No BS - Trace Minerals
As a healthcare provider and an advocate/enthusiast for smart supplementation, it is my opinion that the world needs practical, smart, non-biased information on nutrition and nutritional supplements. Nutrition and supplementation information on the internet and mainstream avenues for health information are riddled with outdated, biased and often just plain misinformed guidance.
My goal with this series is to create a platform and dialogue with you for best practices on supplementation and general overarching themes in nutrition. Let me sift through the BS for you and give you solid information that you can act on. Our first topic will be one of the least controversial I believe and that is just my observation based on my conversations with patients friends and family. But it's an important one.
"Life is about balance"
Trace minerals (or trace metals) are elements that exist in small amounts in our cells and body tissues. Some of these minerals are absolutely vital for important body processes like energy metabolism and oxygen transport. Trace minerals are catalysts for enzymatic reactions throughout the cells of our body which means that for our cells to do their job efficiently, we need these trace mineral helpers.
You have more than likely heard of some of the more common trace minerals, let's go over a short list and learn about some of their functions:
- Magnesium (balancing of the nervous system, balance and regulation of hormones like testosterone, regulation of blood glucose and regulation of blood pressure)
- Zinc (Involved in over 200 enzymatic reactions, DNA & Cell repair/replication, immunity, hormone balance)
- Iron (a component of red blood cells, important for oxygen transport)
- Selenium (protection from cardiovascular disease)
- Copper (creation of energy by the cells, protections from cardiovascular disease)
This is a short list of some of the more notable and recognizable trace elements. Now it's time to get to what we all really want and need... What's the best way to get these trace minerals in our body to keep our body functioning like a formula 1 race car.
Get to the solution already - Covering trace mineral bases
Let me give you the strategy I use to cover my trace mineral bases for myself and my family.
- Shilajit - This is my number one supplement for ensuring a healthy trace mineral balance. Fulvic and humic acids, iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, nickel, potassium, manganese, silicon, silver, sodium, sulfur, iodine, and more. Shilajit is organic carbon based compound harvested from the Siberian Himalayan mountains. 84 different minerals and full of fulvic and humic acids which bind to and remove inorganic compounds like heavy metals from the body. Shilajit is also great for your brain and a neuroprotective compound that has to potential to fight against neurological diseases like Alzheimer's! Not all Shilajit resins are created equal so make sure to buy from a reputable company. I recommend Mitolife's Panacea 400mg/day or 800mg/day for nice energy boost. It is 3rd party tested and pure. Get it here Mitolife Shilajit - Discount code: DRLANE
- Magnesium - We covered this one already and it is quite possibly one of the most important of the minerals. Magnesium is great for muscle and nerve health, bone health, hormone regulation, stress and sleep. It is difficult to get enough even with a great diet. Magnesium is depleted with stress and physical activity. The most important thing to consider when choosing a magnesium supplement is the type of magnesium. Some do different things and some do not much at all! My recommendations for types of magnesium include: magnesium glycinate, chelate or bi-carbonate. All of these form are highly absorbable by the body and available in our magnesium and muscle mend products here at Ascend Chiropractic. I recommend starting at 200mg daily and gradually building up to 400mg after two weeks then 600-800mg depending on weight and tolerance.
- Copper - Copper is vital in antioxidant pathways and another mineral with significant uses in many of those cell functions we mentioned previously. The best source is not fit for everyone's tastes. Liver. Fortunately, Ancestral Supplements makes a great desiccated beef liver capsule.
*This is a great starting point for covering your trace mineral bases. We will continue in this series to build on my list of favorite supplements that will promote health and actually be worth your hard earned money because most supplements are the exact opposite.
Don't Make these Mistakes
Random and arbitrary supplementation is not an ideal practice. Look back to the quote below the picture earlier in the article. Let's look at some potential examples of where we could go wrong with supplementation before you down your first zinc megadose.
- Excessive zinc intake interferes with the absorption and utilization of iron and copper. Campbell and Mills (1974)
- Excessive ascorbic acid which is what you will find in most Vitamin C supplements (it is not Vitamin C but only a part of the Vitamin C complex) also depletes copper.
- Excess calcium can negatively impact magnesium levels in the body
- Excess Vitamin D can lead to calcification of soft tissues and blood vessels
These are just a few examples to show you how nutrient-nutrient interactions are important to consider when trying to optimize your health through supplementation. This is also why I recommend a more targeted approach than a daily multi-vitamin. More to come.
- N. Senesi, E. Loffredo, in Encyclopedia of Soils in the Environment, 2005
- Shilajit: A Natural Phytocomplex with Potential Procognitive Activity
- Diet and Health: Implications for Reducing Chronic Disease Risk.
- Fox C, Ramsoomair D, Carter C. Magnesium: its proven and potential clinical significance. South Med J. (2001)
- de Lordes Lima M, et al. The effect of magnesium supplementation in increasing doses on the control of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. (1998)
- Effects of ascorbic acid supplements and a diet marginal in copper on indices of copper nutriture in women