Water is the most natural source of fluid. Running water is not an ideal solution in many cases since we cannot fully compensate the minerals and trace elements that get lost with the fluid. At most times we do not even know the components of running water. Mineral water, which contains numerous mineral and trace elements (and is also an excellent thirst extinguisher), is the best for supplementing our biological demand for water. The action mechanism of trace elements is quite complicated. Because they occur together, they can either help or block each other's effects. For example:
- The overdose of zinc causes anemia which can be counter-balanced with copper; manganese blocks iron in the blood.
Twelve elements make up 99.75% of the body, while the rest is made up of forty trace elements. Some of them is essential, because they are necessary for the normal functioning of the body in appropriate concentration. There are the so-called essential elements. The other part of the non-essential trace elements are not integral, and some of them are toxic. Although this categorization is trying to take into account many properties, according to scientist the tightening of the rigid boundaries is not appropriate since, for example, arsenic is toxic in large amounts, but it essential in small quantities. Therefore, their correct interpretation is very important; the decision of toxicity and importance is determined by its quantity (concentration).
Macro elements that partake in the synthesis of the body: carbon (C), hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), sulphur (S), calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sodium (Na), chlorine (Cl), magnesium (Mg).
The six inert gases [helium (He), neon (Ne), argon (Ar), kripton (Kr), xenon (Xe) radon (Rn)] can be excluded from this list because their function in life is unclear.
The elements outside of the ones listed above are called trace elements (micro elements) in the Periodic table. Essential trace elements: until 1957, the essential traits of the following elements were known: cobalt (Co), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), iodine (I), manganese (Mn), selenium (Se), zink (Zn), molybdenum (Mo). Today we know this of 15-18 elements. The nine elements above supplement the following: fluoride (F), lead (Pb), nickel (Ni), silicon (Si), lithium (Li), and probably the next are essential traits of elements as well: vanadium (V), arsenic (As), tin (Sn).
Mineral metabolism is an important part of the biological processes: it prevents disturbance of electrolyte-households. Some minerals also have the same function as vitamins.
Zinc supports and assures the soundness of cells. As a component in Insulin, it takes part in regulating blood sugar levels. Besides insulin, zinc is also present in more than sixty kinds of enzymes; it aids in metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It also plays a role in healing wounds and in the proper function of the immune system. It is integral for the synthesis of proteins and DNS, for the adequate function of the prostate gland, and it also plays a significant role in the development of the reproductive organs. It is important for the stabilization of blood and the sustenance of acid balance. It helps cure sterility and prevent prostate problems. It decreases cholesterol deposition and it contributes to the treatment of mental problems. Wounds heal slower, growth may be stunted, and sexual problems can occur as a result of zinc deficiency. Its deficiency can also lead to the decrease of appetite, lack of taste, and to anemia. The not-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland can occur as well.
Daily need: for men 15 mg, for women 12 mg, for little children 10 mg, for babies 5 mg.
Fluorine is is the building block of bones and teeth. Its absence facilitates the formation of tooth cavities, the chipping of teeth, and the malformation of incisors. Fluorine requirement for pregnant and breast feeding mothers have to be especially paid attention to. Its overdose is dangerous and can cause mutations of the bones, teeth, and joins. It can also cause anemia.
Daily need: 1,5 mg
Phosphorus, together with Calcium, is an important building element of bones and teeth. It is necessary for the regulation of heart function, for the normal function of the kidneys, and for the transmission of impulses. It decreases pains associated with inflamed joints. It is important for the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. It plays an important role in the fluid-filled spaces of the body and in the regulation of pH. Our organs store a part of phosphorus deposit as energy reserves. Deficiencies usually do not occur.
Daily need: 600-800 mg.
Iodine is one of the generators of thyroid gland hormones and it plays a role in warding off harmful radioactive rays of the environment. It makes dieting easier by helping burn off of excess fat. It helps in physical and mental growth. It improves mental acuity and it ensures the health of our hair, nails, skin, and teeth. Metabolism may slow slow down and depression and weight gain can occur with Iodine deficiency. Fat could grow in the serum, cretinism can occur in young age, the death of a fetus in a pregnant mother, spontaneous abortion, and fetal development abnormalities can also occur. A common symptom is goiter, the enlargement of the thyroid gland.
Daily need: 150 µg, during pregnancy: 175 µg, during breast-feeding: 200 µg
Calcium is a major component of teeth and bones. It has great importance in the function of muscles, certain enzymes, and the nervous system. Calcium and magnesium are responsible for normal heart function and blood circulation. Its deficiency can cause problems in the development of muscles and the nervous system in children. It can cause bone growth as well as mental problems. Increased gradual cramp responsiveness of muscles and the fragility of bones can occur in adults. Its long term deficiency, along with inadequate amount of exercise, can lead to osteoporosis.
Daily need: 800 mg.
Potassium, can be found inside the cells, almost without exception, dissolved inside the cell plasma. It is an important building block of cells. It plays a role in regulating body fluids, maintaining the balance of acids, transporting impulses, and supplying energy to cells. It is also necessary for the functioning of muscles and the heart. It helps in depleting excreta and contributes to lowering blood pressure. Its deficiency does not happen easily, vomiting or diarrhea is what mostly brings it about. With its absence, the heart's function gets disturbed and it causes muscle weakness, cramps, decrease of blood pressure, and circulation, bowel, and kidney problems.
