The microminerals receive very little publicity when it comes to heatlhy eating. However, each one is essential for good health and should be included as part of your diet. In this article I will be discussing exactly how they benefit your health and providing 25 of the top macromineral benefits.
1) ANTIOXIDANT BENEFITS:- Antioxidants are nutrients which protect your body from free radicals (harmful by-products of oxygen based reactions that cause oxidative damage). Oxidative damage has been linked with a number of health problems including cancer, diabetes and a weak immune system. Copper, germanium, molybdenum, selenium and zinc all have antioxidant properties and by including these nutrients in your diet you can protect yourself from the potential health hazards caused by free radicals.
2) ARTHRITIS PROTECTION:- Arthritis is a condition where your joints become inflamed. It can cause pain, stiffness and swelling around the affected joints. Fortunately, eating certain microminerals (including copper, germanium and selenium) can help prevent arthritis and relieve the painful symptoms.
3) ASTHMA PREVENTION:- Asthma is a respiratory disorder where the airways unexpectedly narrow temporarily. Germanium and molybdenum can both help prevent this unpleasant condition and allow sufferers to breathe more easily.
4) BLOOD HEALTH:- Many of the microminerals are vital for healthy blood. Boron can help prevent blood clots whilst chromium helps your body break down excess blood cholesterol and molybdenum prevents anemia. Copper and iron both assist in the production of haemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells which transports oxygen around the body) whilst nickel and vanadium both promote the production of red blood cells.
5) BONE HEALTH:- Certain microminerals have a key role to play when it comes to building strong, healthy bones. Nickel, silicon and vanadium all assist in the development of strong bones whilst boron and germanium both help prevent osteoporosis (reduced bone mineral density).
6) CANCER PROTECTION:- Cancer is a disease that develops when the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in your body’s cells becomes damaged or disrupted. This then causes your cells to grow in a rapid, uncontrollable way leading to the development of a tumour. Tumours can ultimately become cancerous and spread to other areas of the body. The microminerals can help protect you from a variety of cancers in many different ways. Germanium helps by stimulating the production of interferon (a substance that stimulates the production of cancer fighting natural killer cells). Molybdenum also fights cancer by protecting your body from the carcinogenic chemical compounds nitrosamines. Copper has been linked with preventing lung cancer whilst selenium can reduce your risk of contracting colon cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer. Vanadium also helps protect your body from certain cancers (including bone cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer and prostate cancer) whilst research suggests zinc can help reduce your chances of developing prostate cancer.
7) DENTAL HEALTH:- The microminerals help keep your teeth healthy in various ways. Molybdenum promotes good dental health by fighting dental cavities (holes in the teeth caused by damage to the hard tooth structure) and tooth decay. Iodine, silicon and vanadium also contribute by promoting the development of strong, healthy teeth.
8) DIABETES TREATMENT:- Diabetes is a disease that develops when the blood glucose levels in your body become extremely high as a result of your body not producing enough insulin (a hormone which allows your body to take glucose from the blood and use it for energy immediately or store it for later use) or your body not responding to insulin properly. Many of the microminerals can be used to manage and treat diabetes effectively. Chromium, vanadium and zinc help control the release of insulin in your body and also improve your cell’s sensitivity to this hormone. Manganese, molybdenum and vanadium all help control blood glucose levels and prevent them from becoming too high. Research suggests that germanium can also help prevent the development of diabetes.
9) DIGESTIVE HEALTH:- Arsenic and tin are both key nutrients for digestive health. Arsenic helps treat digestive problems whilst tin helps to prevent them.
10) EMBRYONIC DEVELOPMENT:- Boron and silicon are both important microminerals for pregnant women. Together they support the development and growth of embryos and ensure that they remain healthy.
11) ENZYME ACTIVATION AND PRODUCTION:- Many of the microminerals are essential for the activation and production of enzymes. Managanese acts as part of the metalloenzymes (enzymes that help produce glutamine, act as antioxidants, break down blood glucose and more), activates the bone strengthening enzymes glycolsyltranserferases and xylosyltransferases and activates the enzymes which utilise choline, vitamin B1, vitamin B7 and vitamin C. Molybdenum activates the enzymes aldehyde oxidase (which generates carboxylic acids from aldehydes), sulphate oxidase and xanthine oxidase (which enhances fat burning and allows the body to use its iron reserves effectively). Silicon activates the enzyme prolyhydroxylase (which is responsible for the formation of collagen in bone, cartilage, elastin and other connective tissues). Molybdenum also helps the body produce xanthine oxidase.
12) GENETIC DEVELOPMENT:- A number of microminerals support genetic development. Arsenic helps to regulate gene expression whilst cobalt helps your body produce DNA and ribonucleic acid (RNA) (which both contain important genetic information that is used in the creation of new cells). Lithium enhances the replication of DNA whilst zinc helps your body to read genetic instructions properly.
13) HEALTHY GROWTH:- Many of the microminerals including arsenic, molybdenum, nickel, tin and vanadium support healthy growth. Zinc also promotes normal skeletal growth.
