Minerals in our diets – Chromium

Chromium is controversial. There is no known biological role that the element plays in the body, however, Cr 3+is found in the body. A quick Internet search does find websites that claim it is needed to stabilize sugar and that it is also used in enzymes but the consensual opinion* seems to disagree with this. * More on the consensual opinion tomorrow. Chromium is still found in vitamin supplements. Why, I am not sure but probably due to the fact that there have ...

Minerals in the diet – Manganese

Manganese is a trace element that is needed in the body and a healthy adult will have around 12 - 20 mg of it in their body 1. It is needed for healthy bone development as well as in the production of the hormone thyroxine. Manganese is absorbed as Mn 2+ ions. Deficiencies of it in the diet are rare but may manifest themselves in conditions such as poor bone development or the slowed growth of hair and nails. A good ...

Minerals in the diet – Copper

Copper is required in the body in enzymes associated with oxygen and electron transport. It seems as if nature has chosen copper for this role as it is easy to reduce it from Cu 2+ to Cu + and then to oxidise it again from Cu + to Cu 2+. Because of this, it is needed as an essential trace element. In other words, it is essential but only needed in very small quantities (around 3mg per day) 1. Good sources of copper in ...

Minerals in our diet – Selenium

Selenium, Se is needed in the body as the Se 2+ ion. Deficiencies of Selenium in the diet are rare but there is a possible link between a lack of selenium in the diet and cancer. 1 Foods that are rich in selenium include nuts, cereals, meat, fish and eggs. Too much selenium in the diet can be a problem and there have been documented cases of selenium poisoning by people who have eaten foods that are rich in the metal. The foods ...

Minerals in our diets – Potassium

Potasium ions (K+) are vital minerals needed in out diet. Our body needs potassium for the nervous system to work effectively and for cellular osmotic pressure to be maintained. Potassium ions are generally found in cells (and sodium ions found outside cells). The sodium / potassium ATPase pump is responsible for maintaining the correct concentration of the ion. It is also involved in muscle contraction (although this is linked to the nervous system). Deficiencies of potassium are very rare as it is ...

Iodine in the body

Iodine in the body was highlighted in the recent Japanese earthquake. With the Fukishima nuclear power station clearly leaking, radioactive Iodine was released into the sea water. This led to fears that marine organisms would ingest the iodine, it would move up the food chain and bioaccumulate in humans in the thyroid gland. These fears were put down as the radioactive iodine in question has a very short half life and it was felt that the isotope would have decayed sufficiently ...

Essential Minerals – Magnesium

Magnesium ions, Mg 2+ are linked to ATP (ATP is the chemical that cells use to obtain energy). Over 300 enzymes are known to rely on the catalytic action of the magnesium ions. It is also essential to enzymes that synthesise DNA and RNA. The average human contains around 24g in their body (1 mole!) and a deficiency of magnesium can lead to asthma, diabetes and osteoporosis. Leafy vegetables are excellent sources of magnesium as chlorophyll contains a porphyrin ring datively bonded ...

Essential Minerals – Zinc

The RDA (recommended daily amount) of Zinc for a typical adult is approx 10mg daily. It is present in most food but notable food with a high concentration of it include oysters, beef and sesame seeds. By Thomas Splettstoesser (www.scistyle.com) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsIt is used by the body in cellular respiration and there are approx 100 enzymes in the body that require zinc1. It also has roles in the enzymes involved in the ...

Minerals in the diet – Phosphorous

Phosphorous makes up less than 1% of a persons body weight, yet it is found in every cell 1. In the body, it is found as phosphate, PO43-. There are two key uses of phosphorus in the body: It is needed in bones and teeth (as apatite, a mineral of phosphorus). To produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is often known as the energy currency of cells and transfers energy in cells. Image reproduced according to the licence at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Adenosintriphosphat_protoniert.svg Cells, essentially get energy from ATP by ...

Minerals in our food – Calcium

Yesterday, I posted a question asking for (bones aside) two uses of calcium in the body. Well, we need it for teeth but also for muscle contraction (especially in the heart) and the release of neurotransmitters. So if you got these as your answers, award yourself 100 points. By No machine-readable author provided. Gleam~commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims). [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) via Wikimedia CommonsIt should be noted that the body does not use calcium metal, but calcium2+ ions (Ca2+). However, ...