Symptoms and Side Effects of Mineral Deficiency

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Our bodies are designed to work with the natural elements found in our food. Plants create vitamins and pull minerals from the soil to serve specific functions, like protection from disease or energy production. We then repurpose these nutrients after we consume them. Minerals are an interesting case. They are inorganic elements found in the earth’s crust, but these often must be combined with organic molecules to become usable by the human body. Many are toxic in the forms found in soil, but absolutely essential in the forms created for us by nature in order for us to survive.

symptoms_and_side_effect_of_mineral_deficiency_picOur modern diet includes many minerals, but many are lacking as processing, high heat, and oxidization destroy what our bodies need. On top of this, modern agricultural practices strip the soil of minerals through overuse and pesticides that kill beneficial microbes. We enrich foods, but many of these enriched foods contain synthetic forms, not the organic compounds our bodies recognize from food. The best way to get the minerals we need is to turn back to the plant foods that have been nurtured by rich soil. 

Magnesium

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals to the body. It promotes the absorption and metabolizing of other minerals, including sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium. This means magnesium is crucial to proper hydration, acid-alkaline balance, and muscle contractions, including the heart. Magnesium is involved in the creation of enzymes that control the metabolism of carbohydrates and amino acids. It is also important to bone growth and even helps in the absorption of vitamins like C and the B complex vitamins.

Deficiency symptoms:

  • Excitability or irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Cramps
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Tremors
  • Calcification of tissues

Calcium

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, most of that found within bones and teeth.  Calcium does much more than ensure strong bones and healthy chompers. It also regulates heartbeat, controls the acid-alkaline balance of blood, is a part of blood clotting, aids the function of neurotransmitters, helps build muscle, and plays a role in the creation of some hormones.

Deficiency symptoms:

deficiency_of_calcium_can_cause_bone_pain_pic

  • Arthritis
  • Muscle or bone pain, especially in back and neck
  • Brittle nails
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Numbness
  • Kidney stones
  • Cramps
  • Spasms
  • Nervousness
  • Tooth decay
  • Osteoporosis

Iron

Iron is vital to the movement of oxygen throughout the body via the blood stream. Iron forms the very important, oxygen carrying part of the protein hemoglobin, but is also a key element of other proteins, mainly enzymes, that aid in digestion and help along other bodily functions. Iron deficiency is the most common deficiency in the world.

Deficiency symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Anemia
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Foggy memory
  • Lowered immune function
  • Sore tongue
  • Ice eating

Potassium

Potassium is an essential mineral, found in every cell of the body. As an electrolyte, potassium is vital to water balance, proper hydration, and controlled blood pressure. Potassium is also involved in muscle and nerve function, plays a role in metabolism, and helps transfer oxygen to the brain.

Deficiency symptoms:

are_you_getting_all_the_nutrients_your_body_needs_image

  • Muscle weakness
  • Spasms and cramps
  • Muscle aches and stiffness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Numbness or paralysis
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Fatigue

Sodium

Sodium works with potassium to regulate water balance and equalize the acid-alkaline properties of blood. It is also found in every cell of the body. Sodium is prevalent in our modern diets and usually over consumed as we lean on more processed foods that use forms of sodium as preservatives and flavoring. More than we need leads to high blood pressure and other concerns, but there are circumstances where someone can become deficient. An extended low sodium diet, the use of diuretics, or excessive sweating can result in deficiency.

Deficiency symptoms:

  • Gas
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Disorientation
  • Cramps
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Seizures

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body and, like potassium and sodium, is found in every cell. Phosphorus must be balanced with calcium for either one to be fully effective. Phosphorus plays a role in almost every chemical reaction within the body, including metabolism, energy production, muscle contractions, cellular division, and the use of B vitamins.

Deficiency symptoms:

  • phosphorus_plays_a_role_in_energy_production_picWeak bones or teeth
  • Joint pain or stiffness
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Less appetite
  • Hair loss
  • Numbness
  • Anemia

Sulfur

Sulfur is found in every living cell, though at much lower concentrations than the previous minerals. This doesn’t make sulfur unimportant though, as it is a major component of many proteins. This means it is a part of enzymes, connective tissue, joints, skin, hair, nails, and more. Sulfur also plays a part in regulating insulin, carbohydrate metabolism, and cellular respiration.

Deficiency symptoms:

  • Acne, eczema, or itchy skin or scalp
  • Brittle hair or nails
  • Headaches
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Depression
  • Convulsions
  • Memory loss
  • Slow healing
  • Sore throat
  • Hay fever
  • Lowered immune function

Selenium

Selenium is a mineral that acts as an antioxidant, protecting the body from damaging free radicals. Selenium helps in the prevention of premature aging, cancer, arteriosclerosis, cirrhosis, arthritis, and stroke. It preserves the elasticity of tissues that can be lost as we age. Deficiency is rare.

