There are a number of essential minerals that are important for maintaining good health but we’re still uncovering the multitude of ways in which they support the body. In this week’s Nutrition News, read about the latest studies and research that uncover how essential minerals could support even more processes than we first realised.

Calcium and magnesium offer cognitive support

A recent study from the Harbin Medical University in China suggests that calcium and magnesium supplementation could play a role in cognitive health support as the two minerals could lessen the effects of migraines.

The study, which was reported on by NutraIngredients, analysed more than 10,000 individuals from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) of America, which contained data on demographics, physical examinations, laboratory tests, diet surveys and other health-related questions. What the researchers found was that those with the highest intake of dietary calcium and magnesium were at reduced odds of getting migraines compared to the lower intake individuals.

It is thought that magnesium may have this effect on cognitive health by inhibiting neuronal overexcitation, counteracting vasospasm and reducing the formation of inflammatory mediators. It’s also thought that calcium and magnesium may work synergistically in the synthesis and release of a number of different neurotransmitters and inflammatory mediators, which helps the nervous system function and relieves nerve tension.

While the research is not conclusive as it was based on cross-sectional observational data, it shows a positive correlation that could form the base of further research into these two previously lesser explored minerals in cognitive health.

Selenium supplementation to support weight management

A recent study published by Science Daily has found the selenium supplementation could have a positive effect on weight management. Selenium is a mineral that is already known to contribute to the maintenance of normal hair and nails as well supporting the immune system but this latest research suggests that selenium could also have an effect on prolonging a healthy lifespan.

The study is based on research that suggests the restriction of dietary intake of methionine leads to an increase in lifespan, however, methionine is also an essential sulphur amino acid so the study’s authors wanted to explore whether selenium supplementation could offer the same benefits of methionine restriction without restricting it from the diet.

Senior study author Jay Johnson, Senior Scientist at OFAS, said "Here we present evidence that short-term administration of either organic or inorganic sources of selenium provides multiple health benefits”.

Vitamin D supports the immune system against respiratory infections

There have been a great number of studies to support vitamin D’s positive effect on respiratory illnesses but this latest body of research is said to be the most comprehensive yet. The study is thought to be so robust that it could have significant implications for healthcare practitioners.

NutraIngredientsUSA published an article relaying the key points of the study, which was published The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology. The research builds upon a 4-year-old meta-analysis of 25 randomised controlled trials of vitamin D supplementation for the support of the immune system against acute respiratory infections. In addition to the 25 trials, the study’s authors, who come from a variety of respected medical schools around the world, have expanded the research to include a further 18 studies and updated meta-analysis. This latest research brings the subject total of the 43 randomised and placebo-controlled studies to 49,000 participants.

The researchers found that a daily dose of 400 IU vitamin D1000 IU vitamin D was associated with a lower risk of acute respiratory infections. The study’s authors stressed that age, baseline vitamin D level and body mass index should all be considered when determining the appropriate daily dosage of vitamin D.

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Alison Astill-Smith author Alison is the Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.