Interactions: Interference with Mineral Need

scientific laboratory
Scientific Laboratory

Interactions can interfere with mineral needs. Without certain minerals, you cannot sustain life. And, just because a food is rich in a mineral, does not mean you will garner its benefits. Such is the case when it comes to mineral interactions with fiber and mineral interactions with each other. This article will explore these interactions.

Fiber Interactions:
Grain Products
Grain Products

When it comes to fiber, certain substances can bind to the mineral preventing its absorption. In particular, grain fiber contains a compound called phytic acid which binds to minerals limiting its absorption. Another plant substance that binds minerals, especially calcium, is oxalic acid, found in high concentrations in spinach, thus severely limiting the absorption of this mineral. Accordingly, diets high in fiber can limit the body’s absorption of zinc, iron, and other minerals. The current recommended intake of fiber is 25 grams for adult women and 38 grams for adult men. A higher intake could create problems with the body’s mineral status.

Mineral Interactions
minerals, supplements, lab
Mineral Supplements are Manufactured in the Lab

With respect to mineral interactions with each other, this problem arises most frequently with those taking a specific mineral supplement. This is because several minerals, such as

  • calcium,
  • magnesium,
  • copper, and
  • iron

are similarly sized with similar electrical charges. These similarities create a competition among them for absorption affecting their bioavailability. In other words, if one of these minerals are taken in excess, it decreases the absorption of the others. For example, copper absorption is decreased with an excessive intake of zinc. For this reason, individual mineral supplements should be avoided unless recommended by a health professional due to a medical condition or dietary deficiency. On the other hand, food sources, pose little risk for mineral to mineral interactions.

Farmer's Market Fresh, vegetables
Fresh from the Farmer’s Market – Vegetables – A Great Source of Vitamins and Minerals

The bottom line is that there is minimal threat of interference in absorption caused by phytic acid and oxalic acid, two compounds found in high fiber foods and vegetables, with natural foods rather than pills. When you use a natural food product, mineral to mineral interactions is not an issue.

(C) 2016 Karen Van Den Heuvel Fischer

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