14) HEALTHY METABOLISM:- Metabolism is a set of chemical reactions that occur in living organisms in order to maintain life. One of the main parts of metabolism is breaking down the nutrients in food for energy. A large proportion of the microminerals help your body do this. Chromium, molybdenum, nickel and vanadium all assist in the metabolism of the macronutrients; carbohydrates, dietary fats and proteins. Boron, molybdenum and vanadium all support the metabolism of the macrominerals calcium, magnesium and phosphorus plus vitamin D. Iodine and zinc also help maintain a normal metabolic rate (which affects your energy levels, growth and the amount of calories you burn).
15) HEART HEALTH:- Getting the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for certain microminerals helps to keep your heart healthy. Chromium, vanadium and silicon keep the arteries soft, supple and prevent atherosclerosis (a condition where the artery walls become blocked and harden due to the build up of cholesterol, fatty deposits and plaque). This ensures that your heart gets a good, steady supply of blood via the arteries. Boron, germanium, selenium and vanadium also help prevent heart disease.
16) HORMONE ACTIVATION, PRODUCTION AND REGULATION:- The microminerals have a key influence over the hormones in your body. Boron assists in the production of testosterone (male steroid sex hormones that are secreted by the testes and responsible for typical male sexual characteristics) in men and oestrogen (female steroid sex hormones that are secreted by the ovaries and responsible for typical female sexual characteristics) in women. Cobalt, copper and lithium assists in the production of melatonin (a hormone that improves sleep cycles) and serotonin (a hormone that can improve your mood). Iodine, manganese, selenium and zinc also support the production of various thyroid hormones including thyroxine (a thyroid hormone also known as T4 that regulates the generation of body heat and the use of oxygen in cells) and triiodothyronine (a thyroid hormone also known as T3 that affects almost every process in the body including the generation of body heat, growth and heart rate). On top of this tin supports the adrenal gland (which releases hormones related to stress).
17) IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTH:- The immune system is a set of biological structures and processes that protect against disease and foreign bodies. The microminerals can help boost your immune system in many ways. Chromium increases the effectiveness of white blood cells (which help the body fight disease and foreign bodies) whilst germanium increases the function of B lymphocytes, natural killer cells and T cells (which all help the immune system fight disease and infection). Iron, selenium and zinc also assist in the production of antibodies, B cells and T cells (all of which help the body fight disease and foreign bodies).
18) INCREASED ENERGY LEVELS:- Iron and tin can both help keep your energy levels high. Iron assists in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is essential for cellular energy whilst tin has also been linked with increased energy levels.
19) LIVER HEALTH:- Germanium and molybdenum are two important nutrients for liver health. Germanium can prevent cirrhosis (a chronic liver disease) whilst molybdenum can help detoxify the liver.
20) MENTAL HEALTH:- A wide selection of the microminerals support good mental health. Boron, cobalt, iron and zinc can all help improve brain development, brain function, cognitive performance and memory. Germanium and lithium have also been linked with preventing Alzheimer’s disease (a form of dementia), dementia (a type of mental deterioration), depression (a mental state characterized by feelings of gloom and inadequacy) and mania (elevated moods at all times). On top of this lithium increases the grey matter of nerve cells in the brain (which support hearing, memory, muscle control, speech and vision) and reduces aggressive, self destructive and violent behaviour (based on a number of different research studies). Finally, molybdenum and tin can increase alertness, concentration and mood levels.
21) NERVOUS SYSTEM HEALTH:- Germanium, lithium and manganese all help support a strong, healthy nervous system. Germanium can prevent neuralgia (a condition which causes pain in the nerves) whilst lithium assists in the transmission of messages over neurons and manganese promotes nervous system health.
22) NUTRIENT ABSORPTION, DISTRIBUTION AND UTILISATION:- A large number of microminerals are essential for the absorption, distribution and utilisation of several key nutrients. Boron helps the body retain calcium and magnesium whilst cobalt, copper, lithium and nickel support the absorption of iron, vitamin B9 and vitamin B12. Lithium also helps the body distribute iodine throughout the body whilst molybdenum helps the body utilise iron. Finally, silicon increases the effectiveness of calcium and vitamin D in the body.
23) SEXUAL HEALTH:- Many of the microminerals support good sexual health. Arsenic, manganese and vanadium all support reproductive health. Molybdenum, selenium and zinc are particularly important nutrients for men and promote good sexual health, function and fertility amongst males.
24) SKIN HEALTH:- A large selection of the microminerals protect your skin and keep it healthy. Silicon, tin and zinc protect you from various skin conditions (including acne and eczema) whilst iodine, nickel and silicon all help keep your skin strong and healthy. Copper also assists in the production of collagen and elastin (two connective tissues which help keep your skin cells tight but flexible).
25) WOUND HEALING:- Eating adequate amounts of certain microminerals is essential for proper wound healing. Copper assists in the healing of burns to the skin whilst silicon and zinc help the body heal other types of wound.
Whilst the microminerals are only needed in very small amounts they are still essential for all round good health. They protect you from certain disease, keep the majority of your cells and organs healthy, interact with many of the nutrients and much more. So if you are not currently eating adequate amounts of microminerals now is the time to start.