NUTRITIONAL INFO ON MINERALS AND OLIGO-ELEMENTS

Minerals and oligo or trace elements regulate all organic processes in the body, and are therefore indispensable to life. Since they are constantly being used up by your organism, you need to replenish your supplies regularly, by eating a well balanced diet.

You need to absorb fairly large amounts (at least 100 milligrams) of the following minerals each day:

– calcium

– chlorine

– magnesium

– phosphorous

– potassium

– sodium

– sulphur

Oligo-elements are required in much smaller amounts. They include:

– aluminum

– silver

– chromium

– cobalt

– copper

– iron

– fluorine

– iodine

– lithium

– manganese

– nickel

– selenium

– silica

– vanadium

– zinc

ALUMINUM

Small amounts of aluminum are found in vegetables and meat. This oligo-element is beneficial when absorbed in small quantities, but becomes toxic in larger doses.

Small amounts of aluminum promote better sleep, without any of the harmful side effects of sedatives (depression, impaired mental functions, etc).

Combined with zinc, it is also recommended for children suffering from mental or physical retardation, as well as for persons with memory problems.

Possible effects of an aluminum overdose

Very large doses of aluminum, taken over a substantial period of time, can cause speech problems, memory loss, general lethargy and senility.

A minor overdose can cause psoriasis and digestive problems.

To avoid absorbing too much of this oligo-element, it is usually best not to cook in aluminum pots.

CALCIUM

Calcium is the most important mineral required by your body. It represents 2% of your total body weight (about 1.2 kilograms or 2.5 pounds in normal adults) and constitutes 98% of your skeleton and teeth.

Calcium contained in the food you eat is absorbed by your intestines. Vitamin D is essential for this process. However, only 40% of your total calcium intake is assimilated.

In addition to its role in building teeth and bones, calcium:

– helps keep cells permeable;

– helps regulate nerve and muscle functions;

– maintains heart functions;

– affects blood coagulation.

Recommended daily dosage

Adults: between 500 and 800 milligrams (minimum)

Children, adolescents, and pregnant or breast-feeding women need to absorb more calcium on a daily basis.

Sources

Calcium is found in many foods:

– dairy products: milk, yogurt, cheese (especially hard white cheese like cheddar or gruyere)

– almonds, hazelnuts, dried fruit

– dried beans

– shellfish

– some types of mineral water (the calcium in bottled mineral water is not as easy for your body to assimilate, so it’s best to collect your own spring water directly from a source whenever possible).

Dairy products and calcium

You can obtain 300 milligrams of calcium from:

– a glass of milk (about 250 millilitres)

– 2 servings of yogurt

– 30 grams (a little over an ounce) of cheddar or gruyere cheese

– 80 to 100 grams (about 3 ounces) of soft cheese (Camembert)

– 300 grams (about 12 ounces) of cream cheese

As you can see, absorbing 1200 milligrams of calcium per day is not difficult – drinking half a quart of milk and eating 30 grams (just over an ounce) of cheddar cheese and 2 servings of yogurt will do the trick!

Fruits and vegetables also contain calcium, but in smaller amounts. For example, to absorb 300 milligrams of calcium you’d have to eat a kilogram (about 2 pounds) of oranges or 850 grams (one and a half pounds) of cabbage. In addition, the calcium in fruits and vegetables is harder for your body to absorb.

Other foods, like whole grains, contain very small amounts.

Effects of a calcium deficiency

A deficiency can cause calcium levels in the blood to drop, resulting in:

– neuromuscular problems (tetanus, spasms);

– skin problems

– dental problems

– brittle nails

– eye problems

– bone deformation (osteomalacia in adults, rickets in children)

Some diseases also cause the body to become calcium-deficient:

– chronic diarrhoea

– hypo-parathyroidism

– chronic renal insufficiency

– bone metastasis

– treatments to cure convulsions, leukemia, etc.

Persons suffering from any of these problems should be taking calcium supplements.

Note: Whole grains, legumes and nuts contain a substance called phytic acid which combines with calcium in the intestines, forming calcium phytate, which the body cannot absorb, resulting in a calcium deficiency.

To prevent a deficiency you have to absorb at least 400 milligrams of calcium per day.

