Health Benefits of Trace Minerals
What is a Trace Mineral?
Most of us are familiar with the minerals our bodies need at high levels, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. These minerals, because they are needed by our bodies in significant amounts, are called macrominerals. A number of other minerals, required in much smaller levels by our bodies, but no less important to good overall health, are called microminerals, or more commonly trace minerals.14 Trace minerals are usually found at extraordinarily small levels in our bodies, in the parts per million range.1 In spite of the relatively low concentrations of these minerals, scientists are discovering that they play an increasingly vital role in our health, including the health of our bones and joints.1-19
The Benefits of Trace Minerals
Do we need trace minerals?….Yes! It is a certainty that a large number of trace minerals are directly linked to good bone health. Deficiencies of certain trace minerals, such as copper and manganese, for example, have been connected to lower bone density and weaker bones.5 While everyone is aware of the benefit calcium has on bone health, studies show that supplementing with calcium and trace minerals together increases bone density in post-menopausal women more than calcium alone.5 Calcium alone is not enough!
A two year, double-blind, placebo controlled trial suggests that bone loss in post-menopausal women can be STOPPED when trace mineral intake is increased!6 The women in the study who took calcium alone only slowed their rates of bone loss. While the mechanisms of how trace minerals function in our bodies may not be entirely known, it is becoming clear that they are necessary for preserving bone mass and for general health as well! There are 60 minerals found in human blood and known to be needed in the diet on a regular basis.15 Human milk also contains 60 minerals, including some, such as nickel and vanadium, that were previously thought to be unimportant.15 Because these minerals are found in our blood and in mothers’ milk our bodies probably have some use for them, even though science has not yet identified the usefulness of each trace mineral!
We Are Losing Nutrients!
It is an astonishing, yet little published fact, that many of our foods don’t contain the same levels of nutrition as they once did.4,10,11,19 The reasons aren’t entirely known, but since the early 1960’s the levels of vitamins and minerals in our produce and meats has dropped significantly.4
Did you know, for example, that broccoli today has only 50% of the calcium it did in 1963?4
The potassium level in beets has dropped by 10% over the same time period, and spinach has 10% less magnesium!4
Going back to the 1930’s, vegetables have lost about half of their sodium and calcium content, a quarter of their iron and 76 percent of their copper content.10
The nutrient levels of fruits has declined significantly with copper, iron, and zinc all falling by up to 27 percent.
10 Other vitamins and minerals have shown a 5 to 35 percent decline in our fruits and vegetables over the past 50 years.11
Some cattle farmers are even finding low levels of trace minerals in our beef and have begun supplementing their animals with minerals obviously lacking in their feed!19
While many of us have never heard about this loss of nutrition, scientists have even given it a name, calling this phenomenon “the dilution effect”. Farmers get paid by the weight and appearance of their product, so they have been focused on growing large, beautiful fruits and vegetables, but the nutritional value has washed out! Clearly our soil isn’t providing the same nutrients to our foods as it once did.
In our son’s case, we were initially directed to IntraKid vitamins, which contained 71 organically-bound trace minerals (full spectrum plant-derived).
As Hunter’s healing journey continued, we were directed to add IntraMin and/or IntraMax vitamins to supplement his bodies nutritional deficiencies.
As always, please consult with your healthcare provider to see if IntraKid, IntraMin and/or IntraMax is right for your child or family.