It is understood that 4 percent of human body constitutes minerals. It is not possible to make minerals inside the body and they have to be obtained from food. According to the study carried out in 1992, the current soils in US have 86 percent less minerals than they used to have 100 years ago. A good soil is supposed to have 45 percent of it as minerals. The burnt bodies of animals and plants will leave back minerals to the earth, which was the source of minerals that were added up into the body during its creation.
It is estimated that there are 103 minerals that are known to be existing. Human body needs about 18 of them to keep it healthy. There are two groups of minerals that are required by the body. They are micro and macro minerals. All of these minerals have to be present in the body in required quantities. Macro-minerals include calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sodium, sulfur and chloride. Micro-minerals include boron, iron, chromium, iodine, manganese, molybdenum, silicon, selenium, vanadium, lithium, zinc, germanium, cobalt, rubidium and copper.
One of the most important functions of minerals is that they act as co-factors for enzymes in their reactions. All the cells need minerals for the functioning of enzymes. Minerals are responsible for maintaining the pH balance in the body. They help in allowing the transfer of nutrients through the cell membranes. Sodium and potassium help in the nerve conduction and in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, magnesium, chloride, iodine and sulfur help in regulating the tissue growth in the body and in providing growth in the structural and functional aspects of the body.
The three main roles of minerals in the body are regulation of body fluids in and out of the cells, construction of strong bones and teeth and converting the food taken into energy. Bones are found constantly reabsorbing and reforming in the body. Many minerals form part of the lattice structure of the bones. Calcium is found in large amounts in the body seen present in bones and blood. Apart from the calcium, the strength and density of the bones is given by magnesium and phosphorus. Calcium and fluoride builds strong teeth. There is a possibility that osteoporosis might result from deficiency in calcium due to poor nutrition. Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become brittle and less dense.
Red blood cells consist of iron that binds to oxygen to carry it to the tissues. Deficiency of iron leads to anemia that causes fatigue and weakness. Iron is also found to be useful to the liver, bone marrow, spleen and muscles and it is stored in all of these organs. Potassium is helpful in the normal functioning of the muscles and the nervous system. The water balance in the cells of the nerves and muscles is maintained properly in the presence of potassium. Potassium is useful in creating an impulse that helps in signaling the body to move and to make the muscles of the heart and other organs to contract and relax.
Zinc is beneficial to keep the immune system strong and fight with the infections. It is required for healing the wounds and for the cell repair. Selenium is an antioxidant while copper, molybdenum and manganese form part of many enzymes. Chromium regulates blood sugar levels.