Minerals: The Lesser Known Nutrients

By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness

If you take a calcium supplement for your bones and eat a healthy diet, you may think you’re getting all the minerals you need. But you’d be wrong!

Now it’s true—calcium is necessary for healthy bones and teeth, blood clotting, and normal muscle and nerve activity. But it’s only one of many essential minerals your body needs every day.

Magnesium is another important mineral.  It’s involved with more than 325 enzyme reactions in the body. Not only is it necessary for the normal function of our muscles and nerves, it also works with calcium to build strong bones.

Research shows that taking a magnesium supplement reduces bone loss. One recent study found that a high daily dose of magnesium even increased bone mass in a small group of women with osteoporosis.1

But that’s not all. Magnesium also helps:

  • reduce arrhythmias and angina
  • slow or prevent atherosclerosis
  • lower blood pressure
  • reduce asthma symptoms
  • reduce calcium deposits associated with bursitis
  • reduce the risk of kidney stones

If you’re generally healthy, I recommend taking 400 to 800 mg of magnesium each day.

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Another nutrient you don’t want to forget is zinc.

While you don’t need much—just 15 mg a day—zinc is important for the hormone insulin2. And, it’s involved in making genetic material and proteins. Immune function, taste, wound healing and sperm production all rely on zinc. Studies show this trace mineral also helps reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis3 and might be beneficial for:

  • reducing the risk of prostate cancer or prostate enlargement
  • shortening duration of the common cold
  • treating eczema
  • correcting abnormal immune activity in lupus
  • preventing vision loss in people with “dry” macular degeneration
  • protecting against the loss of bone density
  • improving tinnitus (ringing in the ear)

While calcium, magnesium and zinc are critical for good health, they aren’t the only minerals we need. It’s also important to make sure you’re getting enough of these lesser known minerals:

Mineral Health Benefit Recommended Dose
Chromium Needed for the formation of glucose tolerance factor, a complex that works with the hormone insulin. 200 mcg per day
Copper Paired with iron to help form red blood cells and nerve fibers. It’s also necessary in the formation of hair and skin pigment. 1-2 mg per day
Iodine Essential component of thyroid hormone which regulates your metabolism. 150 mcg per day if you don’t use iodized salt
Manganese Activates certain enzymes and is involved in fatty-acid metabolism and protein synthesis. It’s also needed for bone formation. 5 mg per day
Potassium Maintains normal pressure of body fluids and the acid balance of the body. It also functions in the transmission of nerve impulses and muscle contractions. Best obtained from foods like bananas, potatoes, spinach and tomatoes
Selenium A constituent of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione. This mineral is found in red blood cells. 100-200 mcg per day


1.Aydin H. Short-term oral magnesium supplementation suppresses bone turnover in postmenopausal osteoporotic women. Biological Trace Element Research. 2010;133:136-143.
2.Marreiro DN. Effect of zinc supplementation on serum leptin levels and insulin resistance of obese women. Biological Trace Element Research. 2006;112:109-118.
3.Peretz A. Effects of zinc supplementation on the phagocytic functions of polymorphonuclears in patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases. Journal of Trace Elements and Electrolytes in Health and Disease. 1994;8:189-194

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