not the same as vitamins. Vitamins are organic substances that are made by plants and animals.
You have your fat-soluble vitamins – A, D, E, and K – that dissolve in fat and tend to accumulate over time in the body.
And you have your water-soluble vitamins – C and B complex – that must be dissolved in water before they can be absorbed by the body. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body.
Minerals on the other hand are inorganic elements that are present in water and soil. Minerals are absorbed by plants and consumed by animals.
We should be getting our minerals from eating plants and animals and drinking water.
Both vitamins and minerals are crucial for optimal health but I wanted to specifically highlight the importance of minerals for this post.
Essential Major Minerals vs Essential Trace Minerals
Major minerals are minerals your body needs in large amounts and trace minerals are needed in smaller amounts.
Both are extremely important when it comes to the human body.
Below are the major minerals your body uses and stores in large amounts as well as a few of their functions within the body.
- Sodium – muscle contraction, fluid balance
- Potassium – fluid balance, nerve transmission, ph of blood, blood pressure, kidney function
- Calcium – contraction and relaxation of muscles, strong bones and teeth, clotting of blood
- Magnesium – healthy bones, protein synthesis, protects heart, helps convert food to energy, important enzyme co-factor
- Sulfur – protein synthesis
- Phosphorus – strong bones and teeth, maintains and repairs tissues and cells
- Chloride – fluid balance, stomach acidity
Below are the trace minerals your body uses and stores in smaller amounts as well as a few of their functions within the body.
- Iron – makes hemoglobin, cell growth
- Manganese – important enzyme cofactor
- Copper-iron metabolism, important enzyme co-factor
- Iodine – helps to convert food into energy, thyroid hormone synthesis
- Zinc – makes protein and genetic material
- Cobalt – regulates blood sugar
- Selenium – reproduction, thyroid function, DNA production
- Molybdenum- important enzyme cofactor
Non-Essential Trace Minerals
There are also non-essential trace minerals – aluminum, arsenic, boron, bromine, cadmium, chromium, fluoride, germanium, lead, lithium, nickel, rubidium, silicon, strontium, tin, and vanadium.
They are considered non-essential because a lack of any of these elements has not been shown to interrupt the life cycle.
But just because lack of these elements hasn’t been shown to interrupt the life cycle doesn’t mean they don’t play a role in the human body.
Several of them have been shown to have beneficial effects on the body. For example, boron and silica have both been found to be beneficial to bone growth.
So although these elements are considered non-essential, some of them can be very beneficial to the human body.
Minerals & Enzymes
Each mineral has its own individual role within the body but minerals also work alongside enzymes. Many minerals (especially magnesium and copper) function as cofactors for enzymes.
Enzymes are proteins inside the body that act as biological catalysts. They accelerate chemical reactions in the body and many are mineral-dependent.
Minerals are required to activate enzymes essential for all systems of the body to work.
That means enzymes can not function properly if they don’t have the minerals they require.
For example, magnesium is a cofactor in more than 3,700+ enzymatic reactions within the body.
So if you don’t have enough magnesium, those 3,700+ enzymatic reactions can not occur.
When different enzymatic reactions within the body fail to occur, dysfunction within the body begins to occur.
Minerals for Health
Ultimately, minerals are what fuel the metabolism and metabolism is the sum of every metabolic process in the body. When your metabolism is healthy, metabolic processes in the body will function properly.
Metabolism affects digestion, the immune system, sex drive, hormones, and basically every function that goes on inside the body.
When it doesn’t get the support it needs to function properly (ie: minerals!) it will stop supporting certain bodily functions that aren’t necessary to keep you alive.
I believe mineral imbalance is the root cause of metabolic imbalance and metabolic imbalance is the root cause of most illness and disease.
I’ve struggled with health issues for over 14 years now and I was officially diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in 2018.
It wasn’t until I began to focus on foods and supplements that were rich in bio-available minerals that I began to truly heal.
Without an adequate amount of minerals your body will not have what it needs to keep you healthy and well and your body wants to keep you healthy and well.
If you want to get healthy then you have to restore your metabolism and if you want to restore your metabolism then you have to restore your minerals with foods and supplements rich in bio-available nutrients.
What Does Bio-Available Mean?
Many people think of spinach and kale as superfoods. Spinach is rich in vitamin c, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and vitamin A.
But did you know that your body is only able to absorb about 5% of the calcium that is available in raw spinach?
Spinach contains oxalic acid, which blocks the absorption of calcium
When it comes to nutrition, bio-available basically refers to the nutrients present in food that can be absorbed by the body. It basically means the nutrients your body is actually able to use.
It doesn’t matter how rich in vitamins and minerals a food is – if your body is not actually able to absorb those vitamins and minerals then what is the point?
Not to be gross but all those vitamins and nutrients will just end up being flushed down the toilet.