Effects of too much calcium

Medication designed to neutralize hyperacidity (often prescribed for the treatment of stomach or intestinal ulcers) can produce an excess of calcium in the body.

Symptoms include:

– intense thirst and abundant urine

– appetite loss and nausea

– vomiting

– stones in the urinary tract

– renal insufficiency

– heart problems

– neuro-psychological problems

– calcification of tissues

Phosphorous / calcium metabolism and its effect on aging

Younger people are able to adapt to reductions in calcium and/or phosphorous intake through increased intestinal activity. Older persons lose this ability to adapt, as intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphorous decreases steadily, starting from the age of about 50 on.

Since older persons tend to eat less (especially calcium-rich foods), and since the kidneys are not able to compensate for the reduced intake, older persons often begin losing bone mass, which is essential for maintaining proper calcium/phosphorous homeostasis. The body then starts using up its reserves, drawing on calcium stored in bones.

A number of recent epidemiological studies have shown that older persons are clearly calcium-deficient. Researchers have less precise information about the phosphate ion, but an Italian study did show a moderate reduction in the fractional absorption of phosphorous in older subjects, notably women, and especially women suffering from osteoporosis.

How to increase the amount of calcium your intestines absorb

There are a number of ways to do this:

– Lactose seems to increase the absorption of calcium and facilitate its distribution. Ingesting more milk and dairy products will therefore have a positive impact on your calcium level.

– Maintaining the right phosphorous/calcium ratio (about 1 to 4) is important. If you ingest too much phosphorous, you absorb less calcium. Milk seems to have the perfect ratio.

– Also important is eating the right amount of protein: if you absorb too much protein you increase your need for calcium.

– Eating too much fibre seems to inhibit calcium assimilation.

Once again, the key is eating a balanced diet, containing all essential nutrients (proteins, lipids, sugars, fibre, etc.) in their proper proportions.

CHLORINE

Chlorine helps regulate the pH balance in your body (the balance between acid and alkaline substances). It helps maintain proper liver functions, and is therefore important for eliminating toxins. Most people get enough chlorine without having to make any dietary changes. Ingesting too much chlorine (by drinking too much tap water, for example) can:

– destroy Vitamin E and beneficial intestinal bacteria;

– result in the formation of chlorine composites, with a potentially toxic effect.

A chlorine deficiency can cause hair loss and tooth decay.

Sources

– table salt

– algae

– olives

– tap water

CHROMIUM

This oligo-element is one of the components of a biochemical complex called the glucose tolerance factor (GTF) which stimulates insulin activity, a process necessary for the transformation of glucose into energy. The GTF factor also helps lower cholesterol levels in the blood.

Daily recommended dosage: between 50 and 200 micrograms. This amount should be increased to about 1 milligram if chromium is ingested in the form of chromium salts, since only a small part is actually absorbed by the body

Elderly persons and pregnant women also need more chromium.

Because of its effect on the body’s sugar mechanism, chromium helps prevent and treat health problems caused by disruption of this metabolism (such as diabetes or hypoglycaemia). By lowering cholesterol levels in the blood, it also helps prevent heart and arterial disease.

Sources

– yeast, whole cereals

– meat

– seafood

– some condiments (black pepper, thyme)

COBALT

Since your body cannot synthesize its own cobalt, you need to get enough from the food you eat. Although the recommended dosage has not been clearly established, it is estimated that the average adult needs about 0.12 milligrams per day.

Sources

Cobalt is found mainly in animal products: meat, milk and dairy products, seafood.

Functions

Cobalt:

– stimulates the production of red blood cells. Combined with iron and nickel, it makes an effective treatment for iron-deficiency anaemia in children and pregnant women;

– helps regulate nerve functions, and can be used to treat various related disorders: spasms, migraines, hot flushes, palpitations, anxiety, etc.;

– helps alleviate physical and psychological symptoms of menopause;

– protects the body against cardiovascular disease.

Effects of a deficiency

Potential effects of a cobalt deficiency include:

– nervousness

– anaemia

– general fatigue

Strict vegetarians can easily develop a cobalt deficiency, which in turn results in a lack of Vitamin B12. They should therefore make sure to take cobalt supplements.

COPPER

Although present in the body in very small amounts – 75 to 150 milligrams – copper plays an extremely important role regulating organic functions. It is always combined with other oligo-elements, notably zinc, manganese, iron and magnesium.

Most of the copper in your body is found in your liver. There’s also a relatively large amount in your brain. Other organs and tissues contain much less. The liver of a newborn infant contains about 7 times more copper than the liver of an adult. It takes between 5 and 15 years for a child’s copper level to drop to the level of an adult.

Sources

Substantial amounts of copper are found in:

– oleaginous fruit (nuts – the best food source)

– liver and meat (except beef and mutton)

– fish, seafood and shellfish

– legumes (peas, chick peas, etc.)

– green vegetables

– fresh fruit

– pepper

Milk, dairy products and white bread contain very little copper.

Functions

– Copper is one of the composites of a number of enzymes necessary for reduction processes in the body;

– it is involved in the synthesis of proteins, iron absorption and the formation of red blood cells;

– it helps fight bacterial and viral infections by stimulating the reticulo-endothelial system, and regulating thyroid and adrenal gland functions.

Effects of absorbing too much copper

Symptoms of an excess of copper resemble those caused by an excess of iron, zinc, manganese or magnesium:

– insomnia

– hypertension

– arthritis

– depression or nervous agitation

– various liver disorders

A natural way to reduce copper levels in your body is to absorb more zinc and Vitamin C, in sufficient doses.

FLUORINE

Fluorine is an essential component of bones and tooth enamel. Many water treatment plants add fluorine to drinking water, but some experts claim this can be dangerous over the long term.

Women approaching menopause should absorb more fluorine to prevent osteoporosis. Fluorine enhances the bonding of calcium in the body, and is therefore indispensable for keeping bone tissue healthy. It also stimulates the synthesis of tissue-strengthening collagen.

An average adult should absorb about 1 milligram of fluorine per day.

A lack of fluorine can cause fertility problems, related to improper pituitary functions.

Persons with fragile joints, and athletes who put a lot of strain on their bones should absorb more fluorine from time to time.

Taken in very large doses (more than 20 milligrams per day), fluorine becomes toxic. It can also be harmful if too much is absorbed over long periods, causing fluorine to accumulate in the body. An excess of fluorine can cause irreparable damage to bones and teeth.

Sources

– drinking water

– seafood, algae

– tea

GOLD

Gold stimulates cellular activity and strengthens your body’s immune system by activating white blood cells.

Gold is also a powerful anti-infectious agent, like silver and copper, with which it is often combined. It is bonded in the liver and spleen, and in bone marrow.

Because of its polyvalent structure, gold can be used to treat all biological functions, organs and types of terrain:

– cardiovascular problems

– hypertension

– haemorrhoids

– varicosity

– tuberculosis

– neoplasia

– ear, nose and throat infections in children

– etc.

It can also be used to:

– stimulate growth

– accelerate the healing of lesions, cuts and wounds.

Gold, combined with copper and silver, acts as a multi-purpose antibiotic. It is especially effective for combating:

– tuberculosis bacteria and rheumatism (combined with sulphur)

– gonococcus bacteria (combined with silver)

– streptococcus bacteria (combined with tin)

– cancer (combined with Vitamin C, selenium, platinum, copper and nickel).

IODINE

Iodine is an essential oligo-element used to produce hormones (especially thyroxin) produced by the thyroid gland.

These hormones regulate the speed of metabolic functions, and especially the metabolism of fats, in all your organs. They also strengthen your hair, nails, skin and teeth.

Recommended daily dosage 120 to 200 micrograms per day for an average adult. Dosage should be increased slightly for children during puberty, and for pregnant or breast-feeding women.

Sources

– marine algae are incredibly rich in iodine (700 milligrams per 100 grams)

– soybean

– smoked herring

– seafood and shellfish

– garlic

– dried fruit and legumes

Effects of a deficiency

Many people lack iodine. Symptoms resulting from insufficient thyroid secretions include:

– general fatigue

– constipation

– sudden loss of energy

– goitre, a disease formerly prevalent in poor mountain regions

– obesity

– cold extremities

– impaired mental functions

These symptoms only occur when less than 30 to 40 micrograms of iodine are absorbed over a prolonged period of time.

IRON

Iron is the most abundant oligo-element in the human body, and is essential for the production of haemoglobin. 70% of the organic iron in your body is used to manufacture haemoglobin. The rest is found in the myoglobin of muscles, and in a number of enzymes essential for metabolic exchanges.

An average adult organism contains about 4 grams of iron. The body only absorbs about 10% of the iron found in food. Absorption is enhanced by Vitamin C, and inhibited by phytic acid (in the husks of grains) and by certain medicines, notably tetracycline-type antibiotics, and antacids.

Recommended daily dosage

Needs vary between 7 and 18 milligrams per day, depending on age. In proportion to body weight, the needs of a newborn infant are much higher than those of older children or adults.

Between puberty and menopause, women need almost twice as much iron as men because of the additional iron lost during menstruation.

More iron is needed by pregnant women (especially during the last four months of pregnancy) and women who are breast-feeding.

A normal diet provides us with between 10 and 15 milligrams of iron per day. Because we absorb only a part of that total, the iron we obtain from food does not meet our daily requirement in most cases.

Sources

Good sources of iron include:

– shellfish

– liver and other organs, meat, blood pudding

– eggs (especially yolks)

– cocoa

– dried legumes

– dried fruit and nuts

Dairy products and most fruit and vegetables contain very little iron.

Effects of an iron deficiency

A lack of iron can cause:

– anaemia

– extreme pallor

– chronic fatigue

– breathing problems during physical effort

Women with abundant menstrual flow run a much higher risk of developing an iron deficiency. Persons on a strict or unbalanced diet are also at risk. Since the body needs more iron during pregnancy and while breast-feeding, care must be taken to prevent a deficiency.

In addition to the dietary factor, certain diseases characterized by chronic bleeding can cause a deficiency:

– bleeding ulcers

– recto-colitis with haemorrhage

– post-operative bleeding

LITHIUM

This oligo-element is currently being used to treat a variety of psychological disorders, including:

– nervousness

– anxiety

– instability

– irritability

– aggression

– hyperactivity

– mood swings, obsessive or manic behaviour

– depression

– behaviour problems in children, adults and the elderly

– professional or personal adaptation problems

Other beneficial effects:

– lithium makes uric acid more soluble;

– it constitutes an effective treatment for hypertension;

– it combats obesity and cellulite and regularizes circulation;

– it is particularly recommended during menopause, to treat nervous or circulatory problems which tend to arise during this critical period;

– some types of dermatitis or pruritis, related to psychological problems, have been successfully treated with lithium;

– combined with aluminum, it can be used to treat sleep and memory problems;

– combined with copper and silver, it is used to treat insomnia of psychological origin.

Recommended daily dosage

An average adult should be getting between 100 and 200 micrograms of lithium per day.

Sources

In its natural state, lithium is found mainly in whole grains and seeds.

MAGNESIUM

Recent research on both sides of the Atlantic has shed new light on the biological importance of magnesium. Over 70% of the body’s magnesium is found in bones, combined with calcium and phosphorous. The rest is found in soft tissue (muscles, nerve tissue, viscera, etc.) and in bodily fluids.

Functions

Magnesium is necessary for:

– the production and transfer of energy

– muscular contractions

– the synthesis of proteins

– triggering nerve cells

The metabolism of magnesium is directly linked to that of calcium, phosphorous and potassium. Your diet can be a factor in inhibiting the retention of magnesium, or increasing your body’s need for the mineral: calcium, proteins, sugar and phosphate all affect how magnesium is absorbed.

Recommended daily dosage

The average daily requirement for adults is 5 milligrams per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight. That would equal 350 milligrams for a person weighing 70 kilos (about 150 pounds).

Pregnant and breast-feeding women need to absorb more magnesium: 400 milligrams per day.

Athletes and physically active persons should absorb even more: about 500 mg per day.

Sources

Good sources of magnesium include:

– cocoa, chocolate

– whole grains, whole grain rice, whole grain bread

– oleaginous fruit (nuts)

– mollusks

– dried legumes (peas, lentils, etc.)

Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency

Deficiencies occur frequently, especially among persons on weight-loss programs. Foods rich in magnesium are also often rich in calories.

Magnesium deficiencies are also found among:

– pregnant or breast-feeding women;

– alcoholics;

– people who are generally undernourished;

– persons suffering from certain diseases (pancreatitis, diabetes, hypo-parathyroidism, hyperthyroidism, etc.).

The signs of a deficiency are:

– general fatigue

– cramps

– nervousness

– anxiety

– muscular pain

– palpitations

– tetanus without calcium deficit

– spasms

Magnesium supplements usually cure spasms without the need to take other medications (calcium, tranquilizers, etc.).

MANGANESE

Manganese is absorbed slowly and with some difficulty by the small intestine. The small amount of manganese that is absorbed is mainly stored in the liver.

This oligo-element is essential for certain types of enzyme activity, notably the metabolism of Vitamins B1, B8 and C, as well as carbohydrates and fat.

Manganese also affects:

– reproduction (the formation of female sex hormones)

– nervous system functions

– bone growth

– joint disorders

Recommended daily dosage

Manganese levels in the body diminish as people get older. Bone and joint problems can be caused by a lack of manganese just as well as by a lack of calcium.

Daily requirements are still not established, although current recommendations range between 3 and 7 milligrams per day. Supplements contain up to 10 milligrams.

Sources

– nuts

– wholegrains

– green leafy vegetables

Deficiency symptoms

– multiple allergies with no apparent cause

– pancreatic problems

– frequent injuries to knees and cartilage (athletes in particular)

– growing pains in children

– joint and back problems

– rheumatoid polyarthritis

– internal ear disorders

– sterility

– diabetes

– general fatigue

NICKEL

In the past most problems associated with nickel were caused by an excess rather than a lack. Absorbing too much nickel can cause liver problems and/or dermatitis.

Contamination from external sources is still widespread, as nickel is used to manufacture a variety of common products: eyeglass frames, cooking utensils, costume jewellery, etc., not to mention money. Excess contact can cause eczema or dermatitis.

Functions

Your body contains about 10 milligrams of nickel. The element is involved in a number of biological reactions:

– as a component of DNA (nucleic acid), nickel helps maintain the structure of the cell nucleus;

– metabolizing carbohydrates and storing them in the liver;

– metabolizing lipids;

– acting as a sedative by inhibiting adrenaline secretions;

– lowering blood pressure and regulating heart functions (recommended if you suffer from high blood pressure).

Daily recommended dosage

Between 0.2 and 0.5 milligrams should cover the daily requirements of an average adult.

Absorption of nickel by the body seems easily inhibited, as testing of hair reveals frequent deficiencies.

Nickel, combined with cobalt, makes an effective treatment for iron deficiency anaemia, as it facilitates the assimilation of iron.

PHOSPHOROUS

Your body contains more phosphorous than any other mineral except calcium. An average adult weighing 70 kilograms (about 150 pounds) has about 700 grams (28 ounces) of phosphorous, 600 grams of which are found in bones.

Phosphorous plays an important role in cellular formation and exchanges, and the transformation of food into energy. Combined with calcium (tricalcic phosphate) it forms the mineral frame work of the body’s bone structure.

Recommended daily dosage

You need about the same amount of phosphorous as calcium: 800 milligrams per day for an average adult. Requirements are slightly higher for growing adolescents and pregnant or breast-feeding women.

Sources

– cheese

– egg yolk

– nuts

– dried legumes

– chocolate

– sardines, tuna and other fish, shellfish and seafood

– meat

Symptoms of a deficiency

Possible causes of a deficiency include:

– alcoholism

– antacid medicines

– barbiturates

– pregnancy

– a lack of vitamins

Symptoms include:

– physical and nervous fatigue

– muscular atonia

– anaemia

– aggravation of existing health problems

Effects of too much phosphorous

Our diet currently contains an excess of phosphorous, as phosphates are added to many foods: processed meats, cheese dips, creamy desserts, soft drinks, etc. Too much phosphorous can cause behavioural problems in children, and a loss of bone calcium, resulting in osteoporosis. Limiting your intake of junk food and other industrially processed foods will benefit both your bones and your figure!

