Are my mineral levels out of whack?

Are my mineral levels out of whack?

Margie GanderMay 10, '21

Being deficient in certain micronutrients & minerals has been called "the hidden hunger". This can result in your body being malnourished, sometimes without you even knowing! This imbalance may very well be the missing piece to your health puzzle and why you don't feel optimal. 

When your daily diet consists of foods that lack the necessary levels of micronutrients and minerals, you may not even notice. Many of my clients just complain that they feel “a little off” and lack energy. This picture can be made worse if you carry genetic variations that interfere with the enzymes that require these micronutrients and minerals as cofactors to function. 

Micronutrient and mineral malnutrition has been associated with a wide range of physiological impairments, including metabolic disorders; reduced immune, hormone and cognitive function. 

Minerals are the "spark plugs" in your body. They help to activate thousands of chemical reactions that need to occur in your body daily. If they are missing, there is nothing to trigger the reactions needed for your body to function. In some cases, they are more important than vitamins because, without them, the enzymes can’t be activated that are needed to control all these chemical reactions that take place in your body.

Enzymes & minerals

Enzymes are encoded for by protein-encoding genes. These enzymes give the instructions that drive your entire biochemistry but need cofactors from your diet or supplements  to create the reaction or change. 

Minerals create and build enzymes and act as enzyme activators. All cells require enzymes to work properly. Each function in the body has specific binding sites (enzyme binding receptor site) for enzymes to do their job. One to two minerals and their vitamin co-factors are present at the site to help them function and complete the job.  

It is critical it is to know your mineral balance. Obtaining the right amount of minerals in the body is a foundation imperative to optimum health. Vitamins act in synergy with minerals as co-enzymes, therefore mineral imbalances will also have correlating vitamin imbalances. This disequilibrium deep in your biochemistry can be the beginning point of many chronic diseases. 

Mineral to Mineral Interactions

“Mineral wheels” are a great way to illustrate  the interactions of minerals with each other. These interactions are either:

  • Synergistic-minerals that work with each other (arrows aimed at each other), or

  • Antagonistic-minerals which work against each other (arrows aimed away from each other). An example of this is that magnesium works to keep one’s calcium level from going too high.

What are the key minerals for health?

Minerals comprise about 4% of your body. Humans do not produce minerals; therefore, we must obtain them through our food. Out of the 103 known minerals, at least 18 are necessary for good health. 
It is important to know your minerals so that you can assess whether you are getting enough from your diet. Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the most important of these: 

  • bone mineralisation
  • adipocyte function
The recommended upper limit for calcium is 2,500 mg a day for adults 19 to 50. For those 51 and older, the limit is 2,000 mg a day.
  • connection tissue
  • iron metabolism
  • heart function
  • immune health
  • neurotransmitters


2.6mg/day is the most appropriate intake level for adults to decrease the risk of deficiency while simultaneously avoiding symptoms of copper overload 
  • neurotransmitter function
  • a cofactor for 300 enzymes
  • muscle function
  • oxidative phosphorylation
  • energy production 
310–420 mg for adults depending on age and gender. If you require a supplement, dosage recommendations can vary depending on your needs, such as to improve constipation, sleep, muscle cramps, or depression. Most studies found positive effects with daily doses of 125–2500 mg.
  • water & electrolyte balance
  • muscles & nerves/neurotransmission
less than 500mg daily.
  • nutrient transportation
  • heart health
  • neurotransmitters
3,500–4,700 mg daily for adults.
  • red blood cells
  •  transporting O2 & CO2

The recommended dietary intake of iron: 8mg/day (males) and 18mg/day (females)

  • connective tissue
  • bones
  • blood clotting factors
  • sex hormones.
  • It also plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism
  • calcium absorption
  • blood sugar regulation
  • brain and nerve 
1000 -2600 mg daily.
  • methylation
  • detoxification
  • immune health 
15 mg daily. 
  • metabolism of fats & carbs
  • insulin response
  • blood sugar balancing
200 -1000 mg daily.
  • antioxidant enzyme function
  • thyroid function 
55mcg daily.
  • growth, maintenance, and repair of all tissues and cells, and for the production of the genetic building blocks, DNA and RNA
  • balance and use other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, iodine, magnesium, and zinc
700 -1250 mg daily.
  • protein synthesis
  • activates enzymes that help break down harmful sulfites and prevent toxins from building up in the body.
45ug daily. 
  • mood regulation
  • neurotransmitter balance
  • B12 transport
  • modulates stress & inflammation
low dose of 5-300mg daily


Diseases linked to mineral imbalances

You may not think that your current health challenge emanates from a mineral imbalance but the following can be rooted in mineral excess, deficiencies and incorrect mineral ratios: 

  • anemia
  • goitre/thyroid nodular disease
  • cardiovascular disease
  • cancers
  • thyroid diseases 
  • adrenal stress
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • osteopenia 
  • mood disorders
  • muscles problems
  • depression
  • brain fog
  • weight gain or resistance
  • insulin resistance
  • low energy
  • poor sleep
  • concentration problems
  • bad cholesterol levels
  • poor detox
  • frequent illnesses/flu
  • joint problems

Genes that encode for enzymes that use minerals as cofactors

The following genes use both micronutrient and minerals as cofactors. Here we look at the mineral cofactors only. Knowing where you carry a medium to high impact genetic variation in these genes will empower you to look more carefully at minerals in your diet and supplement protocol. 

mnSOD | SOD2 Antioxidant function. Manganese 
MAO Neurotransmitter balance.


