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Mineral salts, only 6-7% of our body, in kg, but extremely important for its functioning. This is because together with other substances, they constitute numerous tissues that form the human body and are essential for some biological functions and for growth. In theory, all mineral salts are potentially toxic, if we take high doses, but some if they are not present in sufficient quantities in our body can be deficient with unpleasant consequences on our health. I am referring, for example, to mineral salts such as calcium, iron and iodine, but we will see that there are less known and equally essential ones.
Mineral salts: what they are
These are inorganic compounds that play a leading role in the functioning of all living organisms, including us. When we say "Inorganic" we intend to specify that they are free of organic carbon. We can find them in our body in various forms, both related to organic molecules, and in inorganic form. In this last case we have two possible phases, the solid one and the "liquid" one.
THE solid mineral salts they are in effect a kind of crystals and we can imagine them as a constitutive part of bones and teeth, when we find them in blood and biological fluids, then they are in solution and can be in ionized or non-ionized form.
A mineral salt does not always remain in the state in which we initially find it, an example is calcium which, in case of hypocalcemia, from the crystalline form in which it is found, passes to the ionic one, in solution, becoming part of the plasma.
Mineral salts: list
Instead of listing the minerals in alphabetical order, you rank them first depending on the daily requirement. It is with this criterion as a guide that the three main groups were created: Macroelements, Oligoelements, Microelements.
The first are those present in fair quantities in the body, the daily requirement for a person is in the order of grams or tenths of a gram, just like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur, sodium, potassium, chlorine. We go down to the order of milligrams or even micrograms for Trace elements and i Microelements, respectively, for the former there is a daily requirement of less than 200 mg, for the latter even less than 100 mg.
It is necessary to deepen the group of trace elements because there are sub-categories: there are the essential ones (iron, copper, zinc, iodine, selenium, chromium, cobalt, fluorine) which, as the name suggests, are indispensable for the body: if they are missing, some important physiological functions can be compromised.
There are also the probably essential trace elements (silicon, manganese, nickel, vanadium) and even those potentially toxic (arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury, aluminum, lithium, strontium). They are not poison but only at very low concentrations can they perform important and beneficial functions.
Mineral salts: bioavailability
Also for other substances present in food, such as for example Iron, we have talked about Bioavailability. Why is it important to know what it is and what it is for each of the mineral salts? Because on this value and not on the "absolute" quantities of a certain element, it can then be evaluated essentiality or toxicity.
By bioavailability we mean the portion ingested that is actually absorbed, transported to the site of action and converted into the active form. This parameter depends on numerous factors that interact with each other and are not all controllable.
Some are in fact intrinsic to the organism such as the species, genotype, age, sex, physiological and nutritional status. However, there are also extrinsic factors that can limit absorption or favor it, such as the chemical form of the mineral.
Mineral salts: foods
Including that i mineral salts are essential for the regular performance of control, regulation and structure functions in our body, let's see where we can find them when we sit at the table hungry.
The Football, an important part of bones and teeth and able to regulate blood clotting and muscle functioning, it is present in milk and derivatives, green vegetables, legumes, cereals, always in milk but also in meat, fish, eggs, liver, cereals , legumes we find the Phosphorus which also contributes to the formation of rigid material of bones and teeth and intervenes in the energy transformations that occur in cells.
The Potassium it is present in cereals, vegetables and meat, not only in bananas, and regulates the exchanges between cells and body fluids. We find Sodium and Chlorine in table salt and both are essential for the exchange between cells and body fluids, the first is used for the balance of water in the body, the other for the formation of gastric juice.
Magnesium, active in certain chemical reactions in the body, is found in cereals, legumes, almonds, walnuts while iron is in foods rich in iron.
Like football, so too Sulfur is in meat, fish, milk and derivatives, legumes, cereals and serves for the constitution of proteins, Manganese intervenes in some chemical reactions in the body and we ingest it by eating whole flours, nuts, cereals, green vegetables and meat. The the mineral salt that regulates the activity of the thyroid gland is iodine, present in fish and marine molluscs, vegetables, eggs and sea salt.
Mineral salts: supplements
If even with a balanced and healthy diet we are unable to take the amount of mineral salts we need we can help with a supplement. There are many on the market and it is always important to ban on packaging check the label, origin, conservation and directions for use. Also online we can buy these tablets containing vitamin D, sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium useful for reducing muscle cramps and increasing concentration while keeping you energetic.
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