Mineral and Water Function

737 words | 3 page(s)

The intention of this essay is to give an explanation of the basic functions and sources of minerals and water in the body. This includes a discussion on the general effect of dehydration, and the functions, sources and deficiency conditions of two major and two minor minerals. I also discuss anemia, its symptoms, the required minerals and food sources required by those with the disease, the areas affected, and how the disease is managed or treated.

The Basic Functions and Sources of Minerals in the Body
Minerals are inorganic (non-carbon) substances which are sourced from rocks and soil. As they are a crucial element of our daily diet, and are required by the body for biological processes and functions, they are classed as essential nutrients (Haris, n.d.). These are frequently split up into two groups: macro-minerals (which are the major minerals), and micro-minerals (which are the trace minerals). Both categories have equal importance, however the micro-minerals are required in smaller quantities. The quantities demanded by the body are not indicative of their value (Web MD, 2017). Humans ingest minerals in two main ways: via consuming meat from animals that eat plants, and buying plant-based food such as green leafy vegetables or carrots which have roots that take up minerals from the soil. Another means is by purchasing mineral supplements (Haris, n.d.).

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The Basic Functions and Sources of Water in the Body
Water has numerous functions. Practically all the body’s systems require water. It moistens tissues, for example, in the nose, eyes and mouth. It protects the body’s tissues and organs. It assists in preventing constipation. It assists in dissolving various nutrients such as minerals, and allows them to be more accessible for the body. It acts as a body temperature regulator. It lubricates the joints. It flushes waste products out of the body, and it transports oxygen and nutrients to the cells (Mayo Clinic, n.d.). Some of the water in our bodies derives from food and liquid drinks, and a percentage of it is generated from our metabolic processing. The general effect of hydration results in an imbalance of body fluids (Medline Plus, 2015). Symptoms include: confusion, fatigue, dizziness, extreme thirst. It becomes life threatening when severe (Mayo Clinic 1, n.d.).

Functions, Sources and Deficiency Conditions of Two Major and Minor Minerals
Calcium is a macro-mineral which is found in the blood and bones, helps the bones maintain density and strength, and assists in the maintenance of healthy strong teeth. A deficiency can result in osteoporosis. Calcium-rich foods include: bones canned fish, dairy produce, and leafy green vegetables (Haris, n.d.).

Sodium is also a macro-mineral. It is required for correct fluid balance, muscle contraction and nerve transmission. Sodium can be obtained from unprocessed meat, vegetables, bread, processed food, soy sauce and table salt. Deficiency conditions include: hyponatrimia which can result in headaches, seizures and muscle spasms (Web Med, 2017).

Iodine is a micro-mineral. It is required for the thyroid hormone. Iodine can be obtained from dairy produce, bread, iodized salt, and seafood. Hypothyroidism includes fatigue, over-sensitivity to cold, dry skin, constipation, thinning hair, a puffy face and weak muscles, and a slow heat rate (Web Med, 2017).

Iron is another micro-mineral. It forms part of a red blood cell molecule known as hemoglobin. Its purpose is to assist in energy metabolism and to transport oxygen around the body. It can be found in poultry, fish, red meat, dried fruit, fortified cereals and bread, legumes, nuts, egg yolks, dark leafy vegetables, and seafood. A common iron deficiency is anemia. This comes about when the red blood cell level is less than the minimum required. The commonest form of anemia is iron deficiency anemia due to insufficient iron. This can be due to not receiving sufficient iron-rich food. Symptoms comprise: headaches, brittle nails, an irregular of fast heartbeat, cold feet and hands, a sore or swollen tongue, a feeling of crawling or in the legs, dizziness, shortness of breath, and pale skin Treatment involves the physician prescribing iron supplements, or recommending an iron-rich diet (Web Med, 2017).

  • Haris, Nadia (n.d.). SF Gate. “What Are the Main Functions of Minerals in the Body?” retrieved from http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/main-functions-minerals-body-4171.html
  • Mayo Clinic (n.d.). “Nutrition and Healthy Eating.” Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/multimedia/functions-of-water-in-the-body/img-20005799
  • Web MD (2017). “Minerals: Their Functions and Sources – Topic Overview.” Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/tc/minerals-their-functions-and-sources-topic-overview

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