Minerals are essential to our well being. Among all of the nutrients that we need in our bodies, minerals are important components of our body tissues and fluids. They also make up our enzyme systems and help maintain healthy nerve functions.
There are two major categories of minerals. One is called macrominerals, and the other is termed as microminerals.
What are the Two Types of Minerals
Macrominerals are the types of minerals that are present in larger amounts in the body or diet. These include calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium, chlorine, phosphorus, and sulfur.
Microminerals, also known as trace elements, on the other hand, are required in smaller quantities. Examples of trace minerals are fluoride, zinc, selenium, iron, iodine, and copper.
In this article, we will focus on two microminerals — copper and manganese.
Essential Trace Minerals: Copper and Manganese
Despite being trace elements, both copper and manganese play enormous roles in carrying out and maintaining various biological processes in the body.
What are the Benefits of Copper
Copper is one of the must-have minerals for the body to function properly. Taking in adequate amounts is beneficial. Having too much or lack of dietary copper can cause various health problems. Some of them include:
1. Production of red blood cells
Together with iron, copper enables the body to produce red blood cells.
2. Maintains immune function
Severe dietary copper deficiency can lead to a shortage of immune system’s defensive cells that fight off infection. These include white blood cells and neutrophils that work against infectious microorganisms.
3. Heart rate and blood pressure regulation
Research suggests that low amounts of copper have been linked to high blood pressure and heart rate issues. Although it remains unclear in humans, the deficiency of copper in animals are found to be related to cardiovascular diseases.
4. Development and maintenance of bones, connective tissues, and organs like the heart or the brain
Too little copper and manganese can lead to lower bone mineral density, which can result in osteoporosis.
What are the Benefits of Manganese
Manganese is necessary for growth and development. It works in the different areas of the body, such as musculoskeletal, nervous, enzyme, and other systems. Here are research-based benefits of manganese.
1. Lowers the incidence of seizures
Manganese works as a vasodilator that helps in enlarging the diameter of the veins. If the veins are appropriately enlarged, the blood can efficiently flow through them and carry nutrients to the brain. Adequate levels of manganese help prevent poor blood flow to the brain, which is one of the leading causes of epilepsy in adults aged thirty-five above.
2. Improves bone health
Manganese aids in the maintenance and development of bones. When it is combined with other nutrients such as calcium, copper, and zinc, they may help reduce spinal bone loss that may lead to osteoporosis. These nutrients support bone mineral density. It also aids in the formation of bones and connective tissues, particularly in children.
3. May reduce the risk against free radicals and certain diseases
The human cell contains a lot of antioxidant enzyme systems that fight free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage the cells and tissues in the body, causing certain diseases. One antioxidant, called enzyme superoxide dismutase is a very important compound that contains manganese. They fight free radicals that are associated with heart disease, aging, and cancer.
4. Helps blood sugar regulation
Several studies indicate that people with diabetes mellitus (a condition that affects how the body uses blood sugar) have lower manganese blood levels. Along with other elements, it was proven in a study that the deficiency of manganese may play a role in the development of diabetes.
5. Aids in the metabolism of other nutrients
Manganese aids in metabolism, the activation of several enzymes that play a role in certain chemical processes in the body. It helps metabolize cholesterol and carbohydrates; as well as digest and utilize proteins or amino acids.
Copper and Manganese Help Release Thyroid Hormones!
Both of these minerals are essential requirements to release thyroid hormones into our bloodstream. In a 2016 study, researchers found that increased uptake of Copper and Manganese resulted in higher levels of thyroid hormones T3 and T4 in the blood. What happens when these hormones are abundant in our bloodstream? Well, it rejuvenates and puts metabolism into overdrive, which could end mood swings and help us burn pounds and pounds of belly fat each week. Isn’t it amazing?
Without adequate amounts of dietary copper and manganese, a myriad of chemical processes in our bodies will not function properly.
About the Author:
Mike Zhang is the founder of the MZF Group. He graduated from the University of Toronto on the dean's list with a Masters Degree in science. Mike was a two time National Muay Thai Champion, and a strength and conditioning coach to several learned athletes. He has over 14 years of experience as a Muay Thai Coach.