Vitamins, Minerals, and other Essential Nutrients are, above everything else, what make our bodies work effectively, the way nature intended. Without these nutrients, working TOGETHER, disease becomes a forgone result for almost 90% of us. Although you get some of these nutrients from the foods you eat every day, the majority of us are considerably malnourished because of the lack of nutrients in our foods.
These nutrients do several things to help our bodies be in a healthy state; boost the immune system, support normal growth and development, and help cells and organs perform their jobs. These compounds are crucial in order for us to have the best defense against illness and disease. Although we cannot say for certain that one would never contract a disease, we know, scientifically, that our immune systems perform much better when given the correct fuel.
The lack of these precious pearls could be the causes or contributing factors to many illnesses & diseases including; Fibromyalgia, Cancer, increased chances of catching colds, stunted growth or fragile bones, high blood pressure, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Depression, Anxiety, digestion problems, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Obesity, Cholesterol, Infertility, Heart Disease, and many others.
Unfortunately, because of the importance of this subject, there has been a lot of confusion as to what exact vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients are needed in our diets. There is website after website discussing exactly how to obtain bits and pieces of the whole nutritional spectrum, but nothing as extensive as this article. What we, at The Balance You Need have done is researched and written every necessary nutrient that correlates with what medical professionals and scientists know to be the top nutrients for our bodies. What we hope to provide is an “All in One” article giving you the best information that you should be incorporating in your diet along with efficient ways to do that. This is an encyclopedia of all the essential nutrients for Health and Body needs.
Minerals are inorganic elements that derive from the soil and water and are absorbed by plants or eaten by animals and passed on to us through our diets. Your body needs larger amounts of some minerals, such as Calcium, to grow and stay healthy. These are considered “Major Minerals”. Other minerals like Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Selenium, and Zinc are called trace minerals because you only need small amounts of them each day. Here is a very useful piece of information; it is not always about how much of a mineral or vitamin is present, only that it exists.
Calcium is the most common and abundant mineral in the body and is found mainly in our bones and teeth. A small but essential amount of Calcium is found in the blood and soft tissue of the body. As a result of homeostasis (bodily systems in balance), the body will take Calcium from the bones if there is not enough circulating in the blood and extracellular fluid. Therefore, the skeleton is constantly being absorbed and remodeled. Our bones are made from Calcium and Phosphate combined into one crystal called Hydroxyapatite.
Our bones absorb and store Calcium necessary for your body's growth and maintenance until you reach your mid 20's. After that, your body rapidly uses up the Calcium to help keep your bones strong. If you do not get enough Calcium, it can lead to Osteoporosis (holes in the bones), brittle and easily breakable bones, and tooth loss. Osteoporosis results from many factors some of which are inadequate Calcium intake or absorption along with accompanying adequate Vitamin D levels, hereditary factors, lack of exercise throughout one's life, and hormone function.
Vitamin D is necessary for Calcium to be absorbed in the bones. Calcium also helps Vitamin K in blood clotting, blood pressure regulation, may be useful in lowering hypertension, and is present in many enzyme reactions inside and outside our cells, and in heart, smooth and skeletal muscle cell contraction.
Calcium also works with Zinc and Magnesium. Calcium does its job as an antioxidant by limiting the absorption of lead.
There are many factors that can decrease the amount of Calcium in the body or limit the absorption of it. Those factors include: aluminum, dietary fiber, alcohol, phosphates, sugar, too much protein, high levels of salt, and caffeine. All can have an effect on Calcium excretion.
This mineral works with insulin to convert carbohydrates and fat into energy. Therefore is used extensively as a fat burning agent.
This element is essential for making hemoglobin (oxygen carrying protein in red blood cells) and collagen (a protein in connective tissue); Copper is essential for the healthy functioning of the heart. It also helps in energy production and in the absorption of Iron from digestive tract.
Getting enough Iodine helps with the physical and mental development of children. Lack of Iodine also can lead to poor Thyroid development.
Our bodies only need a small amount of Iodine, and we can get Iodine from iodized salt, seafood and dark green vegetables such as kelp, kale and spinach.
