According to research the most common mineral deficiencies for those with rheumatoid arthritis are calcium, magnesium, selenium and zinc. There are many factors as to why people with rheumatoid arthritis(RA) are lacking in these vital minerals some include treatments for the disease.
- Calcium: Calcium is one of the most important minerals in your diet. Dairy foods such as milk, yogurt, and cheese are rich in calcium. You can also get calcium from broccoli, kale and Chinese cabbage (Bok Choy). Seafood such as sardines and oysters are good sources of calcium as well. Some grains and fruit juices are also fortified with calcium. Calcium is stored primarily in bones and teeth. It is also important for blood clotting. Most low blood calcium levels are often a result of insufficient PTH(Parathyroid Hormone) or vitamin D rather than dietary deficiency. Vitamin D is essential in the absorption of calcium. (Click here for previous posts on vitamin D levels(and here.) Low levels of blood calcium can result in nerve and muscle impairment and long term deficiency can lead to bone loss. The recommended daily allowance of calcium for adults under the age of 50 is 1,000 mg(milligrams)/day. For adults over the age of 50 the required daily intake of calcium is 1,200 mg/day.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is necessary for maintaining muscle and nerve function. It helps to regulate blood sugar levels and promotes normal blood pressure. Magnesium is responsible for keeping the heart rhythm steady and supports a healthy immune system. It is stored in bone and is an important mineral to keep bones strong. Green vegetables, beans, peas, nuts and seeds are good sources of magnesium. Whole grains are also a good origin of magnesium. The recommended daily allowance of magnesium is 400 mg/day for males 19-30 years old and 310mg/day for females 19-30 years old. For men 31 and older 420 mg/day is necessary and women over 31 need 320mg/day.
- Selenium: Selenium is a mineral is that important to help regulate thyroid function and plays a role in the immune system. It is required in only small amounts. Selenium is incorporated into proteins that as a result become important antioxidant enzymes which prevent cellular damage from free radicals. Selenium is found in brazil nuts, tuna, cod, some meats and poultry from animals that graze on plants grown in selenium rich soils. The recommended daily intake of this mineral for adult men and women is 55 micrograms/day.
- Zinc: Zinc is an essential mineral that is available as a dietary supplement. It is also found naturally in some foods such as crab, oysters, beef and pork. Breakfast cereals are also fortified with zinc. Zinc plays a role in immune function and is important for metabolism. The body cannot store zinc so it is important to get a daily intake of this mineral. Adult men should get 11 mg/day of zinc and women need 8 mg/day.