mineral salts

Importance of Mineral Salts and their Functions in the Human Body

The importance of mineral salts and their functions in the body cannot be over-emphasized. These group of foods are germane in the maintenance of body functions and cellular activity that a slight deficiency in their presence can result in serious health challenges for the patient.

Below are some important roles played by mineral salts in the human body.

Mineral salts are constituents of structures: Proteins are involved in the formation of structures and connective tissues and fibres with sulfur and nitrogen been the main elements. Nitrogen and phosphorus which are constituents of nucleic acid can be found in abundance in the chromosomes. Phosphorus is found in bones and cell membrane while calcium is found in the cell wall of plants, bone tissues along with phosphorus.

They act as metabolic activators: Minerals salts act as activators of enzymatic activities during metabolism. Magnesium activates enzymes involved in a phosphate metabolism while phosphorus in the form of phosphate is required in the activation of sugar prior to its breakdown by the cells during cellular respiration.

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As constituents of several chemicals: Plants obtain nitrogen, sulphur and phosphorus in the form of nitrates, sulfates and phosphates. These compounds go into the metabolic formation of protein and other forms of complex amino acids macromolecules. Phosphorus is found in ATP( adenosine triphosphate) while iodine is found in the thyroid hormone known as thyroxin.

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Minerals salts are constituents of enzymes: Enzymes are composed of various elements in form of salts, ions and compounds. Enzymes are proteins and all proteins contain nitrogen as a prominent element. The enzyme catalase is involved in various enzymatic reactions and contains the element iron.

Minerals are constituents of certain biological pigments: Heamoglobin and chlorophyll are prominent biological pigments that contain a wide range of minerals elements such as iron and magnesium respectively. Iron can also be found in cytochromes which are pigments involved in energy release during cellular respiration.

They act as determinants of osmotic pressure: mineral salts along with other forms of solute act as osmotic pressure determinant in cellular structures and body fluids. The osmotic pressure in man must not be allowed to fluctuate beyond the narrow limits even as much of the human physiology is directed towards preventing this to occur.

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They determine the balance between anion and cation in cells: Potassium, sodium and chloride ions are particularly important in maintaining a balance between anion and cation especially in the nervous system where they play major roles in nerve impulses through the sensory and motor neurons and nerve fibres.

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