Iron is necessary for metabolism, DNA synthesis, growth, healing, immune function, reproduction, as a cofactor in many enzyme reactions, preventing anemia, and is found in hemoglobin and myoglobin, and proteins which transport oxygen through the blood and muscles (important for athletic performance). Hemoglobin acquires and brings oxygen from the lungs and releases it as blood travels through the tissues. Therefore, helps the heart, brain, and lungs obtain the oxygen it needs to function properly.
An Iron deficiency can lead to stunted growth, brittle hair and nails and blood disorders such as anemia.
There are two types of Iron: heme and nonheme. Heme Iron, found in animal products like meat, is easily absorbed while nonheme Iron is found in plants and is less easily absorbed. Copper, another mineral mentioned above, is needed for normal Iron metabolism. Vitamin A helps Iron eliminate anemia. This is an example of how the synergistic effect of having all your vitamins and minerals together, makes their jobs easier.
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals your body needs. Failure to get enough Magnesium can lead to muscle soreness, heart and blood pressure problems, as well as nervous disorders. Calcium is also necessary for the absorption of Magnesium.
The majority of Magnesium found in the human body is found in the skeleton, then the muscle tissues, and the rest is found in other tissues and fluids. Magnesium is necessary for energy production, protein formation and cellular replication. It is as important as, if not more important than Calcium and Phosphorus. Magnesium works with Calcium in muscle relaxation and contraction, respectively. This is one reason that people suffer from cramps, they do not have enough Magnesium in their system. It also interacts with Vitamin D, Potassium and other minerals. It is used in at least 300 enzymatic reactions within the body, many relating to energy. It helps reduce blood pressure, reduce vascular spasm and improve heart function and also helps regulate Calcium metabolism.
Excretion of Magnesium can result from high amounts of coffee, tea, chronic diarrhea, irritable bowel, laxatives, oral contraceptives, over exercising and emotional stress. Magnesium depletion may also result in people with gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes mellitus, old age, chronic alcoholism, and in long-term use of diuretics.
Phosphorus is critical for keeping the digestive and circulatory systems functioning properly, as well as nourishing your brain, eyes, muscles and liver. Not getting ample amounts of Phosphorus can lead to brittle bones and teeth, bone and muscle pain and breathing problems. Please note that a balance of Phosphorus, Calcium and Magnesium is key for body health. If you have a sweet tooth, this can lead to an increase in Phosphorus, which can cause the body not to absorb Calcium or Magnesium as easily. They all have to be in balance and most supplements take this balance into their consideration.
Potassium is an essential major mineral and is also known as an electrolyte. As an electrolyte it regulates membrane (cell) potential. Potassium is located inside the cell and Sodium stays outside the cell. Chloride maintains Sodium and Potassium balance. This all works together to keep the cell in “balance” and also maintains the electrical charge of the cell which is critical for nerve and muscle function and contraction. Potassium also helps with energy production by converting blood sugar into Glycogen. Again, lack of Potassium can lead to muscle cramping, whether it be a heart beat or a leg muscle, there is no difference to Potassium.
Exercise and sweating depletes our Potassium. Low Potassium results in low levels of stored Glycogen (muscle fuel). Potassium deficiency also results in fatigue and muscle weakness. We also need to maintain a healthy balance between Sodium and Potassium which is critical to optimal muscle performance. Most of us eat way too much Sodium which is found in processed foods, fast foods, and condiments and may increase the risk of developing kidney stones and hypertension. Again, keep nutrients in balance.
This is a mineral found primarily in seafood and especially tuna. Our bodies only need a small amount of this mineral, but it plays a fundamental role in protecting cells against free radicals molecules that run the risk of causing Cancer and other chronic diseases. When Vitamin E and Selenium are combined, their antioxidant activity is greatly increased.
This mineral, otherwise known as salt, is necessary for maintaining normal blood pressure, balance of body fluids (i.e. water), and transmitting nerve signals. As discussed above, Sodium is used in conjunction with many other nutrients, but beware of the amount of Sodium you are ingesting.
