Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Medical Can our body synthesize minerals?

  1. Nov 28, 2016 #1
    Can our body synthesize its own minerals and essential elements? I mean calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc etc. I know we can have them from our food. Also, can they be stored just as glycogen stores glucose and fat tissue stores triglycerides etc?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 28, 2016 #2

    BvU

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Elements: no. Minerals: yes (kidney stones, bladder stones). Although synthesizing is a big word.
     
  4. Nov 28, 2016 #3

    jim mcnamara

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    No -- all minerals come from food and drink.
    I'm defining mineral == a small molecule that has a required (generally)metallic atom as part of it.

    The whole subject is VERY complex. The story for zinc covers most facets you asked about:
    For just zinc see this article: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/

    Some minerals have storage like calcium -> bone tissue. Zinc has no special storage mechanism.
    Minerals can act as anti-nutrients for other minerals, preventing uptake. Zinc and magnesium play games with each other, based on intake amounts.

    Massive doses of a mineral can be toxic - mostly because it prevents uptake of another mineral element. And sometimes can interfere with metabolic pathways that normally would not have been affected by lesser amount of the nutrient mineral.

    Minerals like iodine have a VERY restricted required range for intake. Too high=toxic, too low == mental retardation in children. Large areas of the world have very low iodine levels in soils, so low levels in foods. India is an example.

    Some minerals like selenium have a lot less known about them than other minerals.
    There are also some "wannabe" minerals that are promoted by pill sellers, which do not have scientific support - vanadium is one. And vanadium studies are sort of rare anyway, IMO.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
  5. Nov 28, 2016 #4

    BvU

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    I like jim's answer much better than mine. I said synthesizing is a big word because all that happens is that mineral ions crystallize - and these ions came in as components in the food.
     
  6. Nov 28, 2016 #5

    BvU

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    [edit] sorry, I hit post reply or save changes too impatiently
     
  7. Nov 28, 2016 #6
    There is a difference between "dietary" minerals and minerals in the physical chemical sense. The list of dietary minerals http://www.foodpyramid.com/dietary-minerals/ doesn't include mineral forms of those elements in the sense that not even calcium carbonate/etc are transported to sites and utilized as minerals. The body can create some minerals in the true sense of minerals: magnetite (possibly), hydroxyapatite that can become fluoroapatite with fluoride treatments. and small calcite crystals in the ear. And, of course, the minerals produced by processes mentioned by BvU.
     
  8. Nov 28, 2016 #7

    jim mcnamara

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    @CapnGranite yup. Chemically, minerals are not the same definition as used in standard nutrition literature. Why I posted a definition. If you go to NIH and look at the professional references for RDA's (RDI) for dietary components they all use the word mineral in the context I thought I was creating. Guess not.

    FWIW - I am assuming the OP got the word from a nutrition pamphlet or some kind of label.
     
  9. Nov 28, 2016 #8
    Our bodies can't make new atoms, they can only process whatever atoms are already present in food.
    Most food intake is organic material, (proteins, carbohydrates, etc), however trace amounts of metals as well - such as the Sodium in salt.
    Some of these trace elements do play in important part in keeping the body in good condition, Sodium for example plays an important part in the transmission of nerve signals.
     
  10. Nov 28, 2016 #9
    The OP question was answered by ByU. The body can synthesize minerals from elements.
     
  11. Nov 28, 2016 #10
    Yes the body can synthesize minerals. Aside from what ByU has already stated, calcification is the build up of calcium salts (minerals) in soft tissue.
     
  12. Nov 28, 2016 #11
    When it comes to essential vitamins and minerals, any excess will be evacuated. The body uses what it needs, and discards the rest. Obviously shortages can result in any number of health problems, as well as what Jim said about excess minerals interfering in other pathways.

    Personally, I've never felt the need to take supplements. A well balanced diet and sunshine will give you all the nutrients you need.
     
  13. Nov 28, 2016 #12

    rbelli1

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    This can be a dangerous statement as some vitamins and minerals will cause sickness or possibly death in high quantities. Each has a unique over-consumption profile that ranges from benign to deadly. Some vitamins and minerals are difficult to consume enough (even accidentally) to become ill while others especially iodine or vitamin D will be toxic at much lower easy to accidentally consume levels.

    BoB
     
  14. Nov 29, 2016 #13
    I said as much in post with my reference to Jim.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted



Similar Discussions: Can our body synthesize minerals?
Loading...