Minerals Glossary

Minerals and trace elements differ mainly in the quantities they can be found in the organism. Owing to their higher quantities, minerals are easier to find, while trace elements can be detected in traces only, there is only very little of them in our body. This is where their names originate. Minerals are macro elements, while trace elements are called micronutrients.



Fluorine

Fluorine plays a key role in the formation of tooth and bone substance, 95% of it can be found in these two organs. One of the reasons of caries, which is sadly a common disease, is insufficient fluorine intake. If there is lower than 1 mg/litre fluorine in the water supplied in your settlement, extra fluorine intake is needed.
 

What is it for?

  • Bone formation
  • Dental enamel substance formation
     

How much of it do we need?
Surprising as it is, we get the larger portion of our fluorine from water and toothpastes containing fluoride.
 

Where can it be found?
The best fluorine source is good drinking water and mineral waters containing fluorine, but tea and fishbone (sardines) also contain a lot of fluorine.
 

Deficiency states
Tooth growth, ossification disorders and caries. For a protective effect, there is a need for a daily fluorine intake of at least 1.5 mg, which is the most effective prior to teething and during pregnancy.



Phosphorous

What role does it play in the organism?
Phosphorous is one of the elements that can be found in the highest quantity in our organism. 85% of it can be found in the bones. It is not only a structural constituent, but also a key element of energy balance, as the organism stores energy in phosphate bond.
 

What foodstuffs contain it?
Good dietary phosphorous sources are legumes, oil seeds and cheeses.
 

Kit fenyeget foszforhiány és mit okoz a hiányállapot?
Phosphorous deficiency occurs mainly among hospital circumstances accompanying severe diseases. In everyday life phosphorous deficiency occurs considerably less frequently compared to other mineral deficiencies.
 

What is the recommended intake for phosphorous?
The daily requirement is 190-775 mg for children depending on age and about 700 mg for adults.
 

What are the health risks of excessive phosphorous intake?
Excessive phosphorous intake inhibits the activation of vitamin D in the organism and calcium absorption in the intestines, which two effects combined lead to calcium loss.



Calcium

What role does it play in the organism?
The best-known fact about calcium is that it is (probably the most important) constituent of the bone tissue. Yet, calcium plays a central role in the organism also because it is essential for muscle contraction, hormone production and blood coagulation among others, as well as information transmission within the cells and the regulation of a number of enzymes.
 

What foodstuffs contain it?
The best dietary calcium sources are diary products. It can also be found at a notable quantity in sea fish and soup vegetables.
 

Who are exposed to calcium deficiency and what does this deficiency state cause?
The most frequent reason for calcium deficiency is inadequate intake and insufficient vitamin D supply at times. Severe calcium deficiency is manifested in cramps and heart functioning disorders. Milder calcium deficiency is much more frequent, causing scurfy skin, brittle fingernails, but its most disadvantageous consequences are the insufficient development of the skeleton at a young age, and the decrease in the mineral content of the bones above 35 years of age. Hungarian studies show that average calcium intake is about 600 mg a day, and at least half of the population has a calcium deficient diet.
 

What is the recommended intake for calcium?
The daily requirement is 360-1500 mg for children depending on age and 1000-1500 mg for adults.
 

What are the health risks of excessive calcium intake?
A daily intake permanently increasing 2500 mg makes people prone to have a high level of calcium in the blood and the formation of kidney stones.



Potassium

The quantity of potassium is about 150 grams in the organism and can be found dissolved nearly exclusively within the cells in the cytoplasm. Together with sodium, its most important role is stimulus transmission, which it is an essential element of.
 

What is it for?

  • Acid-base balance
  • Nervous system stimulus transmission
  • Muscle functioning
  • Energy supply for cells
     

How much of it is required?
Potassium requirement, as nearly every foodstuff contains it, can only be estimated. As its average daily intake is 2-6 grams, its deficiency state does not occur.
 

What foodstuffs contain it?
Potassium can be found in all the foodstuffs in lower or higher amounts. Products of animal origin contain more sodium, while foodstuffs of vegetable origin contain more potassium. According to modern nutrition science recommendations, it is worth preferring plants with a better sodium-potassium ratio.
 

