We all know our body needs nutrients to function properly and smoothly. Nutrients include minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. With the increase in age, these nutrients start to deplete in our body, especially minerals and vitamins. While carbohydrates, protein, and fats can be easily taken through food, the minerals and vitamins are somehow difficult to consume as their intake is measured in milligram and microgram.
Here is an insight into all the minerals and vitamins that a normal adult body needs.
What are minerals?
Minerals are a part of nutrients that are required for proper maintenance of the body. Minerals include phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium. These minerals are required by our body in a small amount and taking a higher dose than required can have a negative effect on our body mechanism.
Some minerals which are important for adults and elderly are as follows:
It is a very important mineral which constitutes up to 1 percent of our body weight. About 85 percent of the total phosphorus is found in skeleton and teeth. Rest 15 percent is present in our soft tissues and body fluids. It is very important as it is responsible for maintaining proper acid-base balance in our body and is a major component of ATP, the energy producing unit of our body.
Amount of phosphorus required in male and female bodies are different. An adult male should consume 1300mg/day while an adult female should consume 1mg/day.
Phosphorus along with calcium helps in keeping our bones, teeth and nervous system healthy. Although the deficiency of phosphorus is rare, in case it happens it leads to excessive weakness. Phosphorus can be found in dairy products, fish, and meat.
Calcium is basically required by human body for healthy bones. If there is not sufficient calcium in our body, it results in osteoporosis, a condition in which pores in our bones become large. Another condition that may arise due to calcium deficiency is osteomalacia that is softening of bones, it makes bones prone to fracture.
Adults need 1200-1400 mg calcium per day. The main source of calcium is dairy products. People who allergic to dairy products or those who have an eating disorder are at high risk of calcium deficiency.
Iron is a major component of blood hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a substance present in red blood cell(RBC) which helps in transportation of oxygen in our body. The most common symptom of iron deficiency is fatigue. The major issue that you can face due to iron deficiency, especially females is anemia. Inadequate intake of iron by adults can lead to weakness and pale skin.
Some common sources of iron are leafy green vegetables, other green vegetables, and jaggery.
Potassium is needed by our muscles basically to function properly. Potassium deficiency can affect our muscles, heart, and nerves. This mineral is essential for our muscle contraction and proper beating of heart and blood supply.
Its deficiency can lead to a medical condition called Hypokalemia. It usually happens in people with eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia nervosa. The normal potassium level in blood of an adult is 3.5-5 milliequivalents per liter of blood.
What are vitamins?
Vitamins are organic compound and it cannot be synthesized by our body. Vitamins are a component of nutrients needed for most of the biochemical changes in the human body
Some vital vitamins for elders and adults includes:
Vitamin A is needed for healthy eyes, skin, and tissues. Its deficiency can lead loss of eyesight. One can ignore vitamin A deficiency by consuming lots and lots of vegetables, fruits, milk, butter, cod liver oil and shark oil.
This is needed for maintaining the health of muscles and providing energy to us for work. Weak muscles and weakness are the common problems that arise due to vitamin B deficiency.
There is eight type of B complex vitamins out of which four are very important for elders. They are:
It is also known as Thiamin. It is required by human body for proper metabolism, proper functioning of brain, nerve, muscles, and heart. An adult needs 1.2 mg of vitamin B1 daily. It can be found in cereals, yeast rich baked products, pork, and fish. Its deficiency can lead to problems such as leg swelling, cramps, and difficulty in breathing.
It is also known as Riboflavin. It can easily drain out of our body as it is soluble in water. It can be found in dairy products, soybeans, eggs, broccoli, mushrooms etc. An adult man needs 1.3 mg vitamin B2 daily while an adult woman needs 1.1 mg vitamin B2 daily. Vitamin B2 helps in proper digestion and breaking down of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
It is also known as pyridoxine. It helps in smooth functioning of liver, skin, and eyes. Amount of vitamin B6 required in an adult’s body is 1.3 mg per day. Its deficiency leads to muscle pain, confusion, and fatigue.
It is needed by the body for red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis. An adult should take 2.4mcg vitamin B12 daily. Fortified cereals, tuna fish, salmon, cheese, egg, and milk are a rich source of vitamin B12.
Weak gums is one of the problems the one has to encounter with age. It happens due to deficiency of vitamin C. In addition to maintaining the health of gums, vitamin C is also needed for healthy bone joints. This vitamin can be found in citrus fruits like orange, lemon, and guava. Its deficiency leads to weak teeth and bleeding spongy gums.
Vitamin D helps our body in absorbing calcium. It along with calcium and phosphorus helps in maintaining healthy bones. Inadequate intake of vitamin D leads to weak and brittle bones. It can be found in milk, fortified cereals, fatty fish. An adult needs 60 IU of vitamin D daily.
This is required by our body as it helps in platelets formation. Green leafy vegetables are a rich source of vitamin K.
Vitamins are essential for almost all the biochemical changes taking place within our body but it can not be synthesized by our body. To fulfill the vitamin requirements of our body sometimes it becomes necessary to take vitamin supplements. It can be easily found in markets in following forms: