Before we get into why you need trace minerals, let’s first define what a trace mineral actually is. You may be asking yourself, “Minerals are minerals aren’t they?” Technically that’s true, but some are known as macro minerals like calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium because the body needs them in large or macro amounts to function correctly. The other category of minerals is called trace minerals because the body needs small or trace amounts to perform specific biochemical functions. These are minerals like selenium, boron, vanadium and copper because many of these minerals are needed in just micrograms per day.
Now that you know the distinction between the two categories of minerals, more than likely you’re not taking a trace minerals supplement. Most multivitamins on the market contain an ingredient profile made up of vitamins and macro minerals, but not a full spectrum trace mineral. Below are the reasons why you should make it a priority to implement a trace mineral supplement into your daily regimen.
- The soils are depleted of trace minerals.
For years, plants and trees have helped dissolve minerals in the soil, raising them from deep within the soil to the surface. Once minerals get to the surface, nature takes its course and they are washed away by rain, rivers and streams through the process of erosion. Each year the soil naturally renews itself and the minerals that have been lost are restored. However, aggressive farming techniques have complicated this cycle by draining soils of their nutrients without allowing enough time between growing seasons for the soil to renew itself. In addition, the many fertilizers and pesticides that bind trace minerals in the soil means that fewer minerals are absorbed by the fruits and vegetables that are grown in that soil. It is reported that soil mineral content has dropped by 72% in Europe, 76% in Asia, and 85% in North America (2).
- If it’s not in the soil, it’s not in the plant or food.
People who eat a steady diet of organic whole fruits and vegetables may feel like they’re getting the minerals they need from their food. True, they’re much better off than those who don’t eat many whole foods, but it still isn’t enough. Although the amount of major and trace minerals the body needs is small, the importance of these nutrients cannot be overstated. As mentioned before, aggressive farming techniques strip the soils of minerals and other essential nutrients. The farming industry has resorted to the constant use of fertilizers that contain only three to six minerals to make plants grow. They’re not replacing the soil with a full spectrum of minerals and trace minerals. Therefore, if it’s not in the soil, it can’t be in the food! If it’s not in the food, then where do we get these essential minerals and trace minerals?
- Do you routinely drink purified or distilled water?
From the beginning of time, our ancestors drank healthy, mineral-rich water directly from streams, rivers, and lakes. This provided them with a considerable amount of healthy, body-balanced essential minerals from natural water sources.
Fast-forward to the twenty-first century. Recent statistics report that 30 billion bottles of water are sold annually and that the average person uses 167 bottles of water per year (1). Based on the poor quality of what comes out of the municipal tap, it’s no wonder so much bottled water is consumed each year. Health-conscious people often rely on bottled or home-filtered water for their drinking needs to avoid the contaminants found in tap water. While most filtered and bottled waters are free of cancer-causing contaminants, the unfortunate side effect of the process of purifying water is the removal of most—if not all—of the mineral content, especially calcium and magnesium.
- Processed foods are stripped of balanced minerals.
Due to the high-stress, fast-paced lives we all live, the diet of most Americans is filled with refined foods that are eaten out of a box, a can, or ordered through a pickup window at the local fast food restaurant. These foods are loaded with added sugar, added sodium to improve taste, high in saturated fat, and laden with preservatives. The growing obesity epidemic in the United States has much to do with what Americans eat. Not only does the American diet affect weight, but it also increases the risk of chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes. In addition, the over-processing of the foods we eat strips them of essential nutrients, including balanced minerals and trace minerals, leaving our bodies unhealthy and malnourished.
- Minerals and trace minerals provide natural energy.
Did you know that your body is an intricate system of electrical impulses? Simply put, the conductors of those impulses are minerals. Every second your body relies on ionic minerals and trace minerals to conduct and generate billions of tiny electrical impulses for your body to function. Whether it’s your heart, muscles, or digestive system, nothing would be able to function without minerals. Your brain would not function correctly and your cells would not be able to use osmosis to balance water pressure and absorb nutrients.
To illustrate how minerals provide natural energy, think about the following question: What happens when a light bulb loses electricity or the electrical output is reduced? It dims or goes out, correct? Similarly, this is what happens when your body is deficient in minerals. The electrical energy is reduced and you feel run down and fatigued; you’re going through life like a dim light bulb!
- Minerals and trace minerals help maintain healthy pH balance.
Experts estimate that 90 percent of Americans suffer from mineral imbalance and deficiency. Because your body requires nearly 65 percent of all the elements currently known to man in order to maintain health, keeping these minerals in balance is a difficult task. In order for minerals and trace minerals to have a profound effect acid-base balance, they must be consumed in proper ratios and in the correct balance. The most important nutrients in our bodies for maintaining acid-base balance are minerals. More specifically, sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate are responsible for the precise balance involved. Maintaining the complex functioning of the body’s tightly regulated pH system requires maintaining proper mineral and trace mineral levels to sustain optimal and healthful balance. If you don’t give your body the minerals and trace minerals it needs, it will attempt to correct the situation in futility, usually resulting in food cravings, muscle cramps, and general fatigue (3).