Every week I am posting about  everything you need to know about hormones. This weeks topic is about minerals & trace elements.

Did you know – part 1

  • Science has stated that there are over 4,000 different types of minerals in the earth
  • When two or more minerals in the earth combine, they form a rock
  • All minerals are inorganic, which means they are made of non-living particles
  • Minerals have a distinctive geometric shape called a crystalline structure.
  • Some crystals are very beautiful and precious, such the Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald and of most precious of all Diamond
  • All minerals are mostly composed of 8 elements:

– Oxygen

– Silicon

– Aluminium

– Iron

– Magnesium

– Calcium

– Sodium / Natrium

– Potassium / Kalium

  • Some minerals contain trace elements, as in trace amounts of an element, such as zinc, selenium, copper, etc
  • The body DOESNOT use minerals, it uses and needs the elements they contain
  • At present there are 118 elements (92) natural registered on the periodic table and the body uses 11 of them extensively and many others in smaller amounts
  • Our bodies cannot produce the elements, they must be obtained through food, water, air etc.
  • Elements are required by the body in varying amounts for a variety of different functions.
  • These requirements change according to age, sex, physiological state (eg. pregnancy) and state of health (eg. anaemia).
  • They regulate EVERYTHING, such as water balance, energy production, nerves, muscles and enzyme function, Thyroid function, development and maintenance of teeth and bones, red blood cell formation, and much, much more
  • Many vitamins and minerals in the body have a synergetic relationship, ie. they help each other work, eg. magnesium is essential for activating Vit. D.
  • They are classified in two categories: major minerals and trace elements – see we even call them trace ‘elements’
  • Minerals are made up of chemical elements.
  • Elements which are detected in small amounts are called “trace elements”
  • Eg. Zinc, is a trace element found in minerals together with other elements.
  • Trace elements are very important for all cell functions, such as working as cofactors for many enzymes, which mediate vital biochemical reactions
  • Trace elements are also known as microminerals
  • There are essential and non-essential trace elements
  • They make up less than 0.01% of the body mass.
  • Human milk contains iron, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, iodine, fluorine, molybdenum, cobalt, chromium, and nickel
  • Excess consumption of non-essential trace elements, such as lead, cadmium, aluminium, can have potential toxic effects.

Meet Sally and get to know all about minerals


The Elements of Life


Macro Minerals & Hormones

Magnesium supplements

Trace elements 101

Trace elements and hormones

Measuring iron levels in the blood

The elements of life

For optimal function, the body depends on several elements, these 4 in particular:

  • H = Hydrogen
  • O = Oxygen
  • C = Carbon
  • N = Nitrogen

Approx. 96%

of the body is made of these 4 elements in thousands of different combinations, such as

  • Carbohydrates supply of C.H.O. (Glucose is composed of C6- H12- O6)
  • Fats supply C.H. (O)
  • Proteins supply C.H.O.N and some amino acids contain S – the element sulphur
  • Water supplies of H.O.
  • Air supplies of O
  • Etc.

A person weighing 80 kilos consists of approx.

  • Oxygen – 52kg
  • Carbon – 14.4kg
  • Hydrogen – 8kg
  • Nitrogen – 2.4kg

The last 4%

We call minerals and trace elements, but they’re all elements essential for optimal health and function

  • Calcium – 1.12kg
  • Phosphorus – 880g
  • Sulfur – 200g
  • Potassium – 200g
  • Sodium – 120g
  • Chlorine – 120g
  • Magnesium – 40g
  • Iron – 4.8g
  • Fluorine – 3.0g
  • Zinc – 2.6 g
  • Strontium – 0.37g
  • Iodine0128 g
  • Copper – 0.08g
  • Manganese – 0.0136 g
  • Molybdenum – 0.0104 g

Minerals 101

  • Minerals are made up of chemical elements.
  • A chemical element is a substance that is made up of only one kind of atom
  • Eg. Zinc is a chemical element which is found in various minerals that conain other chemical elements.
  • The body need minerals aka elements from the soil, foods, water and air to develop and function optimally.

