Reprinted from Sunshine Sharing
Because bones are heavy, you would think that maybe 25% of the body's weight would be minerals. But really, minerals only account for about 4% of our body weight. That's because most of the body weight is comprised of water and organic compounds made out of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and other "flammable" elements.
All of the minerals have two main functions-building and regulating. In this issue we are going to focus only on the "macro-minerals", those we need the most of. These are considered to be calcium, phosphorus, sodium and chloride, potassium, magnesium and sulfur. If you find this list differing from others, it illustrates the continuing debate over classification opinions! We'll cover most of them now:
Calcium (via PDA) Your 2-3 pounds of calcium resides mostly in the bones and teeth. It also is important for healthy nerve impulses, and is a natural tranquilizer. It helps prevent cadmium and lead poisoning, as well as absorbing strontium 90, a radioactive material from nuclear explosions. It is needed for a strong immune system, helps the body lower cholesterol and aids in preventing colon cancer. It is also one of the elements needed to lower blood pressure.
Calcium is commonly found in nature and in our food. So why are we often deficient?
A high fat diet or low hydrochloric acid (HCl) in the stomach prevents us from assimilating it. Low amounts of HCl is almost universal in older people, hence they wind up calcium deficient. HCl is also needed to absorb iron to build up the blood. (For this reason, persons over 50 should consider taking PDA to increase general mineral uptake.)
Another reason people are low in calcium is that by eating too much meat or other high-phosphorus foods, the phosphorus drives out what could have been a normal calcium intake. You will notice that when you talk about nutrition, you are talking about balance. If another element is too prevalent, that may be your problem, and not what “appears” to be a lack of calcium in your diet at all!
The same reasoning should go into solving the osteoporosis problem so common in women after menopause (and men can have the problem too!).
We need to understand that bones are also made of protein, and perhaps through poor digestion and diet, the protein to make the little sacks holding calcium and other minerals constituting bone is a major cause of bone weakness, not a lack of calcium! You see the danger of having just a little knowledge, but also the dividends of doing a little detective work on your own!
Along with eating your green, leafy veggies, citrus fruits, beans, grains and nuts, extra supplementation may be needed. Vitamin Calcium w/ Magnesium is important because calcium needs vitamin D to be absorbed into the body (see also Calcium + D3). In addition, the mineral magnesium helps direct calcium to perform correctly in the body. Sometimes what looks like too little calcium is plenty of calcium with not enough magnesium to activate the calcium properly! A deficiency of trace elements like copper, boron and silica may also prevent calcium from doing its job. We are right back to the principles of balance and teamwork.
Food sources: goat’s milk, green vegetables, kale, seeds, nuts, whole grains, sesame seeds, bonemeal.
Herb sources: valerian root, white oak bark, pau d’arco bark, kelp, comfrey leaves, capsicum, red raspberry, horsetail, alfalfa.
There is evidence that the mineral silicon can be transformed by the body into calcium when needed. This fascinating theory is based on the eating habits of animals, who end up with more calcium than they eat or drink! So where is it coming from?
Calcium and phosphorus work together, but deficiencies in phosphorus are uncommon. However, chronic use of antacids can result in a deficiency or else kidney problems. (In some cases the kidneys can retain too much phosphorus, as well as magnesium, and then either can cause a loss of calcium.)
Aluminum from antiperspirants may also impair phosphorus metabolism in the body. It is the second most abundant mineral in man and helps control energy transfer within cells.Phosphorus also works to neutralize excess blood acidity and along with B vitamins is used by the liver to create its own lecithin, which increases mental powers and helps to keep the arteries clear of fats.
Deficiency symptoms include nervousness, insomnia, poor hair growth, numbness of skin, shallow breathing, loss of appetite, fatigue and depression. But remember that other deficiencies cause some of these same symptoms. Be a good sleuth before deciding what is causing your particular problem.
Food sources: seafood, eggs, dairy products, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, meat.