Zinc is a required mineral that helps boost the immune system and protect against colds and flu. Not getting enough Zinc can lead to skin problems, prolonged wound healing and an increased susceptibility to colds, flu and infections. Nowadays, we see Zinc in many products advertising its ability to fight sickness.
Also, Zinc helps with cell/energy metabolism for growth, cell development (keeping membranes strong), neurological development, and in reproduction. It is located in all of the body tissues and is very important in enzyme functions and hormone functions. It also plays a part in our vision, taste, and smell.
Zinc absorption can be decreased by drinking tea, coffee or eating foods with phytic acid (found in fiber).
Remember, our bodies cannot make a single mineral on its own. Therefore, it is imperative that we are ingesting these life maintaining substances on a daily basis.
Secondly, all of these minerals are best when taken in their natural forms. Since not everyone can eat all of the foods that these minerals are found in, the best way to ensure that you are getting enough minerals is by finding a Natural Whole Food Supplement that contains them.
BUT, minerals are only part of the health equation. You not only need the aforementioned minerals, but also their related VITAMIN counterparts for the best possible absorption and use. For that reason, please continue reading to learn exactly what vitamins are needed to have healthy baseline nutrition.
A Vitamin is an organic compound required as a nutrient by the human body. In other words, an organic chemical compound is called a vitamin when it cannot be made in sufficient quantities by our bodies, and must be obtained from the diet. The term Vitamin does not include other essential nutrients such as dietary minerals, essential fatty acids, essential amino acids, or others which are discussed in length in other parts of the article.
The universally recognized 13 vitamins fall into two categories: fat soluble and water soluble. The fat-soluble Vitamins are A, D, E, and K and are dissolved in fat and can be stored in the body. The water-soluble Vitamins are C and the B-complex Vitamins (such as Vitamins B6, B12, niacin, riboflavin, and folate) and need to dissolve in water before your body can absorb them. Therefore, your body can not store these vitamins and any Vitamin C or B that your body does not use is lost through urination and sweat. Because of this, it is very important that you are receiving these nutrients on a daily basis.
Vitamin A is an antioxidant that may possibly prevent Cancer. Vitamin A also has been known to promote good eyesight, maintain healthy bones, teeth, and skin (i.e. Acne). However, if an overdose of Vitamin A occurs it can result in fatigue, dry skin and nausea.
VITAMIN B-1 (THIAMIN)
Vitamin B-1 helps to reduce respiratory issues, acne and fatigue. It is also a main component in converting food into energy, which leads to cleaner fat loss.
VITAMIN B-2 (RIBOFLAVIN)
Vitamin B-2 is very beneficial during pregnancy by fighting off a lack of blood or anemia. This Vitamin is good in mitigating injuries and irritations in the mouth. It also helps with energy production and other chemical processes in the body and helps to maintain healthy eyes, skin, and nerve function.
VITAMIN B-3 (NIACIN)
Vitamin B-3 controls the degree of cholesterol in our body and is useful to treat vascular and heart problems. The compound known as Niacin in B-3 is also used to naturally treat plaque buildup in the arterial walls of the heart. This vitamin will help people with conditions like fatigue, sleeplessness and poor concentration.
VITAMIN B-4 (ADRENINE)
Vitamin B-4 assists in preventing tiredness and also boosts the immune system. It can also help with allergies, anemia, infections, and has also showed some promising results dealing with Cancer.
Vitamin B-5 converts carbohydrates present in proteins to energy. Therefore, is used with people that are “battling the bulge”.
B-6 again plays a necessary part in the conversion of carbohydrates to essential proteins and subsequently, to energy. The vitamin has also been found to help people with Depression, PMS, and nausea.
Vitamin B-12 creates the genetic material of cells, helps convert carbohydrates into energy, helps with the formation of red blood cells, maintains the central nervous system; and helps to manufacture amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins.
You can obviously see why all of these B Vitamins are used in energy drinks. Their main functions are to give us the energy necessary to live life.
Vitamin C is very important to all of us at any age. As an antioxidant, Vitamin C helps to keep common colds and other illnesses at bay by increasing the immune system while also increasing energy levels at the same time. There are several supplements out there that contain Vitamin C. The best one we have found is Vitali-C Plus.
