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medical minerals
by Aimee Valdez
Physical Geology
Spring 2008

 Minerals in the Medical Field

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             Being a nursing student I deemed it appropriate to write about medical uses for minerals. The body uses minerals for many different reasons including: building bones, making hormones and regulating your heartbeat.


             There are two kinds of minerals your body needs daily to be healthy: Macro minerals and Trace minerals.  Macro minerals are minerals your body needs in larger amounts, such as, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride and sulfur. Your body needs only small amounts of trace minerals.  These include, iron, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride and selenium.



            Calcium happens to be the most abundant mineral in the human body. More than 99% of the body’s total calcium is stored in the bones and teeth where it functions to support their structure. The remaining 1% is found throughout the body. In the body calcium is used to help with muscle contraction, blood vessel contraction and expansion, the secretion of hormones and enzymes, and sending messages through the nervous system.

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             Phosphorus is required by every cell in the body for normal function. 85% of the body’s phosphorus is found in the bone. Phosphorus is also involved in metabolic actions in the body such as kidney functioning, cell growth and the contraction of the heart muscle.




             Magnesium is found not only in the body’s bones but also inside cells of body tissue and organs.  Only 1% of magnesium is found in blood. Magnesium is secreted into the body through the kidneys. Magnesium helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keep a steady heart rhythm, and support a healthy immune system. As a part of the 300 biochemical reactions it creates in the body, magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar, and promote healthy blood pressure. There is an increased interest in the thought of magnesium being able to prevent and help manage disorders such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.


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             Sodium is located mainly in the blood and the fluid space surrounding cells. Sodium helps with normal nerve and muscle function.  Sodium gets taken into the body through food and drink and is generally lost through sweat and urine. The loss of sodium in the body can cause the volume of blood in the body to decrease, when blood volume decreases blood pressure also decreases and the heart rate will increase causing light headedness and sometimes shock.

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            Potassium is essential for the body’s growth, development and maintenance. Potassium also is important in helping with the response of nerves to stimulation and the contraction of muscles. Potassium deficiencies are usually due to an increase in urinary loss and the prevention of sodium and water retention.



            Chloride works with both potassium and sodium in the body to control the flow of fluid in blood vessels and tissues.  It also regulates acidity in the body and forms part of the hydrochloric acid which is found in the stomach to help with the break down of foods. A chloride deficiency is very rare and unlikely to happen.



Sulfur is found in your hair, nails and skin. Sulfur is used to detoxify the body. It also assists the immune system to help fight the effects of aging and age related illness such as arthritis. Sulfur is said to clean the blood and help protect against toxic build up in the body.





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