Lithium balances if there is too much serotonin 

DAO Clearance of histamines.  Copper

Antioxidant HDL-linked & inflammation

DBP Vitamin D transport.
  • Calcium 
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
VDR Regulates calcium uptake in the GUT. Variants can affect calcium uptake. 
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium 
TIMP4  Joint health. Calcium

Emotional "roller coaster" & stress coping


Magnesium to downregulate

Lithium blocks the calcium channel


Dopamine & nor/adrenaline breakdown.

Magnesium to upregulate 

Cortisol production, sensitivity and depression.


Magnesium and calcium increase the binding of serotonin to the 5HT1A receptors.

  • Magnesium & calcium
  • Manganese upregulates. 
  • Lithium increases.

Stress response via oxytocin ('love hormone'), empathy, and separation anxiety.

Magnesium is also able to bind to and activate GABA receptors.

Magnesium requirements and production of S-Adenosyl-Methionine (SAMe). 



GSTM1 Oxidative stress and glutathione conjugation. 



Low phosphate absorption can cause problems with teeth and bones). Low magnesium levels may play a role in higher TNF-alpha levels and should be supplemented if dietary intake is insufficient
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus 




Blood pressure controls. 
  • Decrease sodium
  • Increase potassium

Bipolar disorder and mood swings via the regulation of sodium channels in neurons.

Balance of sodium ion channel critical

sodium-dependent serotonin transporter.


Methylation, vitamin B6 & B12 requirements and homocysteine metabolism.

High potassium can lead to B12 deficiency.

Lithium plays a role in B12 transport.


Widening & formation of new blood vessels.


Oxidative stress and detoxification of hydrogen peroxide (from stress response). 

Elevated or deficient iron can suppress GPX1 function. Too high Zinc can do the same.



Iron deficiency, feeding behaviours, restless legs syndrome, inflammation, and decreased exercise capacity. 

Key regulator of iron in the body. 

Critical to ensure correct iron levels. 

Iron Metabolism, in the presence of the mutation, iron accumulation may occur or haemochromatosis, inflammation, liver cirrhosis & fatigue.

Critical to ensure correct iron levels. 

Pro-inflammatory cytokine affecting epithelial health.


Risk of high homocysteine levels, zinc and betaine requirements.


Methylation is the mechanism used by cells to control gene expression, replenishes compounds needed for detoxification and helps maintain a stable mood.


Free radical cleanup in mitochondria. 

FOXE1 Thyroid gland health.  Selenium 

Thyroid hormone metabolism.


The acetylation pathway metabolises numerous toxins.


Sulfur metabolism


Estradiol & estrone metabolite degradation

Lithium response

Low grade chronic inflammation.

Lithium downregulates

Pro- & anti-inflammatory properties & Regulates the immune response.



You can test the above genes by ordering the GENE-COMBO test online. Knowing your genotype in these genes will help you to determine which mineral cofactors you need to increase in your diet & supplementation. 

How do I know that my mineral levels are imbalanced? 

Providing a "mineral blueprint" of your mineral biochemistry is an excellent tool for optimising your health and preventing disease. A HTMA (hair/tissue mineral analysis) test can provide critical information about your metabolic rate, energy levels, sugar and carbohydrate tolerance, stage of adrenal stress, immune system and glandular activity. This test gives you key insights into mineral ratios, helping you to determine the impact of dominant synergistic and antagonistic mineral relationships. 

A hair sample reflects metabolic activity over the course of about three months, so the test results are not influenced by day-to-day variations in body chemistry due to stress, diet or other factors.

To take the guesswork out of your mineral choices, you can order the HTMA test online here:





To make choosing mineral supplements easier, we have curated a MINERAL SHOP for you. 

I just love this quote as it makes us realise how without the correct levels and ratios of minerals in our bodies we really are setting ourselves up for disease: 

There's a new science out called orthomolecular medicine. You correct the chemical imbalance with amino acids and vitamins and minerals that are naturally in the body. - Margot Kidder

You are really in charge of your health, and now you have access to the right tools to help you achieve that. This is true personalisation and what you deserve! 

Marguerite Doig-Gander

Founder of MY DNA CHOICES | BA (Speech, Hearing & Lang Therapy) Hons | FMCHC | ReCODE Coach | Men's Health |  Harvard T.H.Chan Certification in Nutrition | Harvard Medical School Fundamentals in Genetics | Immunology   

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