6

votes

The mineral puzzle

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 12, 2011 at 1:07 PM

I wonder why is it that unless you supplement, or have a very strong commitment to each mineral, you are likely to have deficiencies in the intake of basic minerals. Magnesium a key mineral is just an example: Unless you have one pound of spinach every day, or about 100 grams of cocoa powder, you will not make the recommended ingestion of magnesium. Something similar applies to potassium, although this does not bother me because I do have enough bananas and sweet potatoes. My question goes well beyond magnesium: would the same apply to manganese, zinc and other essential minerals, like copper, iron, calcium, etc, etc, that unless you "live for this and that mineral" you end up with a need for supplementation? Have humans lost important sources of mineral absorption? I am a little confused on this: I do not want to be supplementing on this and that mineral, but also I find it cumbersome to need to organise my diet around so many different minerals!

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on September 14, 2011
at 02:12 AM

I've seen charts that show how much more magnesium was in our food just 100 years ago. Scientists were worried about this back in the 1930's, and it has continued to decline drastically since then. We've pretty much peed our minerals out to sea.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on September 14, 2011
at 12:29 AM

Copper deficiency is exceedingly rare clinically. I have seen one case in 20 yrs and it was in a vegan with myelopathy.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on September 14, 2011
at 12:23 AM

I should also say that a proper vitamin D status will increase the absorption of Ca and Mg from the diet.

007c02eea7bdf63422562667aaf81f0f

(100)

on September 13, 2011
at 12:18 AM

It was the peanuts, I'm sure. Try switching to regular M&M's, you probably aren't meeting your RDA for sugar as it is.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on September 12, 2011
at 06:43 PM

Magnesium is hard in any-one's books.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on September 12, 2011
at 06:27 PM

I agree about some of the minerals, but certainly not with magnesium and to a lesser extent with copper and potassium.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 12, 2011
at 05:34 PM

@Cody : exactly, if it's not about the vitamins and phytates, what is it about? @WyldKard : I personally supplement, but I tracked my daily meals in Cronometer and I always have more than the RDA ...

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on September 12, 2011
at 05:22 PM

Do you really eat enough greens to get your daily magnesium levels?

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

(1164)

on September 12, 2011
at 05:17 PM

Yeah, people just assume that everything they eat has the documented amounts of nutrients, and I really, really have a hard time believing that.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 12, 2011
at 04:54 PM

They are inter-related Ignacio. Some nutrients are required for proper absorption of others. You can't just look at minerals, you have to look at the whole picture.

66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on September 12, 2011
at 01:40 PM

+1 - this is why I supplement.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on September 12, 2011
at 01:33 PM

I have been bread-free for a long time. The question is about the many minerals that we may not have in sufficient quantities. Magnesium is just an example, but the same may apply to several other minerals. This is not about vitamins or phytates, though!

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on September 12, 2011
at 01:26 PM

I have been bread-free for a long time. The question is about the many minerals that we may not have in sufficient quantities. Magnesium is just an example, but the same may apply to several other minerals. This is not about vitanins or phytates, though!

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

7 Answers

8
1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on September 12, 2011
at 01:27 PM

Probably because the soil in which crops are grown in has been slowly depleted of these minerals over time. Therefore, it takes more of them in order to get the necessary amount of vitamins and minerals.

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

(1164)

on September 12, 2011
at 05:17 PM

Yeah, people just assume that everything they eat has the documented amounts of nutrients, and I really, really have a hard time believing that.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on September 14, 2011
at 02:12 AM

I've seen charts that show how much more magnesium was in our food just 100 years ago. Scientists were worried about this back in the 1930's, and it has continued to decline drastically since then. We've pretty much peed our minerals out to sea.

66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on September 12, 2011
at 01:40 PM

+1 - this is why I supplement.

4
Medium avatar

on September 12, 2011
at 08:48 PM

One of the biggest enemies of mineral absorption is phytate, as Korion mentioned. Pretty much every mineral is absorbed to a lesser extent as a result of a high phytate:[mineral] molar ratio during digestion. This is why any dietician or nutritionist advocating the consumption of soy or whole grains should be put in the stocks and have the townspeople hurl rotten edamame and moldy bread at them.

Oxalates are known to inhibit the absorption of at least Ca, Mg and Zn. I don't know that the oxalate:[mineral] molar ratio is so high that eating, say, spinach with your steak would actually result in less magnesium absorbed than if you ate the steak by itself. What it does mean however is that if you eat less meat/organs because of the advertised levels of nutrients in spinach, you will likely be actually absorbing far less than you think.

