Your body isn’t exactly a bastion of gold or silver, but it does contain and rely heavily on an assortment of minerals, a deficiency of which occurs when your body is unable to obtain or absorb the required amount of any particular mineral.
What Are Bodily Minerals?
Minerals are types of nutrients that your body requires in varying amounts in order to function optimally, per healthline.com. You can help control whether your body has a sufficient amount of essential minerals such as magnesium, potassium, zinc, calcium, and iron by eating properly, beginning with a well-balanced diet.
Using nutritional supplements can also help make up any gaps. Consider discussing use of supplements with your physician before making them a part of your daily regimen. The point is to make sure they don’t interact with any medications you might already be taking.
Per huffingtonpost.com, these essential minerals serve a variety of roles in your body, ranging from synthesizing body tissues such as bones and muscles to expelling or neutralizing waste products. If you are lacking in any or all of the proper amounts of such minerals, early symptoms can include inexplicable fatigue, low energy, a pale appearance, or even frequent illnesses, such as colds or flu. There can be longer-term effects on your health as well.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Mineral Deficiencies
Following are some of the signs and symptoms that could indicate a deficiency of a particular mineral:
Zinc. Zinc is second only to iron in terms of its concentration with your body, per medlineplus.gov. Found in cells located in all parts of the body, zinc is important to your body’s immune system as well as the breakdown of carbohydrates, among other functions. Among the food sources with abundant zinc: seafood, spinach, legumes, mushrooms, eggs, beef, lamb.
Here, per huffingtonpost.com, are some of the more familiar signs and symptoms of a zinc deficiency:
- Skin problems such as acne and eczema
- Frequent colds and flu
- Delayed sexual maturation
- Mental health issues
- Slow wound healing
Potassium. Potassium’s reactive properties in water, where it produces positively charged ions, earn it a classification as an electrolyte, per healthline.com. The third most abundant mineral in your body, potassium assists in regulating fluid within the body while also transmitting nerve signals and controlling muscle contractions. Among the food sources with abundant potassium, per facty.com: white and sweet potatoes, watermelon, banana, beets, canned salmon, butternut squash, yogurt. .
Here, per webmd.com, are some of the more familiar signs and symptoms of a potassium deficiency, a condition also known as hypokalemia:
- Muscle cramps/twitching
- Arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythms)
- High blood pressure (hypertension), per medicalnewstoday.com https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325065
Magnesium. Per huffingtonpost.com, magnesium is an essential mineral involved in sustaining proper functionality of nerves and muscles, while maintaining bone strength and bolstering a healthy immune system. Among the food sources with abundant magnesium: avocado, banana, nuts and seeds, whole grains, dark-green leafy vegetables, dark chocolate or raw cacao.
Following are some of the signs and symptoms that accompany a magnesium deficiency:
- Muscle contractions and cramps
- Restless leg syndrome
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Tics/spasms of eyelids
Iron. This mineral is essential for the manufacture of red blood cells, and it is also needed to ensure optimal oxygen transfer throughout your body. Among the food sources with abundant iron: seafood, legumes, liver, tofu, nuts and seeds, beef, lamb, per huffingtonpost.com:
- Shortness of breath
- Heavy menstrual periods
- Cold hands and feet
Calcium. Per huffingtonpost.com, this is a nutrient that your body needs in order to maintain strong bones and teeth, while also reinforcing skeletal structure and activity. Among the food sources with abundant calcium: broccoli, salmon, anchovies, almonds, dairy products, dark-green leafy vegetables.
- Numbness and tingling around mouth and in toes and fingers
- Muscle cramps
- Coarse hair
- Brittle nails and nail ridges