Like vitamins, minerals function as co-enzymes enabling pets to quickly and accurately perform bodily functions. They are needed for the proper composition of body fluids, the formation of bone and blood and for healthy nerve function. Mineral salts found in the soil are taken up by plants and thus become part of the food chain. Unfortunately, some areas have soils deficient in certain minerals, thus requiring minerals to be added to diets.
There are two groups of Minerals:
- Macro Minerals (Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Sodium and Potassium: These are required in larger amounts.
- Trace Minerals (Zinc, Iron, Copper, Colbalt, Manganese, Selenium and Iodine): These are required in very small amounts.
Minerals are stored in bone and muscle tissue, thus, mineral toxicity can occur if large doses are given over long periods of time. Balance among the various minerals is important to make sure that they function properly with themselves and with vitamins. Calcium and Phosphorus must also be in the correct ratio to each other (usually 1.5:1 or 2:1 calcium to phosphorus). Trace mineral chelates provide better trace mineral absorption.
Once a mineral is absorbed it must be carried by the blood to cells in a form that can be utilized by the cell. There is competition among minerals for absorption and large doses of individual minerals can cause mineral deficiencies. For example, too much Zinc can deplete Copper and excessive Calcium can have a bad effect on Magnesium absorption.
Calcium: Vital in formation of strong healthy bones and teeth. Helps regulate heart beat and is important in the transmission of nerve impulses. Needed for muscle growth. Found in most grains, fruits, nuts and green vegetables.
Phosphorus: Also needed for bones and teeth, as well as muscle development and kidney functions. Phosphorus is found in grains, nuts, sunflowers, pumpkins and yeast.
NOTE: Whole grains and seeds normally contain more Phosphorus than Calcium. Without adding something to bring Calcium and Phosphorus into proper balance, deficiencies can occur. Some grains, seeds, nuts, etc. are also deficient in certain trace minerals.
- Feeding a seed diet which is not fortified and balanced may not be providing the correct vitamin/mineral balance and ratio.
- Feeding natural (home cooked or prepared) diets may not be providing the correct vitamin/mineral balance.
To help ensure the correct balance and ratio of Calcium to Phosphorus, an organic source of Calcium and Phosphorus is added to fortified diets. Whole grains and seeds usually have more Phosphorus than Calcium. (i.e. Alfalfa has more Calcium than Phosphorus). To balance the Calcium and Phosphorus, varying amounts of Calcium Carbonate or Dicalcium-Phosphate are incorporated into the fortified diets.
|Cobalt:||Helps maintain natural immune system and gastrointestinal functions. Found in seeds, nuts and grains.|
|Copper:||Aids in formation of blood and bone. Works in conjunction with Zinc and Vitamin C to maintain healthy skin, coat and feathers. Needed for nerve impulses. Copper is found in grains, seeds, nuts, soybeans, certain fruits and green leafy vegetables.|
|Iodine:||Helps metabolize excess fat. Used by the thyroid gland to produce Thyroxin which regulates the total Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR). Found in iodized salts, kelp, soybeans, greens and sesame seeds.|
|Iron:||Helps produce red blood cells and prevents anemia. Works with Vitamin B12 to keep blood levels of oxygen high so that nutrients can be transported. Essential for healthy immune system and energy. Found in eggs, fish liver, green leafy vegetables, whole grains and cereal grains.|
|Magnesium:||Vital for enzyme activity. Helps with use of calcium and potassium. Excessive amounts have been shown to cause the build up of crystalline in the urinary tract. Found in apples, rice, garlic, kelp, nuts and most grains and seeds.|
|Manganese:||Needed for protein and fat metabolism, as well as, for healthy nerves. Helps regulate blood sugar levels and for energy production, growth and reproductive functions. Works with the B-complex vitamins. Found in nuts, seeds, kelp and whole grains.|
|Potassium:||Important for healthy nervous system. Helps regulate heart functions. Is an important electrolyte and thus helps maintain proper water balance. Found in dairy foods, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Primary natural source is bananas.|
|Selenium:||A vital antioxidant. Works with Vitamin E in reproductive functions. Needed for pancreatic function. Many farm growing areas are deficient in Selenium. Thus grains, seeds and other ingredients may be Selenium deficient, which can lead to a breakdown of muscles including the heart muscle. Depending on soil conditions, it can be found in Brazil nuts, brewer’s yeast, rice, whole grains and seeds.|
|Sodium:||Needed to maintain proper water balance and blood pH. Also needed for nerve and muscle function. Found in virtually all ingredients. Sodium Chloride (SACT) is the primary source and is also the primary electrolyte.|
|Zinc:||Essential for proper growth and development of the reproductive organs. Required for protein utilization and/ or, for healthy skin, coat and feathering. Found in fish, whole grains, seeds, beans and sunflower seeds.|