Minerals play an important role in the basic metabolic pathways, they condition the proper functioning of cells, they are a building material for bones, teeth, skin and hair, are part of energy compounds, regulate the water and electrolyte balance and maintain the acid-base balance. They are also necessary to maintain the membrane potential, are responsible for the activity of the muscular and nervous system and regulate the activity of enzymes.
Consequences of mineral deficiency
There are minerals such as: magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium, iron, manganese, sulfur, phosphorus, molybdenum, selenium, iodine, cobalt, copper, vanadium, and zinc. Dietary restrictions or food selectivity may have health consequences related to their deficiency [1-2]. Deficiency symptoms can affect various systems and tissues and indirectly affect the biochemistry of the whole organism. Of course, not all of the minerals mentioned are needed in the same amount, so due to the demand we divide them into macro- and microelements . Macronutrients are those we need in doses greater than 100 mg per day and this group includes: magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and chlorine. However, the micronutrients include those that we need less than 100 mg per day and this group includes: iron, zinc, copper, manganese, molybdenum, iodine, fluorine, selenium and chromium.
Magnesium deficiency in the population it is a common problem - according to the Institute of Food and Nutrition, over 90% of men and 70% of women in Poland consume too little magnesium , and its chronic deficiency may be a risk factor for hypertension, insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. between a magnesium deficiency in the diet and the occurrence of migraine headaches, depression or anxiety disorders.
A similar situation may apply to potassium, the sufficient consumption of which (AI), according to the recommendations of the Food and Nutrition Institute in 2020, is 3500 mg / day, which may be a deficient element due to the very high demand .
Another big problem is the disturbance of the sodium to potassium ratio, which should be 1: 1. We supply sodium with salt and in processed foods. Its consumption in most people is well above the reference value. Disturbance in the ratio of sodium to potassium translates into an increase in blood pressure , as well as a disruption of the sodium-potassium pump. Potassium deficiency in the body can be manifested by: muscle weakness, smooth muscle dysfunction, complications of the cardiovascular system, glucose intolerance or even hearing impairment. The deficiency of this element may be responsible for frequent viral infections .
It is a component of enzymes that take part in antioxidant and anabolic processes, it is also important in the formation of thyroid hormones, DNA synthesis and is responsible for reproductive functions. Selenium deficiency is rarely diagnosed as much depends on its content in the soil in which the plants grow and on the variety of the diet. The group of people particularly exposed to selenium deficiency includes: cigarette smokers, the elderly and people with a poorly diversified diet. Symptoms that may suggest a deficiency of this element may include: frequent viral infections, cardiomyopathy, peripheral myopathy, decreased muscle tone, hair thinning, clouding of nails or anemia.
As an essential element, it influences structural functions in proteins and acts as a catalytic component in over 300 different enzymes. Zinc is present in almost all cells, but it is essential for growth, immune system function, cognition, and healthy bones . It is also essential for the immune system, where it affects both the innate and adaptive functions of immune cells.
Zinc deficiency can cause thymus atrophy, worsening of autoimmune diseases, inflammation, sexual dysfunction, increased susceptibility to viral infections, lymphopenia, and decreased primary and secondary antibody responses .
If taken regularly, it can reduce the risk of developing a cold and reduce the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections. The incidence of zinc deficiency in the world is estimated at over 20%, which is a fairly frequent nutritional problem. People at risk of deficiency of this mineral include: children and adolescents in the period of intensive growth, people with malabsorption syndrome, alcohol abusers, with chronic kidney disease, the elderly (65 years and older) and vegetarians whose zinc requirement may even be higher. 50% higher due to the high level of phytates that reduce the absorption of zinc.
Enrich your drinking water
The bioavailability of minerals is the efficiency with which each of them is used by the body. Bioavailability depends on absorption from the gastrointestinal tract and then on the use of a given component by tissues. Among the factors that have the greatest impact on bioavailability are the so-called intestinal factors , influenced by:
- the availability of the mineral (dietary quality) and the chemical form of the nutrient;
- the presence of binders, e.g. fiber, phytates, oxalates;
- competitive interactions between ingredients, e.g. iron and calcium, zinc and magnesium;
- intestinal health;
- digestive process, the presence of food that may modify absorption.
Additionally , with age the ability to absorb nutrients from food deteriorates , therefore it is important to maintain the variety of food products, as well as to use good-quality water or to enrich it .
Why is the liquid form of minerals an advantage?
The absorption of minerals from the gastrointestinal tract relies on two main routes of transport. The first is passive transport , which consists in the free passage of the mineral through ion channels together with water. The second transport mechanism is the use of specific proteins on the surface of the gastrointestinal cells (enterocytes). The downside of this type of absorption is the rapid saturation of transporters, and in addition, interactions between food ingredients may occur, which hinder their effective use. A significant group of minerals such as magnesium, potassium, selenium, iodine and zinc use the first type of transport [5-6]. In order to use it effectively, the basic condition must be met - the mineral must be available in an ionized form , i.e. "dissolved". Only this form allows optimal access to the body's tissues.
Minerals play an important role in the body, they are involved in many processes necessary for life. A monotonous diet, stress, physical activity, poor water and food quality can lead to a depletion of internal stores that can only be seen over time, as there are no effective diagnostic methods to assess their content in the body. If we are aware of the "imperfections" of our diet or if we are at risk associated with worse absorption, then it is worth reaching for supplements with the best bioavailability - dissolved in water, i.e. in an ionized form.
- Zoroddu M. et al., The essential metals for humans: a brief overview, Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, Volume 195, 2019, pp. 120-129.
- Mehri A., Trace Elements in Human Nutrition (II) - An Update. Int J Prev Med. 2020 Jan 3; 11: 2. doi: 10.4103 / ijpvm.IJPVM_48_19. PMID: 32042399; PMCID: PMC6993532.
- Sobotka L. et al. Fundamentals of clinical nutrition, PZWL, 2008.
- Mohd Nani Sz., Majid FA, Jaafar AB, Mahdzir A., Musa MN, Potential Health Benefits of Deep Sea Water: A Review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016; 2016: 6520475. doi: 10.1155 / 2016/6520475. Epub 2016 Dec 26. PMID: 28105060; PMCID: PMC5221345.
- Morris AL, Mohiuddin SS, Biochemistry, Nutrients. [Updated 2022 May 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554545/
- Maares M., Haase H., A Guide to Human Zinc Absorption: General Overview and Recent Advances of In Vitro Intestinal Models. Nutrients. 2020 Mar 13; 12 (3): 762. doi: 10.3390 / nu12030762. PMID: 32183116; PMCID: PMC7146416.
- Siener R., Jahnen A., Hesse A., Bioavailability of magnesium from different pharmaceutical formulations. Urol Res. 2011 Apr; 39 (2): 123-7. doi: 10.1007 / s00240-010-0309-y. Epub 2010 Sep 23. PMID: 20862466.
- Jarosz M., Rychlik E., Stoś K., Charzewska J. (ed.), Nutrition standards for the Polish population and their application, NIZP-PZH, 2020.