are inorganic substances mined from the earth, meaning they are not of
plant or animal origin. They exist naturally on and in the earth and
many are critical parts of human tissue and are termed “essential”
nutrients. Of the 92 naturally occurring elements, the 14 minerals that
have been shown by research to be essential to human health are:
calcium, chromium, copper, fluorine, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese,
molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium,
selenium, sodium and zinc.*1 Essential macrominerals
are those we need in significant quantities (such as calcium) –
usually measured in milligrams, and essential trace
minerals are those we need in minute quantities (such as selenium)
– usually measured in micrograms (one microgram [mcg] equals 1/1,000th
of a milligram [mg]).
14 essential minerals are crucial to the growth and production of bones,
teeth, hair, blood, nerves, skin, vitamins, enzymes and hormones; and
the healthy functioning of nerve transmission, blood circulation, fluid
regulation, cellular integrity, energy production and muscle
work in combination with each other and with other nutrients, so
imbalances of any mineral can cause health problems – too little of
any essential mineral can lead to deficiency diseases, and too much of
any mineral can be toxic.2
get these essential minerals primarily through the foods we eat.
Good sources of essential minerals include fruits, vegetables,
meats, nuts, beans and dairy products.
Unfortunately, much of the soil in which food is grown has been
depleted of these nutritive minerals, therefore the mineral content in
food is reduced.3,4 We also obtain some minerals from the water we drink, but
the amounts vary widely.
availability and absorption is also affected as foods are cooked,
processed and refined, and many naturally occurring minerals in food are
removed.5, 6 A daily mineral supplement is not a substitute for a
healthy diet, but can ensure we get the minerals we need for optimal
is the most important, and most common, mineral we need. Please see
Nature’s Life Calcium Facts brochure for more information (code
carries oxygen to the cells and is necessary for the production of
energy, the synthesis of collagen, and the functioning of the immune
system.* Iron deficiency is common only among children and
pre-menopausal women. Great care must be taken not to take too much
iron, as excess amounts are stored in the body’s tissues and adversely
affect the body’s immune function, cell growth and heart health.*7, 8,
9 A blood test is the most
effective way to determine needs, and consultation with a trained health
professional is strongly recommended.
absorption can be blocked by calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc,
antacids and tetracycline (a common antibiotic).2
is found in meat, fish, beans, spinach, molasses, kelp, brewer’s
yeast, broccoli and seeds. Because iron from plant sources is not as
well absorbed as that from animal sources, some experts recommend that
vegetarians supplement with, or eat foods high in, vitamin C as it
enhances iron absorption.10
is essential to maintain both the acid-alkaline balance in the body and
healthy functioning of nerves and muscles (including the heart), as well
as to activate enzymes to metabolize blood sugars, proteins and
is vital for proper bone growth and is indirectly related to adequate
calcium absorption.*11 A
2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium is essential to maintain strong bones.
of a magnesium deficiency may be muscle twitches, nervousness, abnormal
heart beat and disorientation.2
food sources of magnesium include seeds, unrefined grains, beans and
phosphorus in the body is found in bone, usually at a 1:2 ratio to
calcium. In soft tissue and cells, phosphorus contributes to many
natural chemical body processes.11 For example, phosphate bonds of ATP
(adenosine triphosphate) provide the energy necessary for metabolism.11
supports the health of the immune system, normal synthesis of protein,
and the health of reproductive organs (especially in men).*2 Zinc
deficiency is common, and can adversely affect normal physical growth,
skin and nerve health, natural healing ability, and immune function,
especially in infants.*12 Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
adversely affect zinc levels.13 Meats,
fish, beans, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, mushrooms and brewer’s yeast
are good food sources of zinc.
much zinc can lower copper retention, lower HDL (“good”)
cholesterol,14 and impair immune function at dosages of 100 mg/day or
more.*15,16 Adverse effects may occur if the balance of zinc to other
minerals is not maintained.*2
functions as part of several enzyme systems, including the glucose
tolerance factor (GTF), which works with insulin in the utilization of
glucose (blood sugar).* Insulin helps to control metabolism of
triglycerides (the main form of fat in the body), therefore chromium has
a positive effect on triglycerides due to its influence over insulin.*
Chromium deficiency has been linked to improper metabolism and
imbalances of blood sugar.* 18, 19
While popularly used as a supplement to achieve weight loss and
muscle gain, research is not consistent enough to validate chromium’s
effect for those benefits.*20, 21
to the U.S. Department of Agriculture widespread chromium deficiency is
due not only to inadequate food intake but also to excess sugar intake
that increases chromium losses in the body.*22 The only common food
source is brewer’s yeast.
should not be taken in excess however—there have been reported cases
of toxicity when used in high doses (>800 mcg/day).1, 23
nerves, joints, heart, skin, liver and both the immune and nervous
systems all need adequate amounts of copper, most of which is
concentrated in the brain and liver.* Copper is critical to the
absorption and utilization of both zinc and iron.*24, 25 A deficiency of
copper has been linked to an inability to produce the important
antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and to a shortage of red
blood cells.*24, 25
is especially important to balance copper levels with those of zinc
because an excess of either will depress retention and utilization of
the other.* 26 Readily available through the diet, copper is commonly
found in whole grains, nuts, shellfish, liver and dark green, leafy
iodine is essential to the development and functioning of the thyroid
gland, and a deficiency can cause an enlargement of the gland.*27
Deficiency of iodine during pregnancy and infancy may lead to
abnormalities in brain development and in children’s growth.*28
Iodized salt is the most common source of this essential trace mineral.
