The body system functions are dependent on a lot of elements, substances and minerals in the body for it to be effective. As stated in my previous articles, vitamins are important in the body's functions. There are a lot of minerals that the body requires for its function but there are two of these minerals that are considered as the most important minerals the body needs. Iron and Calcium are the two most important minerals in the body. Iron has a big part in the oxygenation of blood thus, the oxygenation to all the different systems in the body. Calcium is responsible for the rigidity of the bones which is the main framework and foundation of the human body.
Iron is a mineral necessary for the production of hemoglobin which is the blood component which binds to oxygen. It is transported in the blood by transferrin. Storage of extra iron is by ferritin and hemosiderin. Heme iron is absorbed by mucosal cells of intestine more than non - heme iron. Primary hemochromatosis may accumulate iron by increased absorption from the diet. Dietary ascorbic acid increases iron absorption. Phosphates bind with iron and decrease absorption. Iron is absorbed mainly in the duodenum and the proximal jejunum.
The deficiency of Iron may lead to Iron Deficiency Anemia. It is a disorder characterized by pallor and malaise. Due to the deficient iron, the blood cannot bind enough oxygen for the circulation. As a result, there will be a decrease oxygenation in the brain which may cause dizziness, insomnia, and depressed brain activity. In children, Iron Deficiency Anemia is often associated with poor performance in school.
The causes of Iron Deficiency Anemia are poor dietary intake of Iron since childhood, hereditary causes, genetic causes and parasitism. Pregnancy may also because Iron Deficiency Anemia that's why, Ferrous Sulfate is always included in prenatal care programs. Iron Deficiency Anemia affects women more than men because of the monthly blood loss they undergo during menstruation.
The management for Iron Deficiency Anemia is the giving of Iron supplements in the form of Ferrous Sulfate tablets. Usually, Ferrous Sulfate and Ascorbic Acid goes together in treating this type of anemia. Ascorbic acid aids in the absorption of ferrous in the system.
Another important mineral in the body is the Calcium. It is the main component of the bones and it gives its hardiness and rigidity. The nutritional source for calcium is milk. Bones are reservoir of calcium and they "fill up with calcium" until about 21 years of age. After that time, bones are at a continuous drainage of calcium.
The deficiency of calcium leads to Osteoporosis. It is the defect in the bone's structure which makes it brittle and easily broken. In women, production of calcium is influenced by the hormone estrogen. However, Estrogen production stops beyond the reproductive age or after menopause. Menopausal women are often placed on estrogen replacement to decrease the amount of calcium loss and the number of bone fractures. You must have encountered elderly women who walk with their backs bent forward. This is the result of Osteoporosis. This is why menopausal women have a steady decrease in the calcium and their bones become more fragile. Weight-bearing exercises and activity can help maintain bone calcium. Osteoporosis has been one of the most common problems of older women around the world. In older men however, Calcium deficiency is associated with baldness and hair loss. The sudden and severe loss of calcium in the body such as in the cases of poison or toxicity to drugs is termed Hypocalcemia which is manifested by tetany. The reason for this is that Calcium is part of action potential which is the process of producing muscle contractions.
The prevention of Osteoporosis is very easy. It is recommended, especially in young females and those in the reproductive age group, to have the habit of drinking dairy products. There are a lot of milk products in the markets today that have high calcium contents. There are also Calcium supplements in tablet forms that can be taken twice a day for those people who cannot tolerate taking milk.
Iron and Calcium are the most important minerals of the human body. A deficiency of either one of these minerals can cause bad effects to our health. The good thing for our generation is that today, there are a lot of products which we can take as effective supplements for these minerals.
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