Vitamin D is important in the absorption of Calcium. Therefore helping in the prevention of Osteoporosis, a debilitating disease directly related to the reduction of bone mass. Vitamin D has also been found to possibly prevent Colon Cancer. Unfortunately, our population is VERY deficient in this vitamin and a Vitamin D supplement is suggested.
For further information on what deficiencies of Vitamin D can mean to a person, click here.
Vitamin E is a main nutrient in maintaining the health of our hair and skin. Vitamin E is also an antioxidant by protecting the body from free radicals that can accelerate the aging process. This is another vitamin that has been found to possibly prevent certain types of Cancer.
Vitamin K prevents the thinning of the blood which can lead to massive bleeding by enabling the proper coagulation of blood. Therefore, make sure that if you are on blood thinners, pay attention to how much Vitamin K you are ingesting.
FOLIC ACID (FOLATE)
Folic Acid is essential for creating the genetic material of cells and is necessary in the first 3 months of pregnancy in order to help prevent birth defects. It also aids in red blood cell formation and protects against Heart Disease.
OTHER ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS
Along with Vitamins and Minerals, there are several other substances that our bodies require to bring the nutritional spectrum in to full balance. The following are considered Other Essential Nutrients.
Water is the absolute most essential nutrient the body needs. The body is forty to sixty percent of water at any given time and our muscles are roughly 70% water. Obviously the amount of water you need is directly proportional to your body weight, height and the amount of activity you do but on average you need around three and a half pints of water a day. This may seem like a lot but much of the water will come from your food such as fruits which contain 75 to 90 percent of water. The key is, eat fruit!
If you have an exercise program, It is fundamental that you continually drink water to guarantee that your body does not dehydrate. Think ahead; If you feel thirsty it will take around 20 minutes for the liquid to be utilized by the body.
Carbohydrates are usually labeled as sugars or starches and is the main source of the body’s energy. Complicated carbohydrates are the carbohydrates that are considered the “good carbs”. These carbohydrates are found in foods such as potatoes, bananas, pasta, bread, cereals, wild rice, etc. Once carbohydrates are ingested in to the body, they are converted into sugars for energy.
In a comparison throughout the world, in our country, at least 50% of our diets consist of carbohydrates. In contrast, up to 80% of diets in Africa are carbohydrates mainly because of the cost effective way to feed many people.
Carbohydrates come in two forms:
Simple sugars are processed sugar and sugar from fruits. Simple sugars are used immediately during exercise. If you think that eating these sugars will give you ample energy throughout the day, think again. As your sugar level in your blood is increased, more insulin is used to take the sugar and dispose of it because there is too much in the blood. Due to this reaction, eventually you will have even less energy than you started with. This is why quick fixes like candy bars only last 30 minutes at the most. It is like Crack, you continually need more to get the same effect and you can see why this can be a never ending cycle of gaining weight. Too much sugar can also lead to Diabetes down the road.
These sugars come from food like potatoes, bread, pasta, rice, and vegetables. The main difference from simple sugars is that the complex sugars are released at a slower rate, hence, not using as much insulin. For this fact, complex sugars are better for you in the long run. On a daily basis, we need to be ingesting around 55 percent of total carbs as complex sugars.
One of the most important findings for our health, in the last 100 years, are the nutrients called Glyconutrients. Science and medicine, for years, have been trying to understand how the cells in the body communicate with one another to complete its millions of complex functions that occur every minute. For example, how do our hearts know when to complete the next beat, especially in a four part sequence? Or, how much water should be in a particular organ at any one time? That communication is now known as the role of Glyconutrients. Researchers have said that it is the most important discovery in the history of medicine.
