Everything you need to know about mineral supplements

Minerals are vital for our health, but the body cannot make them.

There are macrominerals (Magnesium, calcium). And trace minerals which are required in much smaller quantities (copper, chromium, iron, iodine, manganese, selenium, molybdenum). 

Most common deficiencies that people have are Iron, iodine, calcium, and magnesium deficiency.

Boron

It is an essential mineral that stimulates the normal growth and health of the body.

Boron is not included in many multivitamin-mineral supplements because there is no RDA established by the government.

For general health, look for a multimineral that has 1.5-3 mg of boron.

Look for boron chelates for osteoporosis and for sodium tetraborate decahydrate to treat osteoarthritis.

Possible side effects: If you get less than 9 mg you won’t have negative effects.

Taking large quantities of boron supplements can lead to reactions like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, skin problems, anxiety, and depression.

Interactions: Women who take estrogen supplements should be careful with boron because boron increases estrogen levels in the body.

Talk with your doctor before getting a boron supplement if you have a kidney or liver disease.

Calcium

A report explained that most adults and children get only half of the calcium they need from the foods they eat.

Ninety-nine percent of the calcium is in the bones and 1% plays an essential role in many body functions.

If you don’t get enough calcium from the diet, then calcium is removed from the bones to continue the essential body functions. Over time this will lead to weak bones or osteoporosis.

Dosage information: The adult RDI is 800 mg for men, 1200 mg for women, and 1500 mg for the pregnant women.

You should take the calcium 2 or 3 times a day because the body absorbs it more easily.

The best forms for a better absorption are:

  • Calcium citrate- You can get it with or without food
  • Calcium carbonate- You should take it with food because stomach acid will help to absorb this form.
  • Calcium gluconate- It is best to take it with food.

You can test the calcium absorption by placing the pill in a warm glass of water, shake it and leave the mixture for 24 hours. If the calcium hasn’t been dissolved, the absorbency rate is poor. So, try another brand.

Magnesium and calcium work together.

It’s recommended taking the two supplements together. The combination should be 2:1 (2 calcium and 1 magnesium).

Interactions: Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking prescription drugs like antibiotics and blood pressure medications.

People who are using drugs to treat epilepsy or other seizure disorders should discuss the need for a calcium supplement with their doctor.

If you take iron supplements, take the calcium supplement two hours after iron. The reason is that calcium inhibits the effectiveness of both nutrients.

Chromium

It’s an essential mineral that helps the body maintain healthy levels of cholesterol and blood sugar.

The recommended level of chromium is 50-200 mcg daily, and the therapeutic dose is 200 mcg.

The more carbohydrates you eat, the more chromium you need.

Take chromium with food and with vitamin C to increase absorption.

The preferred forms are chelated tablets, such as chelated chromium picolinate.

Another form is chromium polynicotinate (chromium chelated to niacin), is also effective.

Side effects: You may not have side effects if you take 50-300 mcg per day. If you take over 1000 mcg regularly, you may have a kidney or liver damage.

People with diabetes should consult with their doctor before taking chromium because chromium affects the blood sugar levels. 

Copper

It is essential for the formation of bone, red blood cells, and hemoglobin. It is also necessary for the proper absorption and utilization of iron.

Dosage information: At high doses (+10 mg), you may have nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, and stomach pain.

Excessive copper may also cause damage to joint tissues.

Interactions: Woman who are pregnant or who are taking birth control pills should ask their doctor before taking the copper supplements.

Iodine

It is necessary for the normal function of thyroid gland.

The iron deficiency may lead to goiter, hypothyroidism, impairment mental and physical development in children.

Dosage information: The recommended daily allowance for adults is 150 mcg and 200 mcg for the pregnant and breastfeeding woman. The therapeutic dose is 50-300 mcg.

You don’t need iodine supplement unless you show signs of iodine deficiency.

Side effects: Taking over 1500 mcg a day may inhibit thyroid hormone secretion. In some cases can contribute to acne.

Interactions: People with the hypothyroid disorder should avoid foods that contain high amounts of iodine. Because it can block the uptake of iodine into the thyroid.

Iron

Take iron supplements only under a doctors care. It is best to take 30 minutes before a meal.

The RDA for iron is 10 mg for adult men, 15 mg for the adult woman, 30 mg for the pregnant woman, 15 mg for lactating woman.

Possible side effects: Excessive intake of iron- Resulting from mega dosing or from taking the iron when you don’t have deficiency may lead to:

  • Inhibit the function of the immune system
  • a headache
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • cancer and heart attack
  • increase the risk of cirrhosis
  • damage to the intestinal tract

Interactions: Vitamin A, C increase the iron absorption. And, it is decreased by intake of caffeine, calcium, zinc, and high-fiber foods.