Herb sources: pumpkin seeds, peppermint leaves, fennel, hops, chickweed, burdock, parsley, garlic, dandelion.
Don’t get phosphorus mixed up with potassium. You could think of phosphorus as a grenade exploding body energy whereas potassium is a “pot” in the liver helping to balance the body, prevent constipation, relieve pain, and keep tissues elastic.
Potassium is also one of the lightest metals known, so soft it can be cut with a knife. You only need about a third of one percent of it as your total body. The heart needs it to keep beating, as do all muscles for them to function. Potassium is found most abundantly inside the cells and helps keep sodium at bay. Between the two minerals, a balance is kept that provides energy and an electrolytic balance between the fluids in and outside of the cell. Otherwise, the cell could not breathe properly and would suffocate. A lack of potassium allows sodium (“salt”) to creep into the cell and bring bloating water with it. As a point of interest, cancer cells are loaded with sodium. That makes enough potassium important to help prevent cancer.
Symptoms of a deficiency include edema, continuous thirst, hypoglycemia, dry skin, weakness, swollen testicles or ovaries.Food sources: apricots, broccoli, celery, watercress, potatoes, almonds, avocados and sunflower seeds.Herbal sources: parsley, blessed thistle, barley grass, sage, catnip, hops, peppermint leaves, feverfew, and scullcap. To conveniently get a concentrated amount in a hurry, try Potassium Combination. Each tablet contains 42 mg. of chelated potassium in a base of kelp, dulse, watercress, wild cabbage, horseradish and horsetail herbs.
SODIUM ( via Kelp )
Here is another metal, but in a pure state it will explode upon contact with a liquid. When combined with chlorine it forms salt. Although salt is highly condemned because it tends to raise blood pressure and hold too much water in the body, it is absolutely necessary for life to continue. Some people who are suffering from chronic fatigue have recovered after increasing their sodium intake, which the adrenals require to function properly.
Sodium helps regulate the movement of water across cell membranes. It also helps calcium and other minerals remain soluble in the blood so they won’t clog the capillaries. It also helps the body absorb iron. A shortage is uncommon in humans, but too much sweating, diarrhea or starvation can bring on a deficiency. There is evidence that regular table salt, as it exists at the molecular level, is hard for the body to break apart and use properly. But in natural foods, sodium is easily extracted.Food sources: sea foods, beets, green, leafy vegetables (especially celery), carrots.Herb sources: kelp, Irish moss, rose hips, gotu kola, licorice, parsley, chamomile, fennel, and dill.
MAGNESIUM (magnesium caps )
Along with potassium, here is a mineral that is important in preventing heart attacks. Magnesium not only manages calcium, it helps manage nerve communications everywhere in the body. Through stress, or over cooking, we can lose great quantities of this mineral. Most of the U.S. population is woefully short of magnesium. Taking a chelated Magnesium supplement with an herb base of licorice, kelp, peppermint and white willow bark can make a noticeable difference, sometimes in a few minutes (if you are experiencing muscle cramps). For twitching muscles, it may take longer (include B vitamins). And as for your tough, decay-resistant tooth enamel, thank magnesium.
One fast way to lose magnesium is through stress—even noise stress will do it. Fluoridated water, or synthetic vitamin D may block its action.Diuretic drugs could do it, too.
Food sources: Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, filberts, millet, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, wheat, pumpkin seeds and brewer’s yeast. Herb sources: oat straw, licorice, kelp, senna, peppermint, white willow bark, devil’s claw, burdock, chickweed, and marshmallow.
This information is for educational purposes only. Consult with a qualified health practitioner for all serious or persistent illness. Copyright © 1990 by Robinson & Horne, L.C., P.O. Box 1028, Roosevelt, UT 84066. This material may be duplicated for educational purposes only (not for resale) provided it is not altered in any way.Distributed by: Four Winds Natural and Four Winds Nutrition