Daily mineral requirements vary from one person to another and depend on many factors

– gender
– age
– physical and intellectual activities
– state of health (anaemia)
– physiological status (growth, pregnancy, breastfeeding, menopause)
– dietary habits
– stress levels
– etc

Elements are involved in a wide range of important function, such as

– building blocks for bones and teeth
– hormone production
– enzyme activity
– regulation of nerve impulses
– absorption of vitamins in the body
– regulation of the iron content in red blood cells the so-called haemoglobin, which influences oxygen transport
– act as electrolytes
– regulating the body’s fluid balance

  • 2 kinds of elements: macro-minerals and trace elements.
  • Macro minerals are the elements that the body uses in large quantities, such as, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium and chloride.
  • Trace elements are used in smaller amounts as: sulphur, iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zi

Meet the Macro-Minerals / Elements

  • Sodium – Natrium
  • Potassium – Kalium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Chlorine


  • Electrolytes are particles that carry a positive or negative electrical charge
  • When specific minerals dissolve in a fluid, they form electrolytes with a positive or negative charge used in thousands of metabolic processes.
  • Electrolytes in the body are found in blood, sweat and urine.
  • The cooperation between the positive and negative charges creates fluid balance, pH balance and the electrical current in the nervous system.

Electrolytes found in your body include:

– Sodium
– Potassium
– Chloride
– Calcium
– Magnesium
– Phosphate

Electrolytes are crucial to keeping your nervous system and muscles functioning and your internal environment balanced.

Nervous System Function

  • Your brain sends electrical signals via the nerve cells called neurons to communicate with the all cells throughout your body.
  • These signals are called nervous impulses, and they’re generated by changes to the electrical charge of the nerve cell membrane
  • The so-called potassium sodium pump (natrium kalium pump) which is movement of potassium and sodium in and out of the nerve cell creates the changes in the electrical charge which sets off the chain reaction called nerve transmission

Muscle Function

  • The electrolyte calcium is needed for muscle contraction
  • Magnesium is required for muscle relaxation.


Optimal Hydration

  • The amount of water inside and outside cells must be balanced
  • Electrolytes, in particular natrium/sodium, help maintain that balance through the process called osmosis.
  • Osmosis is the movement of water through a cell membrane from a dilute solution (more water and fewer electrolytes) toward a more concentrated solution (less water and more electrolytes).
  • This prevents cells from bursting from being too full or shrivelling up due to dehydration

Blood pH Levels

  • pH (parts Hydrogen) is a measure of how acidic or alkaline a solution is ie. your blood
  • Your blood pH should be around 7.35 to 7.45. If it deviates from this, your body doesn’t function properly, and you become unwell
  • pH is regulated by the kidney which excrete hydrogen ions to decrease pH and generate bicarbonate to lift pH
  • Having the right balance of electrolytes is fundamental to maintaining your blood pH levels

Electrolyte balance is regulated by hormones

  • antidiuretic hormones
  • aldosterone
  • parathyroid hormones

Electrolyte Disturbances

Can be due to de-hydration or over-hydration which may lead to cardiac and neurological complications


  • Prolonged vomiting or diarrhea
  • Anorexia and bulimia.
  • Strenuous athletic activity, especially in hot temperatures  
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Heavy sweating
  • Higher-than-normal blood pH
  • Medications such as steroids, diuretics and laxatives
  • Excessive intake of water, such as during strenuous exercise


  • Confusion or behavioural changes
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fast heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Convulsions or seizures.
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation.

Electrolyte Replacement

  • Electrolyte drinks containing sodium and potassium salts
  • A home-made electrolyte drink made from water, sugar and salt. Using glucose and sodium together utilises the co-transport mechanism.
  • Found in coconut water, fruit juices, sports drinks, milk, nuts, and many fruits and vegetables – water melon, bananas and avocados are especially good.

Sodium / Natrium

RDA <2.5g – ODA unknown

Refers to

  • An electrolyte with a positive charge
  • Sodium in everyday language is called salt
  • Classified as an inorganic macro-mineral
  • The body needs minimum 500 mg per day.

Necessary for

  • Blood volume
  • Blood pressure
  • Necessary for optimal muscle and nerve function
  • Fluid balance
  • Optimal pH

Deficiency can lead to

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Loss of energy, drowsiness and fatigue
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Muscle weakness, spasms or cramps
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Excess (more common due to processed foods)

  • Excess thirst
  • Infrequent urination
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Brain dysfunction


  • The body uses sodium to balance potassium
  • Both play a crucial role in the production of the electric charge necessary for the nervous system to function properly – the so-called potassium-sodium pump.
  • too much and too little salt can create fluid retention, bags under the eyes or dehydration.

Check your sodium if you

  • Suffer from dizziness
  • Suffer from diarrhea
  • Suffer from nausea
  • Suffer from fatigue
  • Suffer from fluid loss.

Foods with sodium

  • Sodium chloride in sea salt is the primary source of sodium in the diet
  • It is ingested as a spice and as a preservative (sodium benzoate, E211) in many processed foods, making it easy to overeat, which can be the cause blood pressure problems.

