Posted by Alison on October 28th, 2008
Men – 500mg per day
Women – 500mg per day
Best known as a component of table salt (sodium chloride), sodium (Na) is vital for controlling the amount of water in the body, maintaining the normal PH (degree of acidity or alkalinity) of blood, transmitting nerve signals, and helping muscular contraction. It is present in all foods in varying degrees, and almost all processed foods also have added salt.
Unlike all other minerals, sodium is, on the whole, overconsumed. Dietary intake is very high in North America – averaging about twenty times the recommended daily requirement of 500mg. symptoms of increased salt intake include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. High concentrations of sodium in the body can also result from excessive water or fluid loss. Persistently high levels of sodium in the blood can result in swelling, high blood pressure, difficulty in breathing, heart failure, and may be fatal.
A deficiency of this mineral is rare since our dietary intake is so high. However, the levels of sodium in the body can become too low as a result of prolonged vomiting or diarrhea, or during a period of prolonged illness. Levels of sodium in the body can also become low as a result of dehydration or excessive or persistent sweating, which may occur during very hot weather or affect marathon runners, athletes who participate in triathlons, or people who have certain forms of kidney disease, such as acute kidney failure.
Symptoms of sodium deficiency include headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, drowsiness, fainting, fatigue, and possibly coma.
Men – 0.9mg per day
Women – 0.9mg per day
Copper (Cu) plays a key role in several body functions. These include the production of pigment in skin, hair, and eyes; the development of healthy bones, teeth, and heart; the protection of body cells from chemical damage since it acts as an antioxidant; the maintenance of the myelin sheath, which surrounds and protect nerve fibers; and the functioning of the nervous system. It is also involved in the processing of iron in the body and the formation of red blood cells.
A deficiency of copper is rare, though it can occur in malnourished infants. The deficiency results in anemia and its related symptoms.
Left untreated, a deficiency can lead to lung damage and excessive bleeding due to reduced production of red blood cells and damage to the connective tissues (which surround body structures and hold them together).
Copper This is found naturally in all the foods listed below, which contain at least 1mg of the mineral per 1 ¾ oz (50g):
Whole grains, especially barley
Seafood such as crab, lobster, and oysters
Nuts such as almonds, Brazils, and pistachios
Men – 4mg per day
Women – 3mg per day
This micromineral is found at varying concentrations in drinking water – it is often added by public water suppliers – and in soil; fluoride (F) is also present in very small amounts in the body. About 99 percent of the fluoride in the body is in the teeth and bones; it helps increase tooth mineralization and bone density and reduce the risk of tooth decay. It also promotes enamel remineralization throughout life.
Fluoridation of public water supplies has been endorsed by more than 90 professional health organizations as the most effective dental public health measure in existence. However, about half of the people in North America still fails to receive the maximum benefits from community water fluoridation and the use of products that have had fluoride added to them.
Fluoride can be obtained from any food that is prepared in or with water that has been fluoridated. You can also obtain the mineral from fluoridated mouth rinses and toothpastes.
A deficiency of this mineral can lead to tooth decay. If you live in an area where fluoride is not added to the water supply, you would benefit from a fluoride supplement.
By definition, water fluoridation is the adjustment of fluoride in a water supply to an optimum concentration of 0.7-1.2 parts per million in order to prevent tooth decay in the people who use the supply. The value of fluoridation has been demonstrated beyond question. Schoolchildren living in an optimally fluoridated community were shown to be at much lower risk of tooth decay compared with those children who do not live in such an area.
There is evidence that fluoridation reduces both tooth decay in children by 20-40 percent, and helps to prevent tooth decay and loss in adults. Water fluoridation is beneficial for those living in poor communities, who are at greater risk of tooth decay and have less access to dental care and alternative fluoride resources.