A heavy intake of tea will provide a lot of copper and manganese (and fluoride and aluminum for that matter), which will block iron absorption because copper and manganese compete with iron for absorption, with the latter thought to be indistinguishable from iron to the intestine. The tannins/polyphenols also bind with at least iron to form insoluble iron tannates during digestion.

As far as a trace mineral absorption dietary strategy goes, Aside from limiting exposure to the aforementioned, I'd recommend eating small amounts of organs as frequently as possible in a paleo manner and over time you'll likely eventually address most everything. Problems may arise if you aggressively pursue the repletion of a particular mineral via supplementation, because minerals interact differently in an aqueous solution than when consumed with food. If, say, you'd like to address a probable zinc deficiency, it'd likely be best to segregate those supplements/oysters from the rest of your diet so you still absorb sufficient quantities of iron and copper every day. I haven't seen any evidence of a day-long inhibitory effect on copper absorption that would occur as a result of zinc taken in the morning, for example. On the other hand, if you took zinc with every meal you'd very likely run into problems.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on September 14, 2011
at 12:23 AM

I should also say that a proper vitamin D status will increase the absorption of Ca and Mg from the diet.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on September 14, 2011
at 12:29 AM

Copper deficiency is exceedingly rare clinically. I have seen one case in 20 yrs and it was in a vegan with myelopathy.

4
B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on September 12, 2011
at 06:27 PM

maybe the recommendations are wrong?

2
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 12, 2011
at 05:06 PM

If you don't restrict your diet to VLC foods its not that hard to get adequate minerals.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on September 12, 2011
at 06:43 PM

Magnesium is hard in any-one's books.

2
B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 12, 2011
at 01:16 PM

That's not true at all! If you eat organ meat from time to time (to get vitamin a, b12, ...), eat enough meat (to get potassium, zinc, and tons of other minerals) and eat enough greens you'll easily get everything you need.

It's important you don't eat the same thing every single day, and that you eat a lot of nutrient-dense foods.

Another important factor is phytates : cut the bread and you won't have deficiencies that quickly.

The only minerals/vitamins that require supplementation are vitamin D and vitamin k2 : both are hard to get through diet alone. Minerals like potassium are quite hard too, though you can easily get enough by eating avocados and spinach.

I do think many of us have digestion problems which leads to poor absorption, but you also gotta think about the difference between our current world and how it used to be : our food has lost a lot of value because of mineral depletion of the soil.

And then again, is supplementing that bad? We live in the 21st century, let's use our technology to improve our health even more. There's nothing wrong with swallowing magnesium pills, as long as it's from a natural source and not full of unhealthy chemicals.

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on September 12, 2011
at 05:22 PM

Do you really eat enough greens to get your daily magnesium levels?

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on September 12, 2011
at 06:27 PM

I agree about some of the minerals, but certainly not with magnesium and to a lesser extent with copper and potassium.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on September 12, 2011
at 01:33 PM

I have been bread-free for a long time. The question is about the many minerals that we may not have in sufficient quantities. Magnesium is just an example, but the same may apply to several other minerals. This is not about vitamins or phytates, though!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 12, 2011
at 04:54 PM

They are inter-related Ignacio. Some nutrients are required for proper absorption of others. You can't just look at minerals, you have to look at the whole picture.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on September 12, 2011
at 01:26 PM

I have been bread-free for a long time. The question is about the many minerals that we may not have in sufficient quantities. Magnesium is just an example, but the same may apply to several other minerals. This is not about vitanins or phytates, though!

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 12, 2011
at 05:34 PM

@Cody : exactly, if it's not about the vitamins and phytates, what is it about? @WyldKard : I personally supplement, but I tracked my daily meals in Cronometer and I always have more than the RDA ...

1
485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137

on September 14, 2011
at 12:01 AM

The SAD depletes minerals and that's what the RDA is based on.

1
93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on September 12, 2011
at 09:42 PM

Just look at all the fiber you're supposed to eat! I was looking at that the other day, and I'd have to do 25 cups of spinach to get the RDA of fiber! There's obvious something wrong with the numbers. maybe I'll just give up and go back to peanut M&M's all day long. That and vodka. Felt great, until it didn't.

007c02eea7bdf63422562667aaf81f0f

(100)

on September 13, 2011
at 12:18 AM

It was the peanuts, I'm sure. Try switching to regular M&M's, you probably aren't meeting your RDA for sugar as it is.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!