Minerals are micronutrient substances that do not directly supply energy (unlike carbohydrates, lipids and proteins), but their presence is necessary for reactions with energy release. The organism is not able to synthesize any mineral; it is therefore necessary to introduce them with food and drink.
We can divide minerals into macroelements and microelements.
It acts to regulate the acid-base balance and the hydrosaline balance and is fundamental for the functioning of the nervous system.
It intervenes in the nervous transmission and in the regulation of the acid-base balance and of the hydrosaline balance.
Stimulates muscles and nerves and makes blood coagulation; it also carries out enzymatic activity, and is a structural element of bones, teeth and cells.
It represents the component of energy-rich phosphate bonds, and is a structural element of bones, teeth and cells.
It regulates the water balance and produces hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
It acts as an enzymatic activator and acts as a modulator of the muscular electrical activity.
The main task of iron is to bind oxygen in the hemoglobin molecule and in other oxygen transporters (myoglobin, cytochromes).
It is involved in the production, storage and secretion of insulin.
It is a fundamental constituent of the enzymes involved in iron metabolism and in the production of blood.
It is essential for the functioning of some enzymes.
It is the component of thyroid hormones.
A constituent of some enzymes, it is involved in glucose metabolism and in general in energy metabolism.
It performs its function in association with vitamin E, protecting cells from oxidation damage and preventing the formation of free radicals.
It is a cofactor of enzymes involved in redox reactions.
Other minerals, called trace elements because present in concentration lower than the microgram per gram of diet, have not yet been considered as essential (lithium, vanadium, silicon, nickel, arsenic, lead).
The minerals to be bioavailable must be chelated, that is transformed into assimilable form. Bioavailability is also influenced by intrinsic factors such as age, sex, intestinal or alimentary infections, eating habits, stress, pregnancy and lactation and extrinsic factors related to the chemical form and solubility of the mineral.
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