Potassium / Kalium

RAD 3.5g – ODA unknown

Refers to

  • An electrolyte with a positive charge
  • Potassium from the diet becomes more important the older we get
  • The more sodium you eat, the more potassium you need.
  • Found in red blood cells, muscles and bones

Necessary for

  • Building bones / Prevent loss of bone tissue
  • Building proteins
  • Metabolizing carbohydrates
  • Regulates heart and blood pressure
  • Helps balance electrolytes
  • Aids in transmitting nerve impulses
  • Necessary for muscle contraction

Deficiency can lead to

  • Dry skin
  • Fluid retention
  • Bags under the eyes.


  • Potassium is best absorbed with sodium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium, the fellow electrolytes
  • Sugar, coffee, processed foods, birth control pills, diuretics, hydrocortisone medications and excess table salt inhibit absorption and excrete potassium from the body.

Check your potassium if you

  • Suffer with heart arrhythmia disorders
  • Suffer with high blood pressure
  • Suffer with oedema / fluid retention
  • Suffer with muscle weakness
  • Suffer with mental apathy.

Potassium in Foods

Potassium is found in many foods and it will be difficult to make a meal without it containing potassium.

Animal foods
Meat, cod, salmon, sardines, dairy products

Plant foods
Nuts, broccoli, peas, tomato, spinach, parsley, citrus fruits, banana, apple, avocado, raisins.


RDA as salt / sodium chloride – 3.8g

Refers to

  • An electrolyte with a negative electrical charge

Necessary for

  • Works with sodium and potassium to create fluid balance and the electrical current in the nervous system.
  • Regulate the pH-base balance in the blood
  • Increases the production of stomach acid, which increases the breakdown of proteins, and the absorption of calcium and vitamin B12 ie. digestion

Deficiency can lead to

  • Is very rare – can occur with an excessive water intake
  • Elevated pH – too alkaline, which in principle is as bad as too acid.

Check your chloride if you

  • suffer from Adrenal gland disease Addisons
  • suffer from diabetic ketoacidosis,
  • suffer from aldosterone deficiency

Foods with chloride

  • As sodium chloride is found in sea salt, kelp and sea vegetables, rye flour and olives as well as salt (sodium chloride) especially in processed foods.


RDA 600 mg, ODA up to 3000 mg

Refers to

  • An electrolyte with a negative charge
  • The second most abundant mineral in the body, found mainly as phosphate.
  • Approx. 800-1200 grams of phosphorus are stored in the body, of which approx. 85% bound in the bone tissue and teeth, where it works closely with calcium
  • Residual phosphorus is included in all the body’s cells and tissues

Necessary for

  • bone and teeth strength
  • growth and repair
  • energy production
  • muscle contractions
  • heart rate
  • nervous system communication
  • balancing calcium, vitamin D and iodine.

Deficiency can lead to – Phosphorus deficiency is rare

  • Muscle weakness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Malaise
  • Bone decalcification if the phosphorus deficiency persists over a longer period of time.


  • Excess phosphorus, such as from protein-rich foods is excreted via the kidneys but calcium is excreted at the same time, therefore make sure to get enough calcium (and magnesium)
  • The uptake of phosphorus in the intestine is related to the uptake of calcium where vitamin D and vitamin K promote the uptake of both.
  • Sugar, iron, vitamin E, vitamin D and vitamin K deficiency, excess alcohol, coffee, tea and diuretics inhibit the absorption of phosphorus.

Check your Phosphorus if you

  • Have diabetes
  • Suffer with alcoholism
  • Take diuretic medications
  • Suffer from nervous disorders.

Foods with phosphorus

Protein-rich animal foods, such as
Meat, poultry, dairy products and eggs.

Protein rich plant foods, such as
Nuts and legumes.


RDA 900 mg, ODA up to 2500 mg

Refers to

  • An electrolyte has a positive charge
  • Also known as lime stone
  • The biggest mineral content in the body approx. 1 kilo per. adult body
  • 99% is bound in the bones.
  • 1% is found in the blood, used to regulate heart rate and rhythm.

Necessary for

  • Together with magnesium and phosphorus, it creates the solid substance in the bones and teeth
  • Responsible for bones strength
  • Bones are a reserve for calcium.
  • Essential for nerve transmission and muscle contraction
  • Essential for heart function
  • Contributes to blood clotting

Deficiency can lead to

  • Osteoporosis
  • Dry skin
  • Brittle nails
  • Dry hair
  • Heart palpitations


  • Calcium as a dietary supplement is best together with magnesium as they have a close working relationship both related to the nervous system and bones.
  • Calcium uptake in the gut needs vitamin D, where uptake into bones also uses, magnesium and vitamin K.
  • Calcium uptake is inhibited by sugar, excess black coffee, oxalic acid and phytins from leafy greens, rhubarb, etc.

