Mineral and Water Function

Mineral and Water Function
A balanced diet usually provides one with all the minerals needed for the body while the essential need for water makes it possible for the body to dissolve and absorb these minerals. The body needs minerals to function and survive. These are more commonly referred to as essential minerals. Essential minerals can be broken down into two subgroups, macrominerals, being major minerals and microminerals trace minerals, with the two not really being more important than the other but more in the form of needing larger quantities than the other (Romito & O'Brien, 2014).
Major and Minor Minerals
Macrominerals consist of minerals such as calcium and potassium. Calcium helps with bone strength, muscle relaxation and contracting, nerve regulation, blood clotting, regulating blood pressure, and overall immune system health. Calcium can be retrieved from a number of food sources, such as milk and milk based products, fish, soy products, and greens and legumes (Romito & O'Brien, 2014). Without a source of calcium, one would develop a calcium deficiency called hypocalcemia. Symptoms can range from brittle nails, tooth decay, and dry skin to osteoporosis, cancer, and heart failure (Lockhart, 2017). Potassium is needed for fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve transmission. It can be retrieved from sources such as meats, milk, fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains (Romito & O'Brien, 2014). Without potassium it could lead to a condition called Hypokalemia. Hypokalemia can also cause an array of symptoms such as weakness, lethargy, muscle cramps, bloating, nausea, and heart palpitations (Cunha, 2016).
Minor minerals or microminerals are just as essential but the body needs less of them to regulate properly. Some of these microminerals are chromium and copper. Chromium works with the body's insulin to help regulate glucose levels. It is provided by sources such as livers, yeast, whole grains, nuts, and cheese (Romito & O'Brien, 2014). Low or lack of chromium levels in the body can range in symptoms from fatigue, delayed growth in children to more severe ailments such as atherosclerosis and diabetes (Weil, 2012). Copper is another mineral the body needs in only trace amounts to make a hug difference. Copper works alongside iron to help the body in the formation of red blood cells. It helps the functioning of the heart as well as promoting healthy connective tissues. Copper sources come from vegetables, shellfish, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and avocados. Copper deficiency symptoms include bleeding under the skin, hair loss, damaged blood vessels, an enlarged heart, osteoporosis, and osteoarthritis (Weil, 2012).
Mineral Disorders
Iodine is a trace mineral, meaning that one may need very little for proper functioning, but without it, one may become ill and suffer from its effects. Iodine is a mineral in the hormone which is found in the thyroid which regulates the body's temperature and growth. Iodine is not found naturally in the body; so it must be found in other sources like food. This can include cow's milk and dairy products, eggs, salt water fish, seaweed, soy products, and it is commonly added to things like table salt. Symptoms and ailments associated with iodine deficiency include hypothyroidism, goiters, and pregnancy related issues such as miscarriage, stillbirth, and pre-term delivery. Damage to an infant from a mother with an iodine deficiency can include birth defects such as mental retardation, hearing, and growth issues. Iodine deficiency affects people all over the world, while it is less common in the U.S., it is prevalent in more in parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Iodine deficiency levels are as followed ("Iodine Deficiency", 2017).
MEDIAN URINARY IODINE CONCENTRATION ( μg /L)
CORRESPONDING IODINE INTAKE ( μg /day)
IODINE NUTRITION
<20
<30
SEVERE DEFICIENCY
20-49
30-74
MODERATE DEFICIENCY
50-99
75-149
MILD DEFICIENCY
100-199
150-299
OPTIMAL
200-299
300-449
MORE THAN ADEQUATE
>299
>449
POSSIBLE EXCESS
Iodine deficiency is easily prevented by following a balanced diet that contains iodine enriched food and vitamins. Prevention is the best way to solve the issue rather than managing it, since managing it requires the same methods in preventing it ("Iodine Deficiency", 2017).
Functions of Water and Dehydration
Water being approximately 60% of one's body weight, it is important to maintain proper hydration. Water intake supplies the body's cells with water which helps