Glyconutrients are plant carbohydrates (monosaccharides). There are over 200 carbohydrates or sugars but only 8 are essential to bodily function. They are:
N-acetylneuraminic acid (a sialic acid)
These 8 essential Glyconutrients join with other molecules such as proteins and lipids (fats), to form glycoforms or glycoconjugates which coat the cell surfaces. When they combine with protein molecules, they form glycoproteins that cover the surface of every cell with a nucleus in the human body. And when Glyconutrients form with lipids they make glycolipids which also stick to the cell surface. These “coatings” allow for the cells to communicate more efficiently. When this coating is not present, the cells can skip over cells and the messages can get screwed up. Therefore, all 600 trillion of our cells in our body need Glyconutrients.
Glyconutrients are not vitamins, minerals, amino acids or enzymes, but are in a class of their own as nutritional supplements derived from plants. Two great sources of Glyconutrients are Aloe Vera and Sea Vegetables. These two super foods contain all 8.
Protein is made up of amino acids, which help to build muscle mass. Every day, our cells are being replaced, so we need to give the body the ability to grow and repair tissue, which is what amino acids do. On average, we need about 70 to 80 grams of protein per day in our diet and even more if you are a weight lifter. Proteins are the second most available substance in the body next to water.
Fat is another term for lipid. Fat is essential, but too much fat in your diet can lead to obesity, heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. From a positive standpoint, fats help to process vitamins and minerals, to regulate body temperature, and to insulate the organs. Fat is also converted by the body to provide energy. Think of them as concentrated forms of energy.
Saturated fat is the worst fat for the body. Saturated fat causes the arteries to clog which can lead to strokes, heart attacks, and coronary heart disease. It increases cholesterol in the body. When too much cholesterol is in the body, it can store on the arterial walls.
Polyunsaturated fat has less fatty acid molecules than saturated fat, therefore is better than saturated fat is from a health standpoint. The type of polyunsaturated fat that is most beneficial is Omega 3. Omega 3 is found only in fish oils. This fat helps with the development of the nervous system and an array of other bodily functions. Unfortunately, many of us do not eat enough fish which means we have to find a supplement that provides this important nutrient.
Mono Unsaturated Fat
Mono unsaturated fat has the least fatty acid molecules than all fats. You should have a higher intake of mono unsaturated fat than the other two fats.
The main thread throughout this article is that our bodies need several compounds, every day, in order to maintain our health and give us the best chance of warding off disease. But as important is the fact that these elements work TOGETHER in a synergistic way. One cannot function without the others and, if it can, its effectiveness is greatly hampered. This also means they all need to be in BALANCE.
Unfortunately, as mentioned above, our foods no longer contain the amount of nutrients necessary to stay healthy, mainly because of soil depletion. For more on soil depletion, please refer to this page.
Therefore, with the fact that we need all of these nutrients working together AND need the right amounts of them, we would be smart to find a supplement that brings all of these into balance. Aloe Vera and Sea Vegetation (Ocean Botanicals) can give us the majority of all these including all essential Glyconutrients. Fortunately, there is a product on the market that fits the bill.
Body Balance, made by Life Force International, is that product. We know that you may be bombarded every time you dive into the web for health information, with supplements that claim to do this or that, but Body Balance is different. There is no hype, but simply facts; the product is made from Whole Food and is in its natural state. Find out more about Body Balance on its Detailed Information Page. You will be able to find out exactly what is in the product and decide for yourself. As the name suggests, these nutrients are in perfect balance the way nature intended them to be.
For those nutrients that are not in Body Balance in the amounts suggested, Life Force has an answer for each one. For Calcium, Magnesium, and Omega 3-6-9, check out our OsteOmegaCare. For another level of nutrients, visit our TrueGreens page. For the highest quality protein, please research our Amino Charge. For immunity and a spike of Vitamin C each day, look at Vitali-C Plus.
Before you dismiss your health problems as something you just have to “deal with”, take a look at what Life Force has to offer. It is impossible for us to obtain enough of these nutrients to feed our bodies the correct way and even if there was, the quality of the nutrients has been diminished due to all the extra fillers, pesticides, and other substances that make our bodies toxic.
We truly hope that you obtained enough information about the needs of our bodies through this article. Even if you decide to look elsewhere for the means of providing this nutrition, please come back and visit our site as there is new information several times a week and always remember to give your BODY the BALANCE it needs!
Health Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The statements and products are not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any diseases.