Detailed overview of minerals

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  • Created by: Stephen
  • Created on: 02-05-13 20:05

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Minerals are present in food, mostly in the form of inorganic salts but some are present
in organic compounds.
Minerals such as Calcium and phosphorous are present in the body in large amounts;
known as major elements or macro nutrients, whereas others occur in very small
quantities and are known as trace elements.
Functions (main):
Calcium, phosphorus and magnesium are constituents of bones and teeth.
Some elements are present as soluble salts- these help control the composition of
body fluids. (these include potassium and magnesium present inside body cells and
sodium and chlorine in the fluid outside of cells)
Many traced elements are concerned in enzyme systems in the body.
Milk and milk products (cheese and yoghurt). Calcium from this source is well
Flour and products made from it. (white bread has to be fortified with calcium
Small fish (sardines)
Fruit and veg. (contain variable but usually quite small amounts)
Hard drinking water
Needed for the formation and development of bones and teeth
Clotting of blood
Normal functioning of nerves and muscles
Calcium, phosphorus and Vitamin D have a reciprocal relationship. There functioning
depends on one another.
Requirements: No increases are recommended during pregnancy as the body has a
self-regulating machine which means that during pregnancy the body can make better
use of the calcium available.
Deficiency: Similar to the effects of a deficiency of vitamin D:
In children rickets can occur (long bones bend under body weight leading to knock
knees and bow legs)
In adults it can result in osteomalacia (bones are soft weak and painful) May
develop after repeated pregnancies, if diets have been poor.
Osteoporosis: is not strictly speaking a deficiency disease as it cannot simply be
caused by eating too little calcium and cannot be cured by eating calcium rich

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However high levels of calcium and vitamin D is thought to offer some
Excess: In susceptible people it can result in kidney stones
Factors which assist calcium absorption:
Only 1/3 of calcium eaten is absorbed and used by the body, the rest passes
through the alimentary canal and out of the body in the faeces.
More can be absorbed to meet the needs of the body e.g.…read more

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Phosphorus is a non-metallic chemical element which exists in different forms. The most
common form is a yellow, poisonous waxy substance, which burns slowly at room
temperature and no animal or plant can exist without it.
Easily obtained from foods as it is available form many types:
Milk and other dairy products
Green Vegetables
Carbonated drinks e.g. coke
Whole grains e.g. brown rice
Since phosphorus occurs in all living cells it is found in all natural foods.…read more

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This is
because the calcium and phosphorus cannot combine to make calcium phosphate.
Interaction with Calcium
85% of phosphorus in the body combines with calcium to form calcium phosphate, the
source of strength in bones and teeth. Calcium and phosphorus should be taken on a 1:1
ratio. If more calcium or phosphorus is taken than the other one, it will affect the
absorption of calcium. Phosphorus can also help the absorption of iron in the body.…read more

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Symptoms of deficiency are initially hard to recognise.…read more

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Maintains fluid and electrolyte balance
Preserving or restoring normal functions of cells
Facilitates the body's ability to deal with excess sodium
Decrease in sodium intake and an increase in foods high in potassium
Not usually a problem in U.…read more

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It's the sodium content that is bad for health. Salt = sodium x 2.5
Essential constraints of body fluids (maintain fluid balance and also required to
control movement of fluid between different body components)
Enzyme activation in the body and transport of CO2 in body
Helps top conduct nerve impulse and bring about muscle contraction in heart.…read more

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Protection against dental deformities
Important in strengthening teeth against decay (thought to combine protective
enamel coating teeth, making resistant to attack from acid)
Accelerates the remineralisation process when teeth have started to demineralize
in the presence of low oral PH
Forms calcium flurapatite (this increase bone mineral and decreases its solubility
to acid) As a result this action contributes to resistance against dental cavities
Minute quantities are only required
-An upper limit intake for infants = 0.…read more

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Thyroid hormones are needed to help metabolic processes as they contribute to
the control of body weight, cellular metabolism and the integrity of connective
During first three months of gestation (baby development) iodine is required for
the development of the nervous system
RNI for teenagers and adults - 150µg/day
Leads to modification in the production of the thyroid hormones, which can cause a
change in metabolic rate
In cases of deficiency lethargy and swelling of the thyroid gland in the neck to…read more

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Selenium is thought to interfere with sulphur compounds and even replace sulphur in the
body, as these two minerals are very similar bio chemically and thus may decrease a
number of enzyme actions
Long term ingestion of high amounts of selenium may cause problems with tooth enamel
and strength as higher selenium levels seem to increase tooth decay.…read more


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