Those with thyroid abnormalities should consult a health care
practitioner before taking more than 150 mcg of iodine per day. For most
people, amounts up to 1,000 mcg per day are safe, although some may be
sensitive to it (resulting in skin irritations or difficulty breathing).
essential trace mineral manganese is necessary for normal bone
metabolism and important enzyme reactions*28
It also helps maintain normal nerve, brain and thyroid function.2
While a deficiency of this mineral is uncommon, it is often lost in
processed foods.29, 30 A deficiency of manganese may affect brain
health, glucose tolerance, normal reproduction, and skeletal and
and cereal products are the best food sources of manganese, while animal
products are the poorest. Toxicity from manganese is uncommon.11
is involved in the operation of several key enzymes in the body.*
Readily available throughout the diet, deficiencies of this essential
mineral are unusual, although rare deficiencies occur in people who
suffer from malabsorption conditions.*32
powerful antioxidant works closely with vitamin E and supports critical
antioxidant enzyme functions.*2 As an antioxidant, selenium may reduce
the risk of abnormal cell growth,*33
while supporting cardiovascular health.*34 Seafood and organ meats
such as liver and kidney are high in selenium, whereas selenium levels
in grains and vegetables vary widely, depending on local soil content.35
more than 200 mcg of selenium daily is recommended for general use,
because of possible toxicity. Excessive intakes of selenium can affect
the functioning of enzymes and normal bone and cartilage development in
fetuses, according to animal studies. In milligram amounts (75 mg/day),
selenium can cause nausea, loss of hair and nails, skin abnormalities
and nerve damage.1
trace minerals that have not yet been recognized by health authorities
as essential to human nutrition, but have some valid health benefits are
arsenic, boron, nickel, silicon and vanadium.*17
Valid clinical studies show that it is involved in the metabolism of
other minerals, especially calcium and magnesium, that support bone
health.*36 It may also be
involved in the regulation and function of steroid hormones.*37 Readily
available in prunes, soy, raisins, beans and nuts, boron’s benefits to
human health are recent discoveries, just since the mid-1980s. Microgram
amounts are not considered toxic.
— Silicon is important in the composition and calcification of
cartilage to produce bone, and is common in unrefined foods of plant
— There is some scientific evidence that vanadium contributes to fat
metabolism.*2, 38 Vanadium
in microgram dosages has low potential for toxicity.39
Electrolytes are the elements necessary for electrochemical
activity in our body. Water (H20) – and the three minerals sodium,
potassium and chloride are all necessary for the transmission of
electrical impulses between cells. Sodium and potassium are cations
(positively charged atoms), and chloride is an anion
(negatively charged atom) – all are essential nutrients. These
minerals are supplied by the typical diet in thousands of milligrams per
day. Sodium and chloride are overabundant in the diet and are not
generally added as a mineral supplement.
is the major mineral in, and primary regulator of, fluids inside cells
– along with sodium.*11 Potassium is critical to the transmission of
nerve impulses, muscle contractions and maintenance of normal blood
pressure.*11 The kidneys control potassium levels, if adequate water is
deficiency is rare in healthy people – but is a very common side
effect of two widely abused modern drugs – chemical laxatives and
diuretics. Potassium deficiency can also be caused by excessive
vomiting, chronic diarrhea or kidney failure. Signs of deficiency may
include muscle weakness, intestinal problems, heart abnormalities and
is widely available in foods, but mostly in unprocessed fresh foods –
especially fruits and vegetables. The estimated average adult intake of
potassium varies widely between 1,000 and 10,000 mg daily, depending on
diet (vegetarians get the most).40,41,42,43,44
Potassium is toxic for healthy adults if daily intakes exceed
18,000 mg.45 Pills with more than 100 mg, if taken on an empty stomach
and without sufficient water, may cause ulcerations in the stomach or
esophagus. Therefore Nature’s Life only offers potassium supplements
in amounts of < 99 mg.
Life-sustaining minerals are bonded to organic substances for maximum
absorption. Different chelating and complexing agents are used to create
the most bioavailable forms possible, and to offer people a choice.
Nature’s Life offers single minerals as well as doctor-formulated
combinations to help you stay as healthy as possible. Eat a healthy diet
of minimally processed fresh foods but take Nature’s Life minerals to
assure your optimal health.
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