Deficiency symptoms:

  • selenium_helps_prevent_premature_aging_imageFatigue
  • Lowered thyroid function
  • Mental impairment
  • Reproductive disorders
  • Age spots
  • Cataracts
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Lowered immune function

Chlorine

The mineral chlorine must not be confused with the toxic yellow gas used to treat water. Chlorine in the form of chloride, found in salt, is an essential electrolyte. Chlorine works with potassium and sodium to control pressure and water balance in blood. It also helps regulate the pH, acid-alkaline, properties within the body. Chlorine is also used by the body to create the stomach acid necessary for digestion. Heavy sweating, diarrhea, and vomiting can lead to deficiencies.

Deficiency symptoms:

  • Muscle weakness and cramping
  • Fatigue or apathy
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea

Zinc

Zinc is a trace mineral, but found in the body in fairly large amounts. Zinc protects the immune system, fights disease, protects eyesight, and plays a part in male sex drive.

Deficiency symptoms:

zinc_healps_protect_healthy_skin_image

  • Loss of appetite
  • Acne
  • Hair loss
  • Anorexia
  • Body odors
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Eczema
  • Brittle nails or white spots
  • Impaired healing
  • Memory loss or cognitive impairment
  • Diarrhea

Manganese

Manganese is a part of many enzymes and it stimulates or activates many other enzymes. It also acts as an antioxidant to protect against cellular aging.

Deficiency symptoms:

  • Joint pain
  • Arthritis
  • Hearing loss or tinnitus
  • Infertility
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Dizziness

Copper

Copper is a vital antioxidant, protecting fatty acids like those found in cell membranes. Copper is important in maintaining hair color, in growth and development, in assisting the formation of red blood cells, and in the use of iron.

Deficiency symptoms:

copper_helps_protect_your_hair_pic

  • Hair loss, brittle hair, or gray/white hair
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • High cholesterol
  • Impaired thyroid function
  • Nervous ticks
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Varicose veins

Nickel

Nickel is a trace mineral needed in only minute amounts. Nickel activates or inhibits certain enzymes and is involved in the production of a few hormones. Nickel may act as a stabilizer for DNA and RNA. Deficiencies are rare.

Deficiency symptoms:

  • Anemia
  • Delayed puberty
  • Skin problems
  • Slow growth
  • Lowered zinc absorption

Chromium

Chromium is an important mineral in the metabolism of carbohydrates, the activation of enzymes, and the synthesis of fatty acids. It also increases the effectiveness of insulin.

Deficiency symptoms:

  • chromium_is_important_in_metabolism_and_use_of_food_picImpaired glucose tolerance
  • Weight loss
  • Confusion
  • Nerve damage
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Infertility

Germanium

Germanium regulates the uptake of oxygen into cells, acts as an antioxidant, enhances immune function, and initiates electrical activity.

Deficiency symptoms:

  • Low energy levels and fatigue
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Lowered immune function
  • Cancer

Vanadium

Vanadium prevents cholesterol from forming in the blood vessels of the brain, enhances insulin’s effectiveness, promotes healthy cellular division, decreases cholesterol production, and aids in heart contractions.

Deficiency symptoms:

  • vanadium_aids_cardiovascular_systems_picCardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Kidney stones
  • Weight gain
  • Infertility
  • Hypoglycemia

Molybdenum

Molybdenum is an essential mineral, but requirements are very small. Deficiencies are rare for this reason, but can occur on occasion during specific medical treatments or with high processed food diets. Molybdenum is needed for nitrogen metabolism, urine production, enzyme activation, and bone growth.

Deficiency symptoms:

  • Gout
  • Weight gain
  • Gum disease or gum and mouth problems
  • Anemia
  • Acne
  • Parasites
  • Allergies

Lithium

Lithium is important in combatting depression. It is toxic in large doses, but essential in trace amounts. Lithium’s actions within the body are not entirely clear, but it is believed to stabilize serotonin, decrease inflammation, strengthen immune function, and increase white blood cell production.

Deficiency symptoms:

depression_can_be_influenced_by_your_diet_pic

  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Infertility
  • ADHD

Silicon

Silicon is used by the body to create strong bones and connective tissue, including hair, skin, nails, and joints. Silicon aids nerve function and the synthesis of vitamin B1.

Deficiency Symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Slow growth

Iodine

Iodine is used in the creation of hormones by the thyroid gland.

Deficiency symptoms:

  • Goiter
  • Slow growth
  • Lowered IQ

Claims on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Sunwarrior’s awesome expert writers do not replace doctors and don’t always cite studies, so do your research, as is wise. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

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