Check your calcium if you

  • suffer from or have a tendency to osteoporosis
  • have low stomach acid
  • have bad teeth
  • suffer with arthritis
  • have menstrual problems, such as cramping
  • suffer with allergies
  • are obese

Animal food with calcium

Calcium is best absorbed from animal sources

  • dairy products
  • soft fish bones from eg. sardines,
  • shrimp shells
  • bone broth – See recipe

Plant foods with calcium

  • green vegetables especially broccoli, however, they must be cooked to de-activate oxalic acid and phytins.

The uptake of calcium in the gut requires vitamin D, sardines contain both calcium and vitamin D.

Nature is fantastic, as the nutrients that depend on each other for absorption are most often found in the same foods.


RDA 350 mg, ODA unknown

Refers to

  • An electrolyte with a positive charge
  • The body contains about 24 grams of magnesium.
  • Only 1% is found in the blood,
  • 50–60% is found in bone tissue and teeth
  • Remaining amount in muscle cells, heart and liver.

Necessary for

  • As a co-enzyme for MANY enzyme processes,
  • Energy metabolism / ATP
  • Protein production
  • DNA and RNA production
  • Plays an important role in nerve impulse transmission to muscles and in the heart’s impulse conduction, where it has a relaxing function, maintaining heart rhythm
  • Contributes to nerve and muscle function in general
  • Helps regulate blood glucose levels and insulin
  • Enhances the immune system

Deficiency can lead to

  • Osteoporosis
  • Muscle cramps
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Wrinkles and sagging skin.


  • Take before bedtime for better sleep
  • After exercise to soothe the muscles.
  • Large amount of calcium and excess coffee can inhibit the absorption of magnesium in the intestine
  • Vitamin B6 deficiency can inhibit magnesium absorption into the cells.

Check your magnesium if you

  • Suffer from stress
  • Drink a lot of coffee / tea / soda,
  • Suffer from kidney and or gallstones
  • Suffer from muscle
  • Suffer with menstrual problems, such as cramping
  • Suffer from poor sleep
  • Suffer from depression
  • Suffer from anxiety
  • Lack energy

Foods with magnesium

Magnesium is found everywhere in the diet

  • The green colour in nature comes from chlorophyl which contains magnesium, so everything green has magnesium
  • Dark leafy vegetables are especially rich – remember to cook them
  • Almonds – remember to soak them
  • Dark chocolate
  • Avocados
  • Whole grains.

Understanding Magnesium supplements

Organic / soluble salts of magnesium are water soluble and well absorbed and bioavailability is high

Chelated minerals are minerals that have been combined chemically with amino acids to form “complexes.”

Though promoters may market chelated minerals as being better absorbed, more bioavailable than non-chelated minerals. The claim being minerals chelated with amino acid enhance mineral absorption by protecting the mineral from being combined with insoluble salts in the stomach. But the evidence to support this claim is poor.

Magnesium as a supplement is found as salts or combined with an amino acid

Magnesium glycinate / diglycinate / bisglycinate – chelated magnesium

  • Magnesium + amino acid glycinate
  • Very well absorbed
  • Least likely to induce diarrhea
  • Good for relaxation in the nervous system and may be best to relieve restless leg syndrome
  • Good option for correcting a long-term deficiency.

Magnesium citrate – magnesium salt

  • Magnesium + citric acid
  • Citric acid is a mild laxative making magnesium citrate good for constipation
  • Unsuitable for those with loose bowel movements

Magnesium oxide / Magnesia – magnesium salt

  • Magnesium + oxygen
  • Can relief of heartburn and dyspepsia, as milk of magnesia,
  • Can relieve constipation when used as a short-term laxative


Magnesium lactate – magnesium salt

  • Magnesium + lactic acid
  • Milder on the intestine and therefore better tolerated if large doses are needed.

Magnesium malate – magnesium salt

  • Magnesium and malic acid
  • Well absorbed and therefore good for restoring magnesium depots
  • Fantastic choice for people suffering from fatigue, due to malic acids role in ATP / energy production since
  • Very water soluble.