Daily need: 3000-3500 mg.
Sulphur is essential for healthy hair, skin, and nails. It helps with the maintenance of the oxygen balance that is needed for normal functioning. It contributes to the separation of the bile in the liver and to fighting off bacterial infections.
Daily need: not determined.
Chlorine is mostly found outside of the cells in fluid filled regions and in gastric acid. Outside of the cells, it is found attached to sodium and to potassium. Chlorine and hydrogen create gastric acid together in the stomach, and it helps prepare for digestion. It also helps with the function of the liver by freeing the body from excreta. Usually, enough of it gets into the body with the consumption of regular salt. Its deficiency rarely happens (if it does, it causes hair and tooth loss).
Daily need: 3000 mg
Cobalt is needed for the generation of red blood cells. Its deficiency can cause anaemia.
Daily need: The suggested daily intake is not determined, but the body needs very small portions. Normally not more than 8g.
Chromium is a necessary element for humans. The consistency of chromium in the organs and tissues decreases from birth until the age of ten. After this it gradually increases and then it starts to decrease again with older age. Chromium strengthens the affect of insulin and it plays an important role in maintaining normal glucose tolerance. Chromium activates enzymes too, and it helps amino acids build into proteins and in stabilizing them. It prevents, or rather decreases high blood pressure. Chromium also helps growth. Numerous symptoms imply deficiency: decreased glucose tolerance, stunted growth, decrease of lifespan, as well as reduced insulin, cholesterol, triglyceride, and carbohydrate in blood circulation. Problems with protein metabolism can also show up, productivity decreases and the number of spermatozoon are less. It has been shown that the proportion of heart problems is high where chromium is low in their drinking water.
Daily need: The effects of chromium deficiency has been noted, but the exact daily need has not been determined. (The average daily intake is: 50-200 g)
Lithium is very likely to effect people's moods. Lithium salt is used for the treatment of manic depression (It cannot be given to pregnant women). Its deficiency effects problems of the heart and circulation. Low intake can also impact the chances of reproduction as well as the weight of the fetus. Daily need: 20-30 mg
Magnesium is an important element in the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates; it is necessary for the function of nerves, muscles, and the vascular system and it plays an important role in the structure and growth of bones. It helps fight off depression. It helps prevent the formation of kidney and gall stones that contain calcium. In case of deficiency, insomnia, concentration problems, dizziness, headaches, increased tiredness, problems with the nervous system and with metabolism can occur. Blood circulation can decay; personality changes, muscle cramps, anorexia, and nausea could also occur as symptoms.
Daily need: 300-350 mg, in case of heavy manual work, during pregnancy and breast-feeding 450 mg.
Manganese is the building element of some enzymes. It takes part in the metabolism of protein, fat, and carbohydrate, as well as in the building of connective tissues and bones. It plays an important role in the formation of thyroxine, thyroid gland hormones, and in the digestion and utilization of nutriments. It is important for normal reproduction, and for the functioning of the central nervous system. Its absence can cause hair pigment and ossification problems.
Daily need: for adult 2-5 mg, for babies 2,5-25 g/ttkg (till 6 months age).
Molybdenum helps with the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. It is an important part of enzymes, which is responsible for the utilization of iron.
Daily need: 150-500 g
Sodium, together with choline and potassium, regulates body fluids. It plays an important role in vexing of the muscles, regulating blood pressure, and activating some enzymes. It helps prevent sunstroke and exhaustion caused by heat. Its deficiency causes weakness, squeamishness, muscle cramps, fainting, inadequate digestion of carbohydrates, and even neuralgia.
Daily need: 2000 mg.
Copper is needed for iron to infiltrate in the hemoglobin. It contributes to the use of an amino acid called tyrosine, by making the hair and skin pigments its factors. It is essential for the utilization of vitamin C. Copper deficiency is rare, but when absent it can cause anemia, edema, or bone development problems.
Daily need: 2-3 mg.
Selenium has a role in maintaining the soundness of cell membranes. It blocks the reactions of oxidative roots, this way it prevents or at least blocks the aging and hardening of tissues. Therefore it helps keep the youth and flexibility of tissues. It alleviates the heat waves and indisposition that appear during menopause. It also prevents dandruff.
Daily need: 60 µg
Silicon takes part in the building of connective tissues and bones and in the formation of connective tissues and cartilage formation. Silicon deficiency slows down growth and speeds up the aging process.
Daily need: not determined.
Vanadium blocks the deposition of cholesterol in the vascular walls. It helps prevent heart attacks.
Daily need: not determined.
The main purpose of Iron is the carriage of electrons, carbon dioxide, and oxygen. Iron is needed for the production of hemoglobin (red blood cells), myoglobin (the red paint material of muscles), and certain enzymes. It helps growth, increases the ability to resist illnesses, and it prevents tiredness. Vitamin C and animal proteins boost its absorption; tannin and phytin acids from grain block it. Iron deficiency causes anemia, weakness, paleness, tiredness, headaches, tongue and throat ache, and palpitations. It can cause loss of appetite, stunted growth, and decreased resistance (danger of infections) in children.
Daily need: for children 10-15 mg, for women 15-18 mg, for men 12 mg, for pregnant women 30-60 mg.