POTASSIUM

The body of an average person weighting 70 kilograms (about 150 pounds) contains about 170 grams (6 ounces) of potassium, most of which (90 to 93%) is found in cells.

Functions

– potassium (like sodium) is essential for keeping cell membranes permeable;

– it is indispensable for the metabolism of proteins and sugars;

– it plays ail important role in stimulating neuromuscular activity, and regulating heart functions.

Recommended daily dosage

Adults: 0.5 to 3 grams per day. Since a normal diet provides between 2 and 4 grams of potassium, supplements are rarely necessary.

Sources

Foods rich in potassium include:

– dried legumes

– dried fruit

– nuts

– meat

– smoked fish and some cooked fish

– vegetables

– chocolate

– bananas, grapefruit

Deficiency symptoms

Some medical treatments can cause patients to develop a potassium deficiency:

– prolonged cortisone therapy

– certain diuretics

– a strict no-salt diet

– the abuse of laxatives

A magnesium deficiency is almost always accompanied by a lack of potassium.

Symptoms of a deficiency vary:

– cramps in the limbs

– cramps in the heart muscle (a potential cause of fibrillation and fatal heart attacks)

– abnormal muscular fatigue

– general fatigue

Athletes can lose a lot of minerals (especially sodium and potassium) through perspiration. This, in turn, can cause cramps and cardiac arrest. An effective preventive measure consists of drinking a large glass of grapefruit juice before engaging in strenuous physical effort, and taking a potassium capsule along with another glass of fruit juice during the effort. Joggers should be especially careful.

Too much potassium

It is rare for people to absorb too much potassium. Possible causes are medications prescribed for kidney or adrenal insufficiency, and the combination of certain medications designed to treat high blood pressure.

SELENIUM

Selenium has been the object of a number of studies in recent years. Preliminary results seem to indicate that this oligo-element is just as important as Vitamins C.

Functions

Selenium:

– helps combat aging in all its forms

– has anti-carcinogenic properties;

– helps prevent cardiovascular diseases;

– stimulates the immune system;

– helps rid the body toxins (metals, alcohol, smoke, tobacco);

– helps keep the skin elastic;

– increases sexual potency in men;

– prevents the formation of cataracts (too much selenium has the opposite effect – it can actually cause cataracts).

Taking regular selenium cures protects the body against degenerating diseases and slows down the aging process. Selenium also purifies the organism by eliminating toxic metals like cadmium and mercury.

Recommended daily dosage

Adults: 50 to 150 micrograms. Children: less than 50 micrograms.

Sources

– Wheat germ

– whole grains (wheat and rice)

– onions

– yeast

– pineapple

– meat, fish, seafood

– ginseng

The amount of selenium in your diet depends on the richness of the soil your foods are grown in (or the quality of feed given to livestock). Note that the soil of many northern countries has been largely stripped of its selenium content, gradually washed away (along with zinc, sulphur and iodine) by melting ice after the last ice age.

Deficiency symptoms

Populations living in these regions poor in selenium are more subject to cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

SILICON

The human body contains about 18 grams (0.6 ounces) of silicon. Along with calcium, this mineral is one of the main constituents of bones and conjunctive tissue (maintaining collagen and elastine fibres).

Functions

Silicon can be compared to glue, as it holds cells together and combats the aging process. It also:

– strengthens bones;

– accelerates the healing of fractures;

– helps keep the skin, hair and nails healthy;

– strengthens conjunctive tissue;

– helps fight cellulite and is prescribed as a treatment for water retention (because of its diuretic effect);

– stimulates the endocrine glands, making it an important growth factor for children;

– balances the nervous system;

– helps cure warts (combined with magnesium and aluminum), osteitis and adenopathy;

– re-hydrates the skin and mucous membranes;

– heals lesions in skin or bone tissue;

– helps prevent or cure prostate problems;

– helps combat high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Sources

Look for silicon in:

– plants with strong stems and leaves (horsetail);

– the peel of fruits and the husks of grains;

– onions, garlic, shallots.

You can also buy organic silicon gel that is easier to assimilate than the silicon in some foods.

Silicon is indispensable for persons suffering from osteoporosis (it is even more effective as a preventive measure) since it facilitates the bonding of calcium.

Children who have joint problems during periods of intense growth should take silicon supplements.