Magnesium taurate – chelated magnesium

  • Magnesium + the amino acid taurine
  • May be the best form to control high blood sugar and high blood pressure
  • Prevents arrhythmias and guard the heart from damage caused by heart attacks.
  • Magnesium and taurine both stabilize cell membranes
  • No laxative properties
  • Is easily absorbed

Magnesium L-threonate – magnesium salt

  • Magnesium + threonic acid from the breakdown of vitamin C
  • Good for supporting the brain, for depression and memory loss

Magnesium sulfate – magnesium salt

  • Magnesium + sulphur + oxygen
  • Commonly known as magnesium/Epsom salts,
  • May be the best form for constipation and in baths for stress and sore muscles

Magnesium orotate – magnesium salt

  • Magnesium + orotic acid
  • May be the best form for heart health by promoting energy production in the heart and blood vessel tissue.

Magnesium chloride – magnesium salt

  • Magnesium + chloride
  • May be the best form for blood sugar and insulin regulation
  • Only contains around 12 percent elemental magnesium, but absorbs exceedingly well
  • Good when detoxing
  • Aids kidney function
  • Boost a sluggish metabolism.

Magnesium carbonate – magnesium salt

  • Magnesium + carbon
  • Turns into magnesium chloride when it mixes with the hydrochloric acid in the stomach
  • Good for those suffering from indigestion and acid reflux, since it contains antacid properties.

Magnesium gluconate – magnesium salt

  • Magnesium + gluconic acid
  • Very well absorbed
  • May help with cardiac arrhythmia and affect the energy metabolism of mitochondria

Magnesium aspartate – chelated magnesium

  • Magnesium + aspartic acid
  • Aspartic acid is used for the production of neurotransmitter Aspartate which has an excitatory role
  • Careful as magnesium aspartate can cause over excitation if excess aspartic acid / aspartate is ingested from other foods, especially those containing the artificial sweetener aspartame.

Macro mineral & Hormones

How do minerals affect hormone production and function?


Thyroid Hormones

  • Magnesium helps convert the less active T4 thyroid hormone to the more active T3.

Hormone – Estrogen

  • Magnesium is critical to Phase II detoxification in the liver where fat soluble estrogen metabolites are made water-soluble ready for excretion via urine and stools. Low magnesium can lead to poor Phase II detoxification, which may contribute to high estrogen even estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance can cause weight gain, fluid retention, heavy bleeds, tender cystic breast tissue and worse-case scenario contribute to the development of breast and or uterine cancers. Combining magnesium with N-acetylcysteine is good for liver function.

    Magnesium Malate – NAC. BUY VIA LINK BELOW.  

Hormones – Cortisol & Adrenaline

  • As a calming mineral, magnesium helps to reduce over-reactivity in your Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis. You experience less anxiety and stay calmer during stress, reducing your production of stress hormones.

    Magnesium Glycinate brings calm in the nervous system.

Hormone – Insulin

  • Magnesium manages insulin and carbohydrate metabolism. It’s involved in the body’s ability to secrete insulin and may help cells use insulin more effectively lowering blood sugar, which then leads to a decrease in insulin production. This leads to fewer food cravings maybe even weight loss or at the very least maintaining that healthy weight.

    Magnesium Chloride may be the best type of magnesium for regulating blood sugar and insulin. BUY VIA LINK BELOW.  

Sex Hormones

  • Magnesium role is pivotal in the processes that produce estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.

Magnesium Glycinate is best here. BUY VIA LINK BELOW. 

Hormones – DHEA and Human Growth Hormone

  • These important anabolic hormones are produced at night when we sleep. Magnesium role here promoting better sleep. Improved sleep then allows your body to get on with the job at hand ie. producing hormones that help with repair and growth.

Magnesium Glycinate is best here –

Hormone – Serotonin

  • Magnesium is important as a co-enzyme in the conversion of the amino acid tryptophan to the amino acid 5HTP and its conversion to serotonin. Serotonin is converted to melatonin, the neurotransmitter that clams the nervous system to encourage sleep. BTW this step also uses magnesium. Fundamentally magnesium helps regulate the flow of calcium ions (electrolyte form of calcium) which affects the production and release of many neurotransmitters thereby affecting brain health and function in many ways. Those deficient in magnesium are more prone to the blues / depression.

Magnesium Threonate is best here –


Hormone – Parathyroid hormone / PTH

  • Stimulates bones to release calcium into blood
  • When calcium blood levels decrease, the parathyroid glands produce more PTH
  • When the calcium blood levels increase, the parathyroid glands produce less PTH.
  • Phosphorus / phosphate also increases PTH

Sodium and Potassium

Hormone – Aldosterone

  • The kidneys stimulate the Adrenal glands to secrete the hormone Aldosterone.
  • Aldosterone causes the kidneys to retain sodium and to excrete potassium.
  • When sodium is retained, less urine is produced, eventually causing an increase in blood volume, which in turn will increase blood pressure.

