As important as vitamins are, they are just the warm-up act. Minerals are the biochemical superstars as you prep your body for a big upgrade.
Yet minerals are probably the least sexy group of supplements, often treated as an afterthought that follows herbals and probiotics. Minerals are also widely misunderstood. Most people know that bones contain calcium. Some may recall that bones contain magnesium as well. You probably know that blood has iron in it. But that’s just the beginning of the story. Few people realize that there are more than twenty minerals in their bones alone and they all function in tandem. You can take all the calcium pills you want and still have osteoporosis if you’re missing those other critical minerals.
Quite literally, you would not be alive without minerals.
Your body carefully allocates dozens of minerals throughout your tissues to build cellular components and—even more important—to activate enzymes. Enzymes are the chemical lubricants of the engine of life. They enable chemical reactions to take place using far less energy than they would otherwise, and they are the basis of biochemistry as opposed to physical chemistry. Enzymes work by binding to a substrate, or chemical input, and bringing together molecules so that they can react with each other. All the biochemistry that drives your metabolism depends on enzymes.
With them, your body runs smoothly. Without them it won’t run at all—full stop.
You need your enzymes, and your enzymes need chemical helpers called cofactors to activate and go to work in your body. Minerals are the cofactors of many life-critical operations. And you almost definitely aren’t getting enough of them. As with vitamins, even a healthy, well-chosen diet will leave you mineral deficient.
If you don’t have enough minerals, your body will conserve them for the most critical processes to keep you alive, but that means that other processes that keep you healthy or promote longevity will be sacrificed.