Minerals and their function
Minerals are essential for maintaining good health. They fulfil a wide array of functions in the body such as building materials for the strong bones and muscles. Minerals are incorporated in several metabolic pathways to ensure the normal function of cells.
Some minerals function as building-blocks, others as regulators in the body, and others as immune system boosters.
Among these immune system boosters are the minerals Magnesium, Zinc and Selenium. These are the minerals that are tested with the blood test from Gettested.
Magnesium contributes to healthy muscles, strong teeth and bones. It is not made by the body, which is why you must eat foods that contain magnesium. Not only does magnesium give your body extra energy, it also helps you to stay in a good mood. If you take magnesium an hour before you go to bed, it will help you relax and get a good night’s sleep. Magnesium is also essential for muscle contraction and its deficiency leads to physical and mental weakness as well as hyporeflexia (the reduction or absence of normal bodily reflections). There are many foods that contain magnesium as well as magnesium supplements.
Zinc is an antioxidant. It is crucial for the immune system to produce B- and T-cells. Besides supporting the immune system, Zinc is essential for wound healing and helps treat diarrhoea. This mineral also enables the body to make DNA and proteins. Many foods contain Zinc.
Research also indicates that Zinc is essential to male sexual health. Because Zinc plays an important role in bone health, it may be helpful in preventing osteoporosis. Much research has been done in the area of Zinc, and though some research is still suggestive, it can be said that Zinc is vital to the body and it comes with many health benefits.
Selenium is an essential mineral that can not be produced by the body. It can be found in many foods naturally. Selenium helps to make DNA and it protects the red blood cells against infections and can help boost the white blood cells. Selenium also promotes thyroid function, responsible for producing and releasing hormones. Additionally, it is linked to reproductive health.
Further research on the relationship between selenium and cancer has shown that people with low levels of selenium had a higher risk of developing cancer.
Mineral deficiency symptoms
Unfortunately, many patients experience vague symptoms for years without being diagnosed with mineral deficiency, but with the help of GetTested’s quick checkup, you will get a full report of your minerals’ status and practical tips to optimise your diet to meet the daily requirements. Below are listed some of the most common symptoms for each mineral tested:
Magnesium deficiency – common symptoms
- Sleep disorders
- Twitching of the eyelids
- Muscle cramps / tremors
Zinc deficiency – common symptoms
- Weakened immune system
- Impaired wound healing
- Impaired sense of smell and taste
- Worse hair, skin and nails
- Infertility / impotence / low testosterone
- Impaired vision or night vision
Selenium deficiency – common symptoms
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle pain
- Growing pains
- Restless legs
- Skin problems
*Note – selenium is toxic in high doses!
How the Mineral Deficiency Test is done
The Mineral Deficiency Test is measured in plasma (blood). The test is done at home. You can collect blood by pricking your finger and then send it to our laboratory for analysis. You will receive your result digitally as soon as our lab has analysed your sample. Everything you need to take the test is in the kit that will be sent home to you.
What minerals are tested?
The body’s most important minerals are tested with Gettested’s test. These important minerals are Magnesium, Zinc and Selenium.
Why test for mineral deficiency?
A mineral deficiency can cause many unpleasant symptoms like mentioned above, such as fatigue, muscle pains and a weakening of the immune system and should therefore be taken very seriously. If you suspect you may have a deficiency, it is wise to get it checked.
What affects mineral deficiency?
An inadequate intake/diet can affect our mineral status, so the most common cause is not eating foods that contain minerals.
Who should test for mineral deficiency?
The vitamin deficiency is suitable for anyone who worries they may not be getting enough nutrients and/or are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with a mineral deficiency.
Is mineral deficiency common?
Vitamin deficiencies are relatively common in the UK, especially folate/folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin D in the winter. Deficiency can be affected by factors such as diet, age, medications, pregnancy and sun exposure.
How to test mineral deficiency?
You can easily test whether you have a mineral deficiency at home by using Gettested’s test kit. You will collect a blood sample, which will be sent to the laboratory for analysis.
How to test for vitamin and mineral deficiency?
You can test for both vitamin and mineral deficiency, by getting the vitamin deficiency test kit, as well as this mineral deficiency test kit. You can find the vitamin deficiency test kit here.
When should I take the test?
It is recommended to take the test on an empty stomach in the morning. This way your level has not been influenced by the time of day or intake of food and you can get a better understanding of your mineral levels.
How long until I get my results?
You will receive your result digitally as soon as your blood sample has been analysed by the lab. This should take about a week.
What foods contain minerals?
Magnesium is found in dark chocolate, avocados, nuts, seeds, legumes, tofu, whole grains, salmon, bananas, spinach and kale.
Zinc can be found in many foods such as beans, fish and meat. Legumes, seeds, whole grains, (pea)nuts, dairy (cheese and milk), eggs also contain zinc. There is also some zinc present in dark chocolate. Note that dark chocolate contains a lot of sugar too, so consume in moderation.
Selenium is found in organ meats, seafoods and Brazil nuts, but it can also be found in bread, cereals, meat and eggs. Some healthy vegetables can also provide you with selenium, such as broccoli, spinach, beans, green peas and potatoes.
Is it possible to have too many minerals?
As is true for most things, moderation is best. The same goes for minerals. Too much magnesium can cause side effects such as diarrhoea, so it is important that you don’t take more than the recommended dose (in case of supplements) Too much Zinc may lead to a toxicity that can be harmful to sperm. You may also suffer from flu-like symptoms. Extreme doses of Selenium can cause difficulty breathing and even heart failure. As for most things, moderation is best.
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