Overview of Mineral Deficiency Symptoms

Your body’s way of communicating a lack of important nutrients:

Iron deficiency

  • Fatigue
  • Dark shadows under the eyes
  • Pallor
  • Abnormal desire for non-food such as soil, cardboard, rubber
  • Cracks in the corners of the mouth

Magnesium deficiency

  • Muscle cramps, especially calf and foot muscles
  • Restless legs
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Sour feet
  • High blood pressure

Zinc deficiency

  • Coarse, brittle hair
  • Hair loss
  • Psoriasis
  • White spots on the nails
  • Weak nails
  • Poor wound healing
  • Fungal infection

Calcium deficiency

  • Cramps
  • Decreased bone density
  • Osteoporosis

Meet the trace elements

Essential elements

  • Iron
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Molybdenum
  • Cobalt
  • Iodine  

Elements of probable physiological importance

  • Manganese
  • Silicon
  • Nickel
  • Boron
  • Vanadium

Potentially toxic elements

  • Lead
  • Cadmium
  • Fluorine
  • Mercury
  • Arsenic
  • Aluminium
  • Barium
  • Lithium
  • Tin

Trace Elements & Hormones


  • Zinc and other trace elements such as copper and selenium are required for the synthesis of thyroid hormones, and deficiency of these can result in hypothyroidism.
  • Conversely, thyroid hormones are essential for the absorption of zinc, and hence hypothyroidism can result in acquired zinc deficiency.
  • Zinc is a catalyst for many different enzyme reactions required by the body, such as thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
  • Zinc may become depleted in those with hypothyroidism who overproduce TSH.
  • When zinc levels are low zinc, TSH is not created, which results in low levels of thyroid hormones T4 and T3
  • Zinc is also an essential part of the enzyme deiodinase, which converts T4 into T3.
  • If zinc is low or missing from the body, T3 cannot be made
  • Low zinc levels are associated with increased levels of autoimmunity—as seen through high amounts of anti-thyroid antibodies (TPO and Tg) in thyroid patients
  • Zinc is also important to control the conversion of Testosterone to Estrogen, a so-called aromatase inhibitor


  • Selenium as a selenoprotein is an antioxidant, removing free radicals (aka ROS) generated during the production of thyroid hormones
  • Selenium helps convert T4 into T3 through the selenoprotein enzymes, deiodinases, essential for converting an inactive T4 into its active form T3
  • If the body is deficient in selenium, production of T3 will be lower causing an increase in TSH, forcing the thyroid gland to produce more T4. The by-product of which is free radicals which damage the thyroid gland increasing the need for selenium’s antioxidant function. This can result in high T4, low T3, and higher than usual TSH. It can also create a scar tissue within the thyroid gland, decreasing its function
  • Selenium can reduce thyroid antibody levels, such as 200mcg of sodium in a form of sodium selenite is shown to reduce TPO antibody level by 40% after 90 days and 55% after 6 months but they increased again when supplementation stopped.


  • Production of the Thyroid hormone T4,
  • Converts the Thyroid hormone T4 to T3


  • Production of the Thyroid hormones T4 and T3


RDA – for menstruating women – 30 mg

RDA – for adult women and men – 11 mg

ODA – unknown

Refers to

  • A trace element
  • Males of average height have about 4 grams of iron in their body
  • Females about 3.5 grams
  • Children will usually have 3 grams or less.
  • Iron is distributed throughout the body in red blood cells / haemoglobin found in most tissue, such as muscles, bone marrow, blood proteins, enzymes, ferritin, etc.

Necessary for

  • The production of the protein haemoglobin found in the red blood cells and myoglobin in the muscle cells.
  • These proteins bind oxygen (and carbon dioxide) for transport to and from all cells in the body.
  • Gives the red blood cells their red colour.
  • The largest part of the energy production in all cells requires oxygen
  • Also important for neurotransmitter production, the brain’s hormones that dictate mood, etc.
  • Also needed for strong collagen and connective tissue.

