Mineral Toxicity

What is Mineral Toxicity?

The term mineral toxicity refers to a condition during which the concentration within the body of anybody of the minerals necessary for all times is abnormally high, and which has an adverse effect on health. The mineral nutrients are defined as all the inorganic elements or inorganic molecules that are required for all times. As far as human nutrition sustenances, the inorganic nutrients comprise water, sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, phosphate, sulfate, magnesium, iron, fluorine, copper, zinc, chromium, manganese, iodine, selenium, and molybdenum. The last nine elements in this list are sometimes called trace minerals or micronutrients because humans need only small amounts of them in the diet. In high doses, all nine trace minerals are often toxic in humans.


Causes and Symptoms

The causes and symptoms of mineral toxicity depend upon the precise mineral in question:

  • Sodium - A rise in sodium concentration within the bloodstream is often toxic. The normal concentration of sodium in human plasma is 136–145 mM, while levels over 152 mM may result in seizures and death. Increased plasma sodium, which is named hypernatremia, causes the cells in various body tissues, including those of the brain, to shrink. Shrinkage of the brain cells leads to confusion, coma, paralysis of the lung muscles, and death. Death has occurred when salt (sodium chloride) accidentally wants to feed infants rather than sugar. Death thanks to sodium toxicity has also resulted when bicarbonate of soda (sodium bicarbonate) was wont to treat excessive diarrhea or vomiting. Although the spread of processed foods contains high levels of common salt, the amount in these things isn’t enough to end in sodium toxicity.

  • Potassium - The traditional level of potassium within the bloodstream is within the range of three .5–5.0 mM, while levels of 6.3–8.0 mM (severe hyperkalemia) end in cardiac arrhythmias or maybe death due to cardiac arrest. Potassium is potentially quite toxic; however, potassium poisoning is typically prevented due to the vomiting reflex. The consumption of food leads to mild increases within the concentration of potassium within the bloodstream, but these levels of potassium don't become toxic due to the uptake of potassium by various cells of the body as well as by the action of the kidneys transferring the potassium ions from the blood to the urine.

  • Iodine - Iodine toxicity can result from an intake of 2.0 mg of iodide per day. Toxic levels of iodine inhibit the secretion of the hormone, leading to lower levels of the hormone within the bloodstream. As a result, the thyroid gland becomes enlarged. This condition is known as goiter or hyperthyroidism. Goiter is usually caused by iodine deficiency. In addition to goiter, iodine toxicity produces a brassy taste in the mouth, excessive production of saliva, and ulcers on the skin. This skin condition has been called kelp acne due to its association with eating kelp, an ocean plant that contains high levels of iodine. Iodine toxicity exists fairly repeatedly in Japan, where people consume huge quantities of seaweed.

  • Nitrite - Nitrite poisoning should be deemed iron toxicity since nitrite produces its toxic impact by reacting with the iron atom in hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is an iron-containing protein that resides within the red blood cells. This protein is liable for transporting nearly all of the oxygen acquired from the lungs to varied tissues and organs of the body. Hemoglobin accounts for the red color of red blood cells. Per day hemoglobin spontaneously oxidizes in a very small fraction, producing a protein of a rather different structure called methemoglobin. Normally, the quantity of methemoglobin constitutes but 1 percent of the entire hemoglobin. Methemoglobin can accumulate within the blood as a result of nitrate poisoning. Infants are especially susceptible to poisoning by nitrite.


Did You Know?

An increase in the concentrations of sodium in the bloodstream can be toxic. The normal concentration of sodium within the plasma is 136 - 145 mM, while levels over 152 mM may result in seizures and death. Increased plasma sodium, which is named hypernatremia, causes various cells of the body, including those of the brain, to shrink. Shrinkage of the brain cells leads to confusion, coma, paralysis of the lung muscles, and death. Death has occurred where salt (sodium chloride) was accidentally used, rather than sugar, for feeding infants. Death thanks to sodium toxicity has also resulted when bicarbonate of soda (sodium bicarbonate) was used during attempted therapy of excessive diarrhea or vomiting. Although the spread of processed foods contains high levels of common salt, the amount used isn’t enough to end in sodium toxicity.


Potassium is potentially quite toxic, however toxicity or death thanks to potassium poisoning is typically prevented due to the vomiting reflex.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How is Mineral Toxicity Prevented?

Ans. When mineral toxicity results from the exaggerated consumption of mineral supplements, toxicity can be deterred by minimizing the use of dietary supplements and keeping iron tablets in specific out of the reach of kids. Zinc toxicity may be prevented by not storing food or beverages in zinc containers. In the case of iodine, toxicity can be prevented by avoiding extra consumption of seaweed or kelp. In the case of selenium toxicity arising from high-selenium soils, toxicity can be curbed by relying on food and water obtained from a low-selenium region. Such genetic disorders as Wilson's disease and Menkes disease cannot be avoided as of the early 2000s.

2. What Should be Parental Concerns About Mineral Toxicity?

Ans. Parental concerns regarding the mineral toxicity in kids must be enacted towards deterring accidental consumption of iron and other mineral supplements in adolescent kids and in regulating the adoption of fad diets in teenagers. In the case of children who have hemochromatosis or Wilson's disease, parents will need to make sure that the affected child complies with all the aspects of necessary treatment. In the case of a child with Menkes disease, parents should seek genetic counseling, as the grim prognosis of this illness places a heavy emotional as well as an economic burden on a family.