This is why raw milk, beef liver, and eggs are far superior to raw veggies like broccoli, spinach, and kale when it comes to bio-available nutrition.
How Vitamins & Minerals Work Together in the Body
Minerals work synergistically with one another and also with vitamins to regulate your system. Some also antagonize each other which means they decrease or block the absorption or metabolic function of one another.
Potassium helps to get thyroid hormone inside the cell and calcium blocks thyroid hormone from getting into the cell. Therefore if your calcium and potassium levels are out of balance you will have thyroid issues.
Too much calcium blocks magnesium absorption.
Vitamin E enhances vitamin A and vitamin C regenerates vitamin E and vitamin E enhances selenium.
High levels of manganese inhibit iron absorption.
Vitamin D increases calcium absorption and magnesium activates vitamin D and Vitamin D increases serum selenium.
Copper activates an enzyme that transports iron. Without that enzyme, iron accumulates in your tissues which leads to oxidative stress and magnesium depletion.
These are just a few examples of how minerals and vitamins work synergistically with one another or antagonize each other.
The relationships between different minerals and vitamins are very complicated. Not only do they work synergistically or antagonize each other but many also work in ratios.
This means that when you have too much of one and not enough of another, dysfunction can begin to occur within the body.
This is why it is so important to balance your minerals and why it can actually be very dangerous to supplement with synthetic and isolated supplements. More about that is below.
Minerals & Heavy Metals
Another fascinating aspect of minerals is how they interact with heavy metals within the body.
Mineral deficiency actually leads to heavy metal toxicity. If your body is not getting the minerals it needs it will begin to absorb less desirable elements such as heavy metals.
For example, if you don’t have enough calcium in your diet, lead will begin to accumulate in your bones instead.
Also without sufficient magnesium in the diet, aluminum will begin to accumulate in the brain.
When you have an abundance of heavy metals in the body and a lack of essential minerals, those heavy metals will begin to displace certain minerals.
For example – mercury displaces selenium, arsenic displaces phosphorous, and the list goes on and on.
But the good news is when you have adequate amounts of essential minerals coming into the body they will compete with the heavy metals and displace them.
Eventually, the heavy metals will be excreted from the body.
What Causes Mineral Imbalances / Deficiencies?
Any form of stress on the body (physical, emotional, environmental, or metabolic) will deplete minerals, and keep in mind even good things can cause stress on the body (ie: pregnancy, exercise).
Below are many common stressors that can deplete minerals or cause mineral imbalances within the body.
- Birth Control
- Synthetic Vitamins
- Chronic Stress
- Poor Diet
- Over Hydrating
- EMF Exposure
So as you can see mineral deficiencies/imbalances are inevitable. Obviously, some people can have more severe deficiencies than others.
I read a statistic recently that said we have more stress in one day than our grandparents had in their entire lifetime.
Combine that fact with the fact that our soils have also been depleted of essential minerals which means our food doesn’t contain the minerals it used to – this is a recipe for disaster.
It’s no wonder everyone is sick. Everyone should be putting effort into replenishing and rebalancing their minerals.
Are You Mineral Deficient?
I personally believe most people are mineral deficent or have mineral imbalances whether they realize it or not.
Some common signs and symptoms of mineral dysregulation /deficiency are below.
- Brain Fog
- Hair Loss
- Excessive Thirst
- Easily Stressed
One of the best ways to determine just how out of balance your minerals are is to get a hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) done.
An HTMA measures the levels and comparative ratios of nutrients and toxic minerals found in hair. It’s very safe and very accurate.
I have never gotten one done, although I plan to soon. I’ve heard very good things about EvenBetterNow.com. You can purchase HTMA tests there and also a personalized written summary of your hair mineral analysis.
How to Rebalance Minerals
Since we are living in a world where our mineral levels are constantly being depleted, it is so important to prevent them from being depleted whenever possible and replenish them on a daily basis.
The best way to do this is by lowering stress in the body.
Stress is enemy #1 when it comes to mineral dysregulation. Unfortunately, it is impossible to eliminate all stressful situations and circumstances completely from your life. But it is vital that you eliminate stress when and wherever you can and build stress resilience.
And remember stress comes in all different forms: environmental, physical, emotional, and metabolic.
When it comes to metabolic stress it’s important to nourish your body by eating pro-metabolically.
If you want to decrease environmental stress it is important to eliminate toxins in your environment and mitigate EMF exposure.
Over-exercising and intermittent fasting can create a lot of physical stress on the body. Instead of intermittent fasting, nourish your body by eating breakfast 30-60 minutes after waking and eat every 3-4 hours throughout the day.
Exercise is a great thing but remember – even good things can deplete minerals and exercise is one of those things. If you’re showing a lot of signs of mineral dysregulation you might want to take a break from high-intensity exercise for a while.
Instead switch to some form of low-intensity exercise like walking, swimming, or stretching.
Over time, as your mineral levels start to be replenished you can begin to incorporate some moderate to heavy strength training.
Emotional stress can have a very negative impact on our mineral levels and our physical health. It’s crucial that you try to eliminate emotional stress from your life whenever you can.
I realize that there are some circumstances when that is just not possible and that is why building stress resilience is just as important as eliminating stress.
Building stress resilience means teaching your body to appropriately deal with stress and to not be easily stressed out or triggered.
So how do you build stress resilience? Well basically by getting good sleep, moving your body, managing your blood sugar levels, consuming enough calories, and eating the right foods (more about that below).
It’s also important to activate your parasympathetic nervous system often. This can help to lower stress levels in the body.
You can activate your parasympathetic nervous system by taking a walk, spending time in nature, getting a massage, meditating or praying, and basically by engaging in any type of activity that helps you to relax.
Drink Good Water
The quality of your drinking water and the amount of water you’re drinking daily is also important when it comes to mineral dysregulation.
Over-hydrating with low-quality water can actually flush out essential minerals from your body.
So make sure you’re drinking high-quality, toxin-free water. You can read this post – Ultimate Guide to Toxin-free Drinking Water -to discover my favorite water filtration system.
And instead of drinking tons of water every day, incorporate some organic orange juice, coconut water, aloe vera juice, and coffee throughout the day.
These beverages are loaded with bioavailable vitamins and minerals.
Eat Whole Foods
It’s also really important to eat whole foods that are rich in bioavailable minerals
If you want to replenish your minerals incorporate the foods listed below into your daily diet.
- Raw carrots
- Beef and liver from grass-fed cows
- White potatoes
- Orange juice
- Organic eggs
- Raw milk from grass-fed cows
- Raw cheese from grass-fed cows
- Raw butter from grass-fed cows
- Bone broth
- Coconut oil
- White rice
- Maple Syrup
These foods are all extremely rich in bio-available nutrients!
Many of the foods on this list have been demonized over the years. If you’ve been submersed in diet culture, like I was, you have a lot of unlearning to do.
Unfortunately, diet culture and giant food corporations have led us to believe that food in its most natural state is bad for us. And instead, foods that are not actually foods, but are frankenfoods, are good for us.
Supplementation can either make or break a healthy body. Many supplements being pushed in the mainstream and alternative health communities cause severe mineral imbalances.
For example, taking an isolated zinc supplement will deplete your body of copper. Copper and zinc work in ratios and should be in balance within the body.
Whenever you have too much of one and not enough of the other problems will begin to arise within the body.
It’s best to get your minerals from whole food sources and supplements like desiccated beef liver, whole food vitamin C, shilajit, and magnesium.
Many of the supplements I take are based on the recommendations of the Root Cause Protocol.
The Root Cause Protocol
The Root Cause Protocol is a health protocol that was developed by Morley Robbins. The main goal of the Root Cause Protocol is to restore the balance of three key minerals in the body – magnesium, iron, and copper.
The topic of minerals can be extremely overwhelming. Fortunately, the Root Cause Protocol can guide you in the right direction when it comes to mineral balancing.
You can read this post – What is the Root Cause Protocol – to learn all about it.
As I mentioned before, the earth’s soil isn’t what it used to be. Much of it has been completely depleted of minerals. This is why it is extremely difficult to get the minerals your body needs from food alone.
In my opinion, supplementation is absolutely necessary to restore mineral balance within the body for most people and the Root Cause Protocol can guide you to the right supplements.
The Root Cause Protocol is a scientifically-backed protocol. Morley Robbins, the creator of the protocol, has immense knowledge about minerals and how they function in the body.
You can click here to download the Root Cause Protocol handbook for free. The handbook clearly outlines 14 things to stop doing and 19 things to start doing which will help restore mineral balance throughout the body.
I have been on a healing journey for quite a while now but it wasn’t until I learned about minerals and began implementing the Root Cause Protocol that I truly began to heal.
What really concerns me is that out of all my countless visits to the doctor over the years never once was I asked about nutrition or minerals.
In my opinion, minerals play a much bigger role in health and the human body than most people realize – even doctors!
So although it’s extremely important to get good sleep, spend time in the sun and in nature, and eat healthy foods – I think the missing piece of the health puzzle is minerals.
If you have a plant that is struggling then you make sure it’s getting adequate sun and water and if it still struggles you fertilize it with MINERALS.
Gardeners and farmers know how important minerals are – why don’t most doctors?
Most of the time plants will exhibit clear signs of a mineral deficiency and guess what – so do humans.
Unfortunately, most of these clear signs are labeled or diagnosed as some completely random illness rather than what it actually is – a mineral imbalance or deficiency!
Well, I know this was a lot of information to take in. As I mentioned earlier, the topic of minerals is extremely complex.
But I’ll definitely be sharing more about minerals for health in the future. Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section below.