Deficiency can lead to

  • Reduced energy production with the characteristic symptoms, such as fatigue, exhaustion, brain fog and pallor.
  • Poor mood
  • Weak collagen / skin / ligaments etc
  • Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world, especially amongst menstruating women
  • Pale almost transparent skin as well as a low energy production in the skin cells, which can end in many ​​symptoms. Therefore, it is important to consider an iron deficiency as a fundamental cause of skin symptoms in women of childbearing age, especially those who suffer from heavy bleeding


  • For optimal function, iron depends on vitamin A and copper.
  • Too much iron can become toxic for the body, and therefore the recommendations vary for different genders and age groups.
  • As a rule of thumb, men and postmenopausal women should not take iron as a dietary supplement unless a blood test has shown iron deficiency. Mineral supplements for the + 50-year-olds usually contain no iron.
  • The opposite is true for menstruating women who need extra iron due to their monthly menstrual bleeding.
  • Women lose a lot of iron during menstruation and must therefore be aware of their iron status during the fertile years.
  • Pregnant women have a greater need for iron.
  • Iron is divided into haem (blood) and non-haem sources,
  • The body absorbs approx. 90% of the iron from haem sources, such as meat and organ meats
  • The body only absorbs approx. 30% from non-haem sources, such as spinach, which also require vitamin C for its uptake.
  • Excess iron increases oxidative stress and therefore, it is important to be aware of the many vitamin and mineral enriched foods and supplements where the amount of iron has not been taken into account.
  • Always select supplements with low or no iron content if you are a non-menstruating woman or a man.
  • Iron uptake is promoted by vitamin C, copper and stomach acid.
  • Coffee, tea, alcohol, processed foods with phosphates and lack of stomach acid inhibit the absorption of iron.
  • Iron and vitamin E should never be taken together as iron oxidizes vitamin E.
  • Calcium inhibits iron absorption

Check your iron if you

  • Suffer from anaemia
  • Have heavy menstrual bleeds
  • Have cracked skin around the lips, corners of the mouth, nasal opening, corners of the eyes, fingertips, rectal opening and vagina.

Foods with haem iron

  • organ meats liver, kidneys, heart, tongue
  • muscle meats
  • egg yolk

Foods with non-haem iron

  • spinach, asparagus and other greens,
  • vitamin C is essential for absorption of non-haem iron.

As calcium has an inhibitory effect on the absorption of iron it is wise to avoid drinking milk with meals rich in iron.


RDA – 9 – 12 mg

ODA – up to 25 mg

Refers to

  • A trace element
  • Total body zinc content is estimated to be 2 g.
  • Skeletal muscle accounts for approx. 60 %
  • Bone mass contains approx. 30%.

Necessary for

  • In short, zinc is good for hair, skin and nails.
  • Especially good for spotty skin
  • Essential for wound-healing

Necessary for

  • Cell detoxification
  • Important for memory
  • A part of many enzyme-systems
  • Necessary for DNA production, growth and cell division

Deficiency can lead to

  • Fatigue
  • Slow wound healing
  • Psoriasis
  • Hair loss
  • Weak nails.


  • Inhibits the conversion of Testosterone to Estrogen, which can increase Testosterone levels, which may increase sebum production and can lead to more spots / acne.
  • Necessary for collagen production, by restricting the enzyme collagenase which breaks down collagen
  • Stimulates wound healing
  • Eases skin irritations
  • Zinc is always included in the treatment of burns, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea even acne
  • Zinc and copper affect each other and therefore there should preferably be a balance of approx. 8 -15mg zinc to 1mg copper. Be careful not to use too much / too long zinc without copper.
  • Cadmium is similar to zinc and can compete for uptake, cadmium is found in plant foods, especially the non-organic type.
  • Excretion of zinc is increased by mental stress, sweating, psoriasis, diabetes, diuretics and cortisone treatment.

Check your zinc if you

  • Suffer with skin problems
  • Suffer with poor healing
  • Are sterile
  • Lack appetite
  • Suffer with mood swings especially around menstruation and in postpartum depression
  • Suffer with a weak immune system.
  • Suffer with loss of taste

Foods with zinc

Animal foods

  • By far the best source of zinc is oysters
  • Other good sources are seafood, meat, dairy products, cheese, liver.

Plant foods

  • wheat germ
  • cocoa
  • pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds
  • dates

Vegetarians should eat zinc as a dietary supplement to strengthen the body and prevent imbalances such as skin problems, low testosterone, etc.



RDA – Adults -150 mcg

RDA – Pregnant and lactating women – 290 mcg

ODA – up to 600mcg

Refers to

  • A trace element
  • Healthy adults have about 15–20 mg
  • 70%–80% of which is contained in the Thyroid gland

Necessary for

  • Your thyroid gland, the butterfly-shaped gland in your throat, is dependent upon iodine to function.
  • The thyroid gland produces metabolic hormones called T4 and T3, where numbers 4 and 3 refer to the number of iodine molecules the hormones contain.
  • T4 and especially T3 control metabolism, ie. how quickly food is burned into energy, which affects all cells, tissues and systems in the body.
  • Also important for the skin’s energy metabolism and repair.

