by Fiora Stevens on August 5, 2013
Health conscious people often talk about getting enough vitamins and minerals, but do you know which minerals your body requires in the greatest amounts? And do you know what they do, and how they keep your body working in tip top shape? Let’s take a look at the five most prominent minerals in the human body, and how they lend themselves to health and proper function.
If you see calcium and think “strong bones,” you’re certainly on the right track – but that’s not all calcium does! In addition to helping build and maintain the strength and structure of bones and teeth, calcium also plays a significant role in blood clotting, sending signals in the nervous system, regulating blood pressure, hormone secretion, and enzyme function.
Calcium also works with countless other vitamins and minerals to ensure that they can do their jobs to the fullest effect. Plus, calcium helps the body to excrete any lead that it takes in, aiding in the avoidance of lead poisoning.
Often, not taking in too much sodium is the focus of many healthy eating plans. But although too much sodium can be harmful, this mineral is very much a necessity for the human body. One of the most important uses of sodium is to ensure that the body’s fluid balance stays in check, and that each individual cell has just the right amount of fluid inside it to function properly. Sodium is also a key factor in sending signals from one nerve to another, as well as helping muscles to contract and release.
Chloride is absolutely crucial to the human body, yet, it’s not a mineral we hear much about. Acting in concert with sodium, chloride is a key factor in preserving fluid balance throughout the body and helping fluids to move in and out of cells and tissues. Chloride is also incredibly important in ensuring that the body’s pH level stays within a safe range. Finally, chloride ions work to send electrical impulses down nerve pathways.
Like sodium and chloride, potassium is an electrolyte that regulates the body’s fluid levels, as well as the transportation of those fluids. And like sodium and chloride, potassium plays a major role in nerve signal transmission due to its electrical charge.
The contraction, flexing, and releasing of muscles is also reliant on potassium working in tandem with sodium. In addition, potassium can help prevent kidney stones, and levels of potassium that are too low have been tied to high blood pressure.
This all-important mineral is found in every single cell. Phosphorus is a key component of the underlying structure of DNA, and also helps form the cell membranes that control what can and cannot enter an individual cell. Like calcium, phosphorus lends its strength to teeth and bones. Phosphorus also helps individual cells to convert food into energy, and is also a major player in the systems that maintain a balanced pH within the body.