Magic Minerals! (Part 2)

by Steven Carney on August 5, 2013

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I’m sure you’ve heard of minerals before. If you didn’t see my “Magic Minerals, Part 1” be sure to review that post by scrolling down. For part 2, I’m continuing to list them alphabetically, as I did in part 1.

If you take a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement, good for you! For those adults who don’t think they need a daily vitamin/mineral supplement, the problem is simple: modern farming methods in the U.S. focus on crop yields (food per acre), not on nutrition or your health! It’s about profit!

Many experts agree that nutritional levels in food have dropped in recent decades, so most adults (and children) need to include these critical micro-nutrients in supplement form. As you will see in the mineral details below, it’s extremely hard to get all your micro-nutrient needs met, especially in a good balance, without a supplement.

And if you include days of shipping time, handling and exposure to heat/light, the food you buy does not have the same nutrition as the food our parents or grandparents ate from the farm. Studies have demonstrated probable declines of up to 50% for a range of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients compared to previous generations (scroll down to see my recent Vitamin post for more details).

What are some common health benefits, sources and deficiencies for essential minerals? I will provide those important answers below, where I list last 5 minerals alphabetically (plus 2 that aren’t often included in supplements). Remember that vitamins and minerals work together with healthy food and many deficiencies are common for these critical micronutrients.


Main functions:

You’ve probably heard of magnesium but you may be unaware of how critical it is for your health! As I pointed out in the calcium section (Magic Minerals Part 1), magnesium works with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K2 to maintain strong bones and teeth. This combination also helps keep soft tissue (including arteries) from getting calcified.

Magnesium is also key for heart health because it plays a significant role in heart rhythm. It also plays an important role in healthy blood pressure, blood clotting, muscle function/relaxation, nerves, mood and brain function, and hundreds of chemical and metabolic functions including blood sugar, energy, immune health, asthma/relaxing airways, sleep/insomnia, etc.

Possible sources:

A healthy diet can offer some good sources, including nuts and seeds (almonds, cashews, peanuts, pumpkin seeds), fish, vegetables (spinach and leafy greens), beans and peas, quinoa and some grains.


It’s been estimated that 50-75% of Americans have some degree of magnesium deficiency! So like many other vitamins and minerals, deficiencies add up and contribute to chronic health problems, fatigue, faster aging, more colds, flu and allergies, etc. Low magnesium can also play a role in thyroid problems, especially hypothyroid (low thyroid hormones).

And once again, the RDA of 300-400 mg for adults is probably too low! You need enough magnesium (along with the other vitamins and minerals as covered in recent posts) if you want a longer life with fewer health problems and healthy aging!


Main functions:

I bet you haven’t heard of the essential mineral manganese. But like many others, we need it, through diet, supplements or both. Like calcium and magnesium, it’s essential for healthy bones. Like magnesium, it’s also important for metabolic activity, thyroid function, healthy hormone levels, blood glucose, brain/nervous system, healthy metabolism of proteins, fats and carbs, etc.

Possible sources:

Manganese is mostly found in nuts and seeds, avocados, veggies and greens, berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries), pineapple, beans, eggs and soy. One thing to be aware of is that some beans, sweet potatoes and cabbage can inhibit some manganese absorption so a supplement is helpful for that issue.


Like so many other vitamins and minerals, many adults have a deficiency of manganese. The RDA levels are around 2-2.5 mg for most adults, depending on gender (remember that RDAs are set at levels to avoid diseases). RDAs are not set for optimum health or a long, healthy life, which is why they are usually too low! Experts say over 30% of adults are deficient in manganese. And for optimum health, your needs will probably be higher so once again, I suggest a multi so you can be sure you get enough and in a good balance of vitamins and minerals.


Main functions:

Although you have probably heard of calcium, magnesium and other common minerals, you probably haven’t heard of molybdenum. It’s less known than most other vitamins and minerals and the RDA was only established around 2001. And like the more common minerals in multi-vitamin and mineral supplements, it’s an essential nutrient! Like other vitamins and minerals, it cooperates with other minerals in numerous bodily functions.

For example, it helps iron carry oxygen throughout your body (and can help to improve anemia). It’s also important for bone health/strength, important chemical and enzyme reactions, protein metabolism, antioxidant activity, liver detox, mood/well-being, and heart rate. It also helps kidney function/creation of uric acid, and helps to control some forms of asthma and inflammatory responses.

Possible sources:

Like many other minerals, you can get some molybdenum in veggies, especially dark, leafy greens, beans and legumes, nuts, some cereal grains, liver and organ meats.


