Three Ways To Test Minerals

I wrapped up Season 4 of the Are You Menstrual? Podcast with a recap on each mineral deep dive that was discussed throughout the season. If you didn’t get a chance to listen to all of the mineral deep dive episodes, I hope this recap inspires you to learn more about each one and inspires you to check out the full episodes.

Calcium Deep Dive

  • What it does
    • Essential for heart health and function
    • Important for our nervous system
    • Muscle function and contraction
    • Blood clotting, cell division, maintaining pH balance
    • Bone Health
  • RDA
    • 1,000 mg daily for men and women (does not increase during pregnancy or lactation although some women may need more)
  • Functional highlight
    • Both high and low calcium can lead to osteoporosis, blood sugar imbalances, and high blood pressure.
    • One of the most common mineral imbalances I see with high calcium is high calcium on an HTMA
    • Excess calcium slows down metabolism

Magnesium Deep Dive

  • What it does
    • Important for heart function and heart cell health and healthy BP
    • Supports detoxification, especially of heavy metals and estrogen
    • Helps calm the adrenals and reduce the stress response
    • Important for nutrient balance
    • Essential for bone health – helps regulate parathyroid hormone
    • Protects our cells against excess calcium
    • Dental and mental health
  • RDA
    • Women: 310-320mg
    • Men: 400-420
  • Functional Highlights
    • We want to be mindful of someone’s sodium status before implementing magnesium. Many people are deficient in sodium from dealing with chronic stress. While magnesium supports a healthy stress response, it also lowers aldosterone, which leads to sodium retention. Low aldosterone means we retain less sodium. If someone is already deficient, this will not support their adrenal health.

Sodium Deep Dive

  • What it does
    • Helps regulate what gets into our cells (nutrients, hormones)
    • Helps maintain hydration and water balance
    • Supports nerve function
    • Needed for muscle contraction
    • Required for HCL production
    • Assists in the absorption of nutrients of water
    • Can impact heart rate and blood pressure when released during the stress response or not balanced with potassium
  • RDA
    • Less than 2,300mg per day
  • Functional Highlights
    • If we are taking in a lot of sodium and not enough potassium, water will form inside our cells into the blood in order to compensate for the increase in sodium. This leads to fluid retention and high blood pressure. Potassium intake also impacts sodium loss. The more potassium we eat, the more sodium is excreted in the urine.

Potassium Deep Dive

  • What it does
    • Important for nerve and muscle activity
    • Helps balance sodium for fluid and blood pressure balance
    • Helps transports nutrients into our cells
    • Binds to glucose and helps store it in the liver
    • Supports healthy digestion and regular bowel movements
    • Supports thyroid hormone use in the body
  • RDA
    • Women: 2,600mg a day (2,900mg a day for pregnancy and 2,800mg a day for lactation)
    • Men: 3,400mg a day
  • Functional Highlights
    • Potassium helps shuttle blood sugar inside our cells. It also helps store glycogen in the liver. Both of these help us maintain healthy blood sugar throughout the day. A potassium deficiency can lead to high blood pressure, insulin resistance, sluggish thyroid symptoms, fluid retention/salt sensitivity, muscle cramps, etc.

Zinc Deep Dive

  • What it does
    • Supports our immune system
    • Important for hair, skin, nail, and eye health
    • Supports testosterone and progesterone
    • Important for male fertility and fetal development
    • Supports melatonin production
    • Needed for thyroid hormone production
    • Protein synthesis
    • Bone integrity
    • Insulin Balance
    • Digestive Health and overall gut health
  • RDA
    • Women: 8mg a day (11mg for pregnancy and 4 mg for lactation)
    • Men: 11mg a day
  • Functional Highlights
    • Studies show that zinc deficiency can have a dramatic effect on testosterone and cause serum testosterone levels to decrease. These low zinc levels are also found to interfere with sperm production, which shows how important zinc is for male fertility. Zinc has also been shown to be more effective at resolving reflux and gastritis than prescription medications.

Iron Deep Dive

  • What it does
    • Iron has many functions in the body, but it primarily helps us transfer oxygen from the lungs to different tissues
    • Irons helps us make hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout the body to our tissues
    • Iron also helps us make myoglobin, which carries oxygen to our muscle tissues. We need enough iron for adequate muscle function.
  • RDA
    • Women: 18mg a day (27mg a day during pregnancy, 9mg a day during lactation)
    • Men: 8mg a day
  • Functional Highlights
    • We all have an iron recycling system called the reticuloendothelial system AKA the RES. This system produces 24mg of iron every 24 hours. We then store this iron in our body and use different proteins to move it throughout the body. Inflammation, pathogens, and blood loss can significantly impact our iron status.


  • What it does
    • Supports thyroid hormone activation
    • Helps recycle iodine and thyroid hormone
    • Protects the thyroid gland from inflammation
    • Precursor to glutathione, an important detoxification antioxidant
    • Protects the body from oxidative stress and inflammation
  • RDA
    • Women: 55mcg a day (60mcg for pregnancy and 70 mcg for lactation)
    • Men: 55mcg a day
  • Functional Highlights
    • Studies using vitamin E and selenium supplements have been shown to increase sperm mobility. There’s research that shows a selenium deficiency may be one of the leading causes of infertility in men because of how it impacts sperm quality and motility.

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Amanda Montalvo

Amanda Montalvo is a women's health dietitian who helps women find the root cause of hormone imbalances and regain healthy menstrual cycles.

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