Warning: Iron poisoning is one of the most common causes of child poisoning. Especially young children, as they take their mother’s prenatal vitamins.

Try to keep vitamins with iron out of the reach of children.

Magnesium

Magnesium plays an essential role in several crucial body functions. From the creation of bones to the beating of the heart and the balance of sugar in the blood.

Dosage: The RDA for adults is 325 mg and 450 mg for a pregnant woman.

Magnesium can compete with other minerals for absorption. So, it is the best to take with a multivitamin-mineral supplement or with a calcium supplement.

Possible side effects: For some people taking 350-500 mg may cause diarrhea. People who have kidney disease should avoid magnesium supplements.

Magnesium can interact with aminoglycoside antibiotics (amikacin, gentamicin, tobramycin) and can cause muscle problems.

Magnesium with muscle relaxants can increase the risk of negative effects of muscle relaxants.

It can also interact with diuretics, ulcer medications, and anticoagulant drugs.

Do not take magnesium if you suffer from kidney disorders.

Manganese

It is an essential mineral for healthy bone, skin, nerves, and cartilage.

Dosage information: The daily minimum requirement is 2.5-5 mg.

People with cirrhosis of the liver should avoid manganese supplements because they may not excrete this mineral.

Interactions: Calcium and iron reduce the amount of manganese the boy can absorb.

Antacids and articular drugs may interfere with the absorption of manganese.

Phosphorus

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and phosphorus is the second. They depend on each other to keep the body healthy.

The dosage information: The RDA for phosphorus is 800 mg for adults and 1200 mg for the pregnant and nursing woman.

Most people do not need to take phosphorus supplements. Many people consume too much phosphorus from soft drinks and foods that contain phosphoric acid as a preservative.

Possible side effects: Excessive phosphorus can cause calcium loss and osteoporosis.

Potassium

It is an electrolyte necessary for the maintenance of regular heart rhythm, blood pressure, acid levels and water balance.

People who are taking diuretics (water pills) or laxatives, those who have chronic diarrhea or kidney disorders, tend to have low levels of potassium

Dosage information: The RDA for potassium is 900 mg for adults.

Consuming too much sodium and too little potassium can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.

Possible side effects: Do not take a potassium supplement if you suffer from a kidney disorder. If you take more than 99 mg of potassium supplement may irritate the stomach, causing nausea, vomiting, and ulcer.

The potassium in banana( it has 500 mg potassium) does not cause this side effect.

Interactions: You should not take potassium supplements along with ACE inhibitors, and many types of antibiotics.

Selenium

It is an antioxidant found in every cell that works with vitamin E to prevent free radical damage.

It has been shown in more than 20 countries that low selenium levels are associated with the increased risk of cardiovascular disease and more than 8 types of cancer.

Dosage information: The RDA for adults is 50 mcg and the therapeutic dose is 200 mcg. Do not take a higher amount unless you are under a doctor’s care.

Possible side effects: Taking excessive amounts of selenium(+1000 mcg) can cause rash and changes in the nervous system

Interactions: High intake of zinc and vitamin C can interfere with selenium absorption.

Zinc

It is a crucial mineral for the work of more than 300 enzymes in the body. These enzymes assist in many functions.

People who drink too much alcohol, people with chronic kidney disease and with malabsorption conditions are most likely to be deficient in zinc.

Dosage information: The RDA for adults is 15mg and 20 mg for the pregnant woman. The therapeutic dose is 30-45mg.

Look for forms of zinc – Zinc picolinate, zinc aspirate, or zinc chelate because these forms are more absorbable.

Avoid eating foods 2 hours of taking a zinc supplement because the body will not absorb it.

If you take copper, iron, or phosphorus supplements, take them at least two hours before or after taking zinc.

Side effects: Zinc lozenges may cause mouth irritation, nausea, and stomachache. Taking a supplement with more than 300 mg daily may impair the immune system

Interaction: The use of oral contraceptives and diuretics can interfere with zinc absorption.

Mineral supplements

The best way to get minerals is by following a healthy diet. But, sometimes even people who have healthy eating habits have a hard time getting all the healthy food they need. A supplement will help to add the missing minerals.

People who are most likely to need a supplement are:

  • People who eat a diet low in calories and nutrients.
  • People who are sick, injured or recovering from surgery.
  • The woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • People who have allergies from a certain type of foods, or who are vegetarian.

Conclusion: This article has basic information about mineral supplements. And you should consult with your doctor or pharmacist before taking a supplement about possible side effects.

Read: Minerals and their importance in our health