The RDA is set in a narrow range, from about 40-50 mcg (micrograms) daily, which is only trace amounts. Because we don’t need much molybdenum, deficiency issues are less significant, but think about this: For those people who eat lots of fast/junk/processed food, it’s likely that you are not getting any useful levels of minerals like those listed here and in my previous post, “Magic Minerals, Part 1,” and only a few vitamins as covered in my previous post.

What scant micronutrients you might get in those processed foods will not be in the right balance or amounts! Plus, foods with high refined carbs or sugar (candy, chips, cookies, wheat-flour buns and rolls, etc.), deplete important vitamins and minerals during digestion, leaving you with a significant deficit! So again, balance is a key to optimum health!

Phosphorous and Potassium

I’m including a note about these important minerals even thought they aren’t in most multi-vitamin/minerals in significant amounts. As before, they are important and they interact with other vitamins and minerals for overall health so you do need them!

Phosphorus is found in nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, fish, meats, dairy/eggs, fruits/dried fruits, and veggies so eat those foods daily! The RDA for phosphorous is about 800-1,200 mg depending on age and gender (about the same intake as calcium). That means you need a good supply from dietary sources!

Potassium is an important electrolyte and it’s often too low in the U.S. diet because our sodium intake is too high. Most adults are deficient in potassium and/or eat far too much salt (see my previous post, “Salt and Health”). This is no minor problem! It’s significant enough to cause high blood pressure/hypertension and other problems, so eat plenty of fruits, veggies, avocado, artichoke, nuts and seeds, fish, poultry, beans and dairy foods.

The RDA is around 4,500-5,000 MG (think about it, these amounts are about 4-5 times our needs for calcium!), so we need a lot of potassium every day! It’s another reason why I recommend that my blog readers and clients eat more fish, nuts, fruits and veggies!


Main functions:

Selenium, like so many other essential vitamins and minerals works synergistically with them for many important functions. These include good thyroid function (see my recent post, “Iodine for Health”), and as a key antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It also helps DNA and cellular repair, joint health, cholesterol, brain and mood, and possible cancer prevention.

Possible sources:

Some good sources are nuts (Brazil nuts walnuts) and seeds, chicken and turkey, fish and seafood, dairy and cheese, eggs, organ meats, beans, soy, brown rice, etc.


Like other trace minerals, we don’t need large amounts. It’s also easy to have some degree of deficiency. For example, if you look at the food sources I listed, and ponder those people who eat lots of fast/junk and processed foods, you’ll notice that the healthy foods I listed are rarely eaten!

Plus, if someone has digestive problems, lots of micro-nutrients may be lost including selenium. The RDA for most adults is about 50-70 mcg (micrograms), depending on gender.

Once again, I recommend a multi so you know you are getting many of your basic needs met. And if you have thyroid problems, especially hypothyroid, you might need more selenium than an average person, along with iodine and other nutrients. So there are always exceptions to the RDA!


Main functions:

Zinc is probably best known for it’s role in supporting the immune system and fighting infection (including T-cell function), and for slowing the replication/spread of the common cold virus. It can also help with acne, wound healing, metabolism, blood sugar, appetite, and like magnesium, plays a role in hundreds of metabolic and chemical reactions in the body including DNA and repair. It may also help with sickle-cell, digestive function, stress management, sleep, as an antioxidant, and for prostate health and sex hormones. Quite a list! Do you want to have too little zinc and pay the price with your health?

Possible sources:

Like other minerals, zinc can be found in nuts and seeds, meats and seafood, dairy products, beans, and veggies like peas, but veggie sources are less-well absorbed.


Because zinc is so crucial for so many functions and health, deficiencies do occur. Estimates are in the 15-40% range (older adults and vegans can fall in the higher range). The RDA for adults is between 10 and 15 mg daily, again depending on gender. Remember that the RDA system is set at a level to avoid common disease states but often too low for optimum health. And zinc works closely with iron and copper so again, a relatively good balance of each is best.

I hope these 3 recent posts on vitamins and minerals have been informative! I know most people don’t know many details about vitamins and minerals (including most doctors). So these 3 posts should offer some solid information you can refer to!

If you are wondering if you are getting enough fo the right foods and nutrients, I offer a free initial phone call. Feel free to ask me a question or request a free consult at:

This links to an overview article on minerals:

Helpful links (in general order of mineral and points listed):

A new study from 11/11/13 showing how zinc can help prevent the replication of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria (also the source of meningitis):

A new study that shown how vitamins and minerals can help with health, energy and mood issues:  

I saw this study about how supplements can cut hospital stays and save significant money. I decided to add on 9/3/13: 

© 2013 by Steve Carney/End Sickness Now

{ 1 comment }

Mariel November 6, 2013 at 1:24 PM

It’s difficult to find experienced people on the topic of minerals, but you sound like you
know what you’re talking about! Thanks

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