Deficiency can lead to

  • Fatigue
  • Goitre
  • Underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism),
  • Obesity
  • Dry hair & skin
  • Brittle nails
  • Stiff blood vessels
  • Depression


  • The uptake of iodine occurs in the intestine, which is promoted by selenium and iron,
  • Uptake into the thyroid gland is inhibited by substances in soy, the cruciferous family, green vegetables collectively called goitrogens
  • Goitre is the name of the condition in which the thyroid gland grows in size, which is seen as a swelling in the throat, which may indicate iodine deficiency
  • Plant foods should always be prepared, cooked, fermented, soaked, sprouted, and their intake limited
  • The intake of seaweed and / or iodine supplements should be taken separately from these plant foods.

Check your iodine if you

  • Have a swelling in the neck – goitre
  • Unexpected weight gain
  • Fatigue & tiredness
  • Hair loss
  • Dry flaky skin
  • Freezing all the time
  • Memory problems
  • Heavy menstrual bleeds

Plant foods with iodine

  • Absolute best sources of iodine are sea salt, kelp and other sea vegetables such as seaweed
  • Cranberries, strawberries, peeled potatoes.

Animal foods with iodine

  • Non-fatty seafood
  • Eggs
  • Organic natural yogurt
  • Turkey.



RDA – 900 mcg

ODA – up to 2000 mcg

Refers to

  • A trace element
  • Only small amounts of copper are typically stored in the body
  • An average adult has a total body content of 50–120 mg copper

Necessary for

  • Copper affects haemoglobin production and is thus important for oxygen uptake and energy production.
  • Production of collagen and elastin important for connective tissue’s strength and flexibility, incl. the skin, the bones, and the health of the blood vessels.
  • Neurotransmitter and nerve cell membranes depend on copper and thus the function of the nervous system
  • Production of melanin, which is the dark pigment in hair and skin

Deficiency can lead to

  • Copper deficiency is very rare.


  • Copper influences the skin pigment melanin
  • Copper peptides, which are natural compounds formed in the body from copper and 3 amino acids increase collagen and elastin production in the dermis when applied to the skin.
  • Also has an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect
  • Vitamin C, Zinc and Manganese reduce copper levels
  • Organic apple growers use copper to prevent pest infestations,
  • Zinc and copper affect each other, where high amounts of zinc over a long period of time can lower the copper level and vice versa

Check your copper if you

  • Suffer from anaemia
  • Suffer with pigment loss
  • Suffer with vitiligo
  • Suffer with conjunctivitis.

Copper foods

Animal food

  • organ meats
  • seafood

Plant foods

  • nuts
  • whole grains
  • greens
  • dark chocolate.




RDA – 60mcg

ODA – up to 300mcg

Refers to

  • A trace element
  • Selenium content of the body ranges from 13 to 30 mg
  • Approx. 28-46% stored in skeletal muscle.
  • Most selenium stored in the Thyroid gland

Necessary for

  • Creating compounds with amino acids the so-called selenoproteins, such as selenocysteine
  • Essential for glutathione production and function, the body’s major antioxidant
  • Essential for converting the Thyroid hormone T4 to T3 and thus is strongly involved in energy production

Deficiency can lead to

  • Low energy production and consequent symptoms
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Unhealthy hair
  • White spots on the nails
  • Decreased liver detoxification


  • Vitamin E enhances the effect of selenium especially with vitamin C.
  • Processed food inhibits the utilization of selenium.
  • Selenium works together with vitamins A and E, where it helps to ensure that the two vitamins always function optimally as antioxidants.
  • Selenium protects the skin from the sun’s UV rays, especially together with vitamins A & E.

Check your need for selenium if you

  • Suffer with a weakened immune system
  • Suffer with fertility problems
  • Suffer with circulation problems
  • Suffer with arthritis
  • Suffer with neurological problems
  • Live in an area with high pollution
  • Live in an area known for poor selenium content in the soil, such as DK.

Foods with selenium

Plant food

  • Brazil nuts can contain up to 80 mcg of selenium per nut and in addition contain sulphur amino acids that the body uses to make selenoproteins.
  • Other nuts
  • Whole grains

Animal food

  • Organ meats
  • Shellfish

About vitamins

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