Mineral Salts

Mineral salts are important for our organism, as they contribute to the catalysis of many reactions and are essential to maintain bone, teeth, nervous cells, and vascular system health. Minerals are the co-factors of many enzymes that catalyze several biologic

Thiamine (vitamin B1)

Riboflavin (vitamin B2)

Niacin (vitamin B3)

Pantothenic

acid

(vitamin B5)

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B12

Folate

Biotin (vitamin H)

Contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism

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Contributes to normal functioning of the nervous system

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Contributes to the normal function of the heart

Contributes to the maintenance of normal mucous membranes, red blood cells, skin

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Contributes to the normal metabolisme of iron

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Contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress

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Contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue

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Contributes to the maintenance of normal vision

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Contributes to normal protein metabolisme

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Contributes to normal phychological function

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Contributes to the normal function of the immune system

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Contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity

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Contributes to normal homocysteine metabolism

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Contributes to normal amino acids synthesis

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Prevents the formation of spina bifida in newborn

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reactions (Zn, Cu, K, Mn, Fe, Ca) and are important for energy production (Mg, P, Mn), for a healthy immune system (Cu, Zn, Fe, Se), for blood cells production (Cu, Fe), as well as the hormonal system control (Fe, I, Mn, Zn). They are also important for the skeletal system (Ca, P, Mg, Zn, Mn). Like vitamins, they are essential for good physiology.

Milk contains all the minerals needed by the human organism, particularly calcium and phosphorus, present as soluble salts and as a part of colloidal casein micelles.

The total amount of calcium in an adult organism is around 1000 to 1300 grams; 99% of this quantity is located in teeth and skeleton. The remaining 1% is in blood, extracellular liquids, muscles, and other tissues. The metabolically active ionized form is fundamental for muscular contraction, vascular tone regulation, nervous impulse transmission, and trans-membrane transport. Parathormone and calcitonin maintain a normal calcium level in extracellular liquids.

Calcium intestinal absorption occurs through two different mechanisms: active transport (that can be saturated and is regulated by parathormone and vitamin D) and passive transport (occurring in the whole intestine and depending on the amount of calcium present in the intestinal lumen). Calcium absorption is facilitated if the meal contains vitamin D, lactose, milk protein, inulin, and oligosaccharides. As regards dairy products, the partial enzymatic digestion of casein releases peptides that facilitate the absorption processes. Calcium passive transport is enhanced by the formation of caseinophosphopeptides (in particular 1-25 p casein), characterized by amino acid chains that can react with calcium (-SerP-SerP-SerP-Glu-Glu). On the other hand, oxalic, phytic, and uronic acids sequester calcium and decrease its bioavailability. Absorption is directly proportional to molar food ratio Ca/P.

A poor calcium dietary intake results in decreased ionized calcium levels in plasma, causing calcium mobilization from bones and, in case of strong dietary lack, a bone mass loss that may end up in skeletal diseases. In young individuals, these situations may lead to rickets and osteomalacia, which are also characterized by vitamin D deficiency. Osteoporosis is a bone disorder associated with aging. due to an acceleration in bone loss. The risk of fracture is greater in women after menopause than in men (Institute of Medicine IOM, United States National Academies, 2011).

A number of studies propose an apparent calcium paradox: countries or populations with lower calcium intakes have a lower presence of osteoporosis. This suggests the importance of genetic and environmental factors other than calcium intake itself (Daly, 2014). The maximum bone mineral density is reached around 25 years of age. Low intakes during childhood or adolescence can increase the risk of having osteoporosis in adulthood.

To fortify milk, calcium phosphate, carbonate, or lactate is generally used. Usually phosphate and carbonate are associated with carragenine, guar, and others to delay their precipitation. Citrate, malate, gluconate, and hydroxide can be used for infant formula and follow on formula fortifications.

Table 1.3.1.2 reports a few examples of UHT milk fortification.

 
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