The market for mineral supplements is wide and varied. Minerals are not consumed from the earth itself, but are extracted from the earth’s rocks. There are different types of minerals and some are used more commonly than others. You can find a number of mineral supplements on the market today and they may be in tablet, capsule or liquid form.
These supplements are available to target populations and have been developed based on certain considerations. They must be taken with food as it can lose its minerals contained if they are consumed on their own. It is necessary to choose the appropriate kind of supplement depending on the intended purpose of using it. For example, nutritional supplements for children must contain enough nutrients that are easily absorbed by the body.
Minerals are available in many forms and these include multivitamins. The content and amount of minerals in various multivitamins vary greatly. Multi-vitamins can be taken according to one’s daily intake of vitamins and minerals. It is important to note here that multivitamins and other nutritional supplements are not substitutes for a balanced diet. The quantities of minerals in multi-vitamins vary and it is recommended that one should talk to a physician before purchasing such products.
Minerals can also be consumed through diet. However, it has been observed that many people prefer to take vitamins and minerals through dietary supplements. This is because a large number of vitamins and minerals are not absorbed in the natural process of foods. However, they are available in tablet, capsule and liquid forms that can be easily absorbed into the body’s system.
It is important to note here that there are two different ways in which multivitamins and other supplements can be compared: based on their bioavailability and on their absorption rate in the target population. The bioavailability refers to how well a product is absorbed into the target population. The absorption rate pertains to the speed at which a product is absorbed into the target population. Most commonly, magnesium and zinc have high bioavailability rates but lower absorption rates in the target population. Thus, while it is easy for some to take vitamins and minerals in tablet or capsule form, others may find it more convenient to consume such products through multivitamins.
Minerals supplements are also divided into two main categories: low and high-potency. Low potency supplements are used to cater to a smaller segment of the target populations while high-potency supplements are made to cater to the targeted populations with higher concentrations of the minerals. Most commonly, low potency supplements include magnesium and potassium. High-potency supplements on the other hand, contain calcium, iron, chromium, sodium, zinc, and taurine.
The minerals have a range of uses. Magnesium plays a major role in the body. It maintains muscle functions, bones, cardiovascular tissue, and nerve functions. However, people who need more iron may opt for taking supplemental iron. The Bioavailability score of the minerals helps determine the absorption rate and the bioavailability of the minerals.
Dietary supplements may also provide the minerals that are not naturally found in the diet. However, these supplements are considered controversial because many health experts believe that nutrients derived from dietary sources are safer than those obtained from supplementation. These nutritional supplements however do not last long and eventually need to be replaced with new ones.
Herbal dietary supplements are most commonly sold. They are made by blending herbs together. Commonly sold herbal supplements are chaste tree, licorice root, alfalfa, milk thistle, sarsaparilla, ginseng, kelp, and clover. It is important to choose supplements wisely. Some can cause allergies, which can aggravate existing medical conditions. Supplements containing excessive amounts of iodine may cause hyperthyroidism.
One method used to identify the minerals in supplements is the Multi-range test, wherein a line is drawn on the test panel depicting the mid-limit of minerals and the minerals above that level are labeled as “relevant” for further analysis. The minerals in the panel are then labeled according to their density. Absorption rate, retention time, titer, and insolubility values are determined by using a method called the N-terminal magnetic binding assay. Magnetic binding assays enable the determination of the concentration of metal ions, copper, zinc, iron, sodium, and selenium in individual minerals. The minerals represented in this particular method are uranium, titanium, strontium, cobalt, selenium, manganese, phosphorus, and sodium.
Vitamin and mineral supplements usually contain one or more vitamins and minerals. The minerals in vitamins are synthesized from basic compounds such as inorganic and organic acids, and carbon compounds. Common vitamin compounds are thiamine, folic acid, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and cyanocobalamin. Each of these vitamins has its own absorption rate, toxicity levels, and bioavailability.