Deficiency states
Its deficiency state hardly emerges with our dietary habits. Mainly vomiting, diarrhoea can be found among the reasons. Heart functioning problems, muscle weakness emerge and kidney functioning may be impaired.
 

Toxicity
Potassium overdose is likely only in the case of an increased intake of potassium preparations. It means a daily potassium intake of 15-20 grams, when general poisoning symptoms arise.



Chlorine

Chlorine in the organism can be found at the highest ratios mainly in the liquid spaces outside the cells and in the gastric acid. In the gastric acid as a constituent of hydrochloric acid, it helps and prepares digestion. In spaces outside the cells, it is bound to sodium-ions and potassium-ions.
 

What is it required for?

  • Acid-base balance
  • Gastric acid production and effect
  • Salt and water balance
     

What is its required quantity?
Chlorine requirement is to be observed in close connection with sodium intake, as its most significant source is common salt. Its mass contains more chlorine and less sodium, so common salt ensures the adequate amount of chlorine for the organism.
 

What foodstuffs contain it?
Among our foodstuffs of natural origin, chlorine can be found in salt at the most significant degree, and the daily requirement is perfectly covered with this amount.
 

Deficiency states
Our dietary habits exclude the emergence of its deficiency state.
 

Toxicity
A chlorine overdose is possible only through the extreme intake of salt in a natural way, but in this case, the primary problem is not the chlorine overdose. Inhaling it in a gas state immediately causes severe poisoning and other impairments.



Magnesium

What role does it play in the organism?
Magnesium is a mineral of vital importance. It is essential for the appropriate functioning of hundreds of enzymes; it is also needed for every energy-consuming process, a number of steps in protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism and insulin production.
 

What foodstuffs contain it?
Good dietary magnesium sources are potato, vegetables, fish and legumes.
 

Who are exposed to magnesium deficiency and what does this deficiency state cause?
Magnesium deficiency may be caused the most frequently by decreased intake (special diets, slimming diets), absorption disorders (chronic diarrhoea), increased magnesium loss and an increased requirement (pregnancy, nursing period, athletes). According to estimates, more than a quarter of the Hungarian population has a magnesium deficient diet.
 

What is the recommended intake for magnesium?
The daily requirement is 50-250 mg for children depending on age and 300-350 mg for adults.
 

What are the health risks of excessive magnesium intake?
The intake of high doses may cause diarrhoea. The incidence of side effects in the case of quantities not increasing the daily requirement is minimal.



Sodium

The human body contains about 80-100 grams of sodium, although at an inverse proportion as in the cases of calcium and phosphorous, as a higher ratio of it is in a dissolved state, while a smaller ratio of it is stored by the bones and connective tissues. Sodium (in close connection with potassium) plays a considerable role in the maintenance of the so-called osmotic pressure. It is just as essential for the stimuli transmission of the nervous system.
 

What is it required for?

  • Acid-base balance
  • Nervous system stimulus transmission
  • Muscle functioning
  • Carbohydrate and protein metabolism
  • Regulation of the liquid balance
     

How much of it is required?
There is no agreement on sodium requirement. Some say, there is no need to ensure extra, conscious intake, because our foodstuffs contain an adequate quantity of it, while others recommend 0.5 gram a day, and still others 2 grams of it. It is a fact that we many times surpass this dose: we consume 5-15 (!) grams of sodium a day mainly in the form of common salt. A part of this is added to our food by salting them, while a higher portion of it is „provided“ by the food industry, through their use of salt in high quantities in food production. So, there is no need to pay attention to sodium intake.
 

What foodstuffs contain it?
Sodium is present in all of our foodstuffs. Some contain in naturally, while further quantities are added to other foodstuffs by the food industry.
 

Deficiency states
Its deficiency state cannot emerge with our current dietary habits.
 

Overdose
Sodium overdose (increased salt consumption) may cause the increase of the blood pressure and hypertension in those who are sensitive to it (and their number is high).




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