Mineral deficiency

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Chances are you don’t go through life incessantly wondering if you have a mineral deficiency.

But if you’re experiencing symptoms such as muscle cramps, cracks at the corner of your mouth, nausea, fatigue, or an impaired immune system, you could indeed be deficient in minerals.

And this could cause you major health problems over time.

Your body needs minerals - which are specific kinds of nutrients - in order to function as it’s designed to. It uses minerals for many different jobs, including keeping your bones, muscles, heart, and brain working properly. Minerals are also important for making enzymes and hormones.

When you can’t obtain or absorb the required amounts of minerals, your body will become deficient in them. Worse, there are numerous common reasons you can keep experiencing mineral deficiency symptoms and unless you know about them, you’ll remain mineral deficient.

I can almost hear you wondering: what keeps you deficient in minerals, thereby risking your health?

So let’s dive into 20 things that keep you short of vital minerals.

20 Things That Keep You Deficient in Minerals

a black and white picture of a periodic table with the symbols for magnesium and calcium

#1 Soil

Unless you grow all your own produce, chances are the soil your food is grown in is itself lacking in minerals. Farmers don’t put minerals we need back into the soil, especially trace minerals - the ones you need in very small amounts but are nonetheless essential for your health, such as selenium, iodine, and zinc.

#2 Antacids

Antacids block certain minerals, especially calcium, which can cause a variety of symptoms including early morning insomnia, bone loss, and tooth decay.

As well, if you’re taking antacids for heartburn or GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease), then the next point applies to you.

#3 Low Stomach Acid

Low stomach acid causes the valve at the top of your stomach to open and permits the acid to flow through and upwards - the reverse direction from what it should be and, ironically, resulting in the heartburn and GERD antacids are supposed to treat.

Low stomach acid (called HCL) will block the absorption of magnesium, zinc, calcium, iron, and other minerals. Hence you need a strong acidic stomach to pull in these minerals for use by your body. You can tell if you have low stomach acid by these signs: gas, and an inability to digest meat.

#4 Cortisol

Prednisone or other steroids can deplete your body of the critical electrolytes calcium, magnesium, and potassium, as well as the trace mineral selenium.

#5 Medication

Many different medications can deplete your minerals. One common example is diuretics, which will deplete your potassium levels. A potassium deficiency may be the most common lack, yet a standard blood test won’t pick it up. I prefer to go by its symptoms, which include muscle weakness, raised Fat Storing Hormone levels, and high blood pressure.

#6 Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills can deplete your body of magnesium and zinc, with symptoms such as muscle weakness, depression, and excessive hair loss.

#7 Coffee

Coffee in excessive amounts can deplete the essential electrolytes calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. How much is too much? I recommend no more than one cup per day, especially if you’re on a ketogenic diet, which can also deplete your electrolytes.

#8 Soda

The high amount of phosphorus in soda can deplete two of the important electrolytes: calcium and potassium, leaving you at risk of heart palpitations, muscle weakness, and weak bones and teeth.

#9 Sugar

A diet high in sugar can leave your short of the electrolytes potassium and magnesium, along with the trace minerals chromium and zinc. Deficiencies in these minerals set you up for muscle weakness, high blood pressure, raised Fat Storing Hormone levels, and impaired immune function.

#10 High Fat Storing Hormone

When your Fat Storing Hormone is chronically high, it can deplete your body of potassium and magnesium, along with the trace mineral chromium. A chromium deficiency can result in heightened anxiety or a sudden decrease in energy levels.

#11 Hyperactive Thyroid

If your thyroid is hyperactive - such as with Grave’s Disease - you can end up with a deficiency of calcium, magnesium, and the trace mineral selenium which can result in extreme fatigue and heightened risk of miscarriages.

#12 Stress

Stress activates your own natural cortisone, with a similar result as in point #4 above. It can deplete your calcium and potassium, along with essential B vitamins like B1 and B5.

a picture of a stressed-out woman clutching her head

#13 Grains

The phytic acid found in grains prevents mineral absorption. If you consume refined grains such as bread and pasta, you could end up low in potassium, calcium, and B vitamins. (This is why some of these foods are enriched with synthetic B vitamins.)

#14 Oxalates

Calcium oxalate stones in the kidneys lock up calcium in them, resulting in inadequate calcium being available for the rest of your body. It sounds counter-intuitive, but if you have a tendency to get kidney stones I suggest you consume more calcium. It will go directly to your digestive system instead of directly to your kidneys to bind with the oxalate and worsen the situation.

#15 Inadequate Vegetable Consumption

Ideally, a healthy diet with 7-10 cups of vegetables per day would provide you sufficient minerals. If you’re not eating this amount, with an emphasis on green leafy vegetables, this is one reason why you could become mineral deficient.

I know, sometimes the thought of eating so many vegetables isn’t thrilling! So if you dislike eating them, try drinking them instead.

#16 Inadequate Sea Vegetable Consumption

If you’re not consuming seaweed or sea kelp - or even seafood - you’ll become iodine deficient, which negatively affects your reproductive organs and thyroid. In fact, iodine is so important I call it the ultimate healing mineral.

#17 Pregnant

If you’re pregnant you could become mineral deficient because of the demands of the baby growing inside you. Unfortunately, prenatal vitamins don’t really address this issue. They’re synthetic, and their contents aren’t truly bio-available to your body. Instead, ensure you consume 7-10 cups daily of vegetables to get sufficient minerals. As in #15 above, try drinking your vegetables if you can’t abide the thought of eating large amounts of them.

a picture of a pregnant woman of color

#18 Vegan

Without a specific eating plan, it’s very easy to become mineral deficient as a vegan or vegetarian. Iron is especially difficult to consume enough of; thus, if you’re a vegan you could develop an iron deficiency. It’s a good idea to get blood work done by your healthcare provider at least once a year to make sure your levels are up to par.

#19 Mercury

Mercury exposure - for example, from amalgam fillings in your teeth or contaminated fish - can deplete you of the essential minerals magnesium and calcium.

#20 Lead

Lead exposure - for example, from inhaling lead dust or fumes - can result in a calcium deficiency, putting your bones and teeth at risk. Babies and young children are especially susceptible to the ravages of a calcium deficit on their growing bones and teeth.

Do You Need To Correct A Mineral Deficiency?

Reading through these 20 items, you probably noticed there is quite a bit of overlap. In other words, several things could result in the same deficiency: of magnesium, calcium, potassium, and even crucial nutrients such as vitamin A and vitamin D with their accompanying symptoms.

As I mentioned, the ideal way to ensure you get your mineral levels back to optimal levels is to eat a healthy diet - especially a sufficient amount of vegetables. As well, eliminate grains, sugar, and sodas, keep your coffee intake low and take steps to relieve the stress in your life.

These steps sound simple, and they are. Despite their simplicity, you can reap enormous benefits for your immediate and long term health by optimizing your mineral levels.

Imagine booming with energy, free from constant muscle aches, and simply reveling in your glowing health.

Are you ready to get started?

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