SILVER

Silver has been used as an antiseptic since ancient times. It prevents the spread of bacteria, and makes an effective treatment for a variety of infectious diseases, especially when combined with copper and gold. Together, these three oligo-elements act as a natural antibiotic.

Silver also helps reduce fever, and strengthens the body’s immune system. For these reasons it is recommended for all types of infections, including:

– gynaecological infections, septicemia and pneumonia (combined with selenium);

– infectious endocarditis (combined with phosphorous);

– typhoid, erysipelas, scarlet fever, acute articular rheumatism and infectious rheumatism (combined with manganese and copper;

– flu and possible complications (combined with copper);

– angina, nose and throat infections, pulmonary infections (combined with manganese, copper and gold).

SODIUM

Sodium is found mainly in the blood and extra-cellular fluids. The salt added to food is sodium chloride, 40% of which is actual sodium. In other words, 1 gram of salt contains 400 milligrams of sodium. Sodium is extremely important for maintaining the delicate balance between various bodily fluids. Swelling of the legs or large pouches under the eyes are both warning signs of too much salt in your system. As you may know, an excess of salt can cause high blood pressure.

Sources

Absorbing too much sodium is more of a problem than not getting enough. Foods that contain a lot of sodium, and are therefore to be eaten in moderation, include:

– table salt, of course!

– algae

– smoked meat and fish

– olives

– processed meats

– shrimp

– commercially prepared sauces, salad dressings, etc.

– some types of mineral water (check labels)

– pickles, capers, salted crackers

– fish eggs

– sausages, hot dogs, etc.

Deficiency symptoms

A lack of sodium only occurs under abnormal conditions. Potential causes include:

– diarrhoea

– vomiting

– excessive perspiration

– acute kidney insufficiency

– chronic nephritis

– a strict no-salt diet accompanied by diuretic medication.

Symptoms include excessive hydration of cells and simultaneous dehydration of extra-cellular fluids.

SULPHUR

Sulphur is a component of some amino acids and B-complex vitamins. It is involved in a number of metabolic functions, in the formation of conjunctive tissue, and in replenishing the brain’s oxygen supply. It’s antioxidant properties help prevent aging by maintaining cerebral functions and preventing arthritis from affecting joints.

Sulphur is a universal pain-killer and an anti-allergen (like manganese). It is often used to treat arthritis, asthma, skin eruptions, migraines and rheumatism.

Many treatments for skin disorders, allergic syndromes and liver or gallbladder disorders contain sulphur. It can also be used to treat various respiratory problems, including asthma, bronchitis, chronic laryngitis, rhinitis, etc.

Sulphur tones the skin and makes hair softer. A lack of sulphur causes hair and nails to become dull and brittle.

Sources

– proteins: meat, fish, eggs

– dried beans

– onion and garlic

ZINC

The human body contains a very small amount of zinc: 300 milligrams per kilogram (2.2pounds) of body weight, or about 1.7 to 2.4 grams in an average adult.

Nevertheless, zinc is extremely important. It is a component of over 80 enzymes, and thus plays a role in a large number of metabolic processes, notably the metabolism of:

– lipids (fat)

– carbohydrates

– proteins

– nucleic acids

You need more zinc during periods of stress.

Sources

– oysters (very rich in zinc)

– horse meat

– whole grain bread

– egg yolk

– liver

– veal

– fish, shellfish and seafood

– pumpkin seeds

Deficiency symptoms

Deficiencies often occur in countries where the diet contains a lot of phytic acid (Iran, Egypt, etc.). Symptoms include:

– retarded growth (with occasional dwarfism);

– retarded sexual development;

– skin problems (these generally disappear as more zinc is absorbed).

In western countries zinc deficiencies have been observed in persons suffering from a liver insufficiency, severe infections or physical trauma (severe burns, heart attack, serious surgery. broken bones, etc.). * * *

This completes the list of vitamins, minerals and oligo-elements that are essential for health. Do your best to eat a varied, balanced diet so that your body has a steady supply of all these nutrients and energy sources.

And remember – the key is not quantity, but proportion. Although amounts may vary from individual to individual, the right proportions of all these nutrients remains more or less constant for everyone.

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