Minerals are inorganic substances that play an important role in many of the body’s functions. Minerals fall into two categories: major or macrominerals and trace minerals. Both groups are important for the body. Major minerals include sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and sulfur.
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Trace minerals, while equally important, are consumed in smaller amounts and include iron, zinc, iodine, copper, and fluoride. All of our body's supply of minerals must come from the foods we eat because our organs cannot produce these materials on their own. Because some minerals are found only in trace amounts in even healthy foods, taking a mineral supplement may be necessary to get the levels you need to ensure good health.
There is a variety of lesser-known minerals including selenium, manganese, and copper that may be beneficial for individuals with certain deficiencies or health care concerns that can be obtained through certain supplements. These products can help to promote overall health and well-being, particularly when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Selenium is a trace element found in seafood, organ or muscle meats and dairy products. In the United States, true selenium deficiencies are rare and most often seen in those with HIV or those who are undergoing kidney dialysis. Researchers are currently investigating the benefits of selenium supplementation for cancer, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and thyroid disease, but ongoing research is needed to further substantiate these preliminary findings. Selenium may interact with medications including cisplatin, which is a drug used to treat cancer.
Manganese is another trace mineral found in nuts, legumes, some seeds, teas, whole grains and leafy green vegetables. It is used to treat manganese deficiency, which is rare and is also used to treat osteoporosis (bone density loss), anemia (low iron levels in the blood) and some symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Manganese is sometimes combined with chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride in multi-ingredient products that are used in supplementation for the treatment of osteoarthritis.
Copper is a mineral that helps build red blood cells and maintain nerve cells. It is found in whole grain breads, liver, cereals, shellfish, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and chocolate. Individuals with certain medical conditions may benefit from copper supplements such as those with anemia or osteoarthritis.
Since some of these minerals have side effects or potential interactions with other prescribed medications, over the counter drugs or supplements, it is important that you work with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure supplementation is right for you. The discussion should include information about your medical history and your current medication regimen including prescriptions, over the counter medications and other supplements. drugstore.com offers a variety of multimineral supplements, allowing you to find the combination that is best for your unique needs.
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