The musculoskeletal system is composed of bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and connective tissue. This system supports movement and body weight as well as provides a framework for soft tissue like muscles, blood vessels, and organs to attach to. Proper nutrition, exercise, and a healthy weight are required to maintain a healthy system.
Proper nutrition, especially mineral support is essential for a properly functioning skeletal system, after all, bones are composed of minerals - calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium- and muscle contractions are controlled by calcium and magnesium.
While diet plays the largest role, it does not always provide the necessary amounts and quality of minerals required for an optimally functioning system. Often times adding a mineral dietary supplement may be needed, especially in cases of skeletal or muscular injury, disease, or even congenital anomalies.
Minerals are those chemical elements found in foods that our bodies use as nutrients and need to develop and function normally. Calcium, magnesium, zinc, sulfur, and potassium are a few of the essential minerals required by the body. Minerals can be broken down into two categories, macrominerals and trace minerals.
Macrominerals are those minerals of which our bodies require more than 100 milligrams per day and include: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chloride, and sulfur among others.
Conversely, trace minerals are those minerals needed in smaller amounts and include iron, copper, iodine, zinc, selenium, fluoride, cobalt, and manganese.
Although we need smaller amounts of trace minerals, they are no less important and both categories are essential for good health and proper function of the brain, muscles, bones, and the heart. That is because minerals are required for much more than just bone health. They contribute to the health of the nervous system by maintaining healthy nerve function, the cardiovascular system by controlling inflammation and regulating muscle tone.
Minerals are amazing, they can also help with water balance, and metabolism and are required for the formation of enzymes and hormones in the body. As a result, a mineral deficiency may be hazardous to your health in more ways than just contributing to low bone density. that is why it is important to ensure you receive and absorb the proper amount of minerals every day.
Ingesting the suggested daily value of minerals may not be enough to ensure proper musculoskeletal health. That is because other nutrients and even certain foods may limit or suppress the absorption of minerals as they compete for the same pathways in the body.
For example, foods high in oxalic acid (oxalates) like spinach, rhubarb, and beet greens may block calcium absorption. Additionally, foods high in sodium and phytic acids like beans, Brazil nuts, and hazelnuts may also block the absorption of calcium.
Combining vitamins and minerals is a great way to combat this problem and may increase the absorption of minerals by the body. For example, when taken with calcium magnesium and vitamin D can increase the amount of calcium absorbed by the body.
Minerals and Musculoskeletal Health
Most people don't give much thought to their musculoskeletal health until they are in their later years, and it is only when a problem arises that musculoskeletal health is even considered. For example, many people assume they are ingesting enough calcium, but it isn't until osteopenia or osteoporosis are diagnosed that bone density and calcium absorption are thought of.
Men and women above the age of 50 should consider taking mineral supplements to prevent and delay the onset of osteoporosis. It is also recommended all women above the age of 65 and all men above the age of 70 discuss osteoporosis screening with their doctors.
It is important to remember minerals do more than provide for bone health and are essential for the proper function of muscles, the brain, and the cardiovascular system. As a result, all adults and children should consider adding mineral supplements to their regime.
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