Potassium is needed to regulate water balance, levels of acidity, blood pressure, and neuromuscular function, including a critical role in transmission of electrical impulses in the heart. Potassium is an essential mineral required for energy metabolism and proper cell function. Potassium also:
- regulates fluid and mineral balance
- assists with muscle contraction and transmission of nerve signals
- helps the heart and kidneys function properly
Getting enough potassium in your diet has been shown to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
Magnesium is needed for bone, protein, and fatty acid formation, making new cells, activating B vitamins, relaxing muscles, clotting blood, lowering blood pressure and forming ATP — the energy the body runs on. Insulin secretion and function also require magnesium.
Thiamine or Vitamin B1 is needed to process carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Every cell of the body requires vitamin B1 to form ATP — the fuel the body runs on. Nerve cells require Vitamin B1 in order to function normally.
Niacin or Vitamin B3 is used by the body in the process of releasing energy from carbohydrates. It’s needed to form fat from carbohydrates and to process alcohol. The niacin form of Vitamin B3 also regulates cholesterol.
Vitamin B6 is the master vitamin in the processing of amino acids — the building blocks of all proteins and some hormones. Vitamin B6 helps to make and take apart many amino acids and is also needed to make serotonin, melatonin and dopamine. Vitamin B6 also aids in the formation of several neurotransmitters and is therefore an essential nutrient in the regulation of mental processes and possibly mood. In combination with folic acid and Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6 lowers homocysteine levels — a substance linked to heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Pantothenic Acid is involved in the cycle of energy production and is needed to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. It is also essential in producing, transporting and releasing energy from fats. Synthesis of cholesterol (needed for Vitamin D and hormone synthesis) depends on pantothenic acid. It also lowers blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
Iron is part of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of the blood. Iron-deficient people tire easily because their bodies are starved for oxygen. Iron is also part of myoglobin, which helps muscle cells store oxygen. Without enough iron, ATP (the fuel the body runs on) cannot be properly synthesized. As a result, some iron-deficient people become fatigued even when their hemoglobin levels are normal.
Phosphorous is a mineral which helps build strong bones and teeth. Phosphorous is also involved in the release of energy from fat, protein and carbohydrates during metabolism and in the formation of genetic material, cell membranes and many enzymes.
Reviewed by Cara Rosenbloom, registered dietitian.