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What are minerals? Which minerals are essential?

Trying to make sense of all the vitamin and mineral supplements on the grocery store shelves can make your head spin in circles. Manufacturers of pill, colloidal and ionic supplements may make a variety of claims about their products — many of which are not confirmed by scientific research. Keep in mind that fewer than 20 have been judged to be essential to your health.

What are Minerals?

A mineral is naturally occurring (not man-made), inorganic (does not contain hydrogen or carbon bonds), has a fixed chemical structure, and has an orderly crystalline structure.

Colloidal vs Ionic Minerals

A colloid is a mixture in which particles are suspended in a liquid or a gas. Colloidal minerals come from humic shale deposits, primarily from Emery County, Utah. After collection, the shale is crushed and placed in water so that the minerals can enter the solution. Colloidal mineral distributors stress the “naturalness” of their product and have made claims about improving conditions associated with certain diseases, a practice judged to be illegal by the FDA. In addition, some advertisements state that colloidal supplements contain 75 minerals, many of which have not been proven to be beneficial to health (such as platinum, gold, and silver).

As we become more and more health-conscious, we become more educated about our health. We have come a long way since the days of simply taking a multivitamin and we believed all our daily nutrients were achieved. Since that era, we have seen many case studies and reports about the huge difference between how our bodies are able to absorb and use these vitamins. For instance, ionic minerals are the smallest form of any substance and this kind of mineral is more bioavailable for our bodies to absorb and use compared to colloidal minerals.

A name you might be more familiar with is the word electrolytes which is any compound that yields ions when dissolved. It is important to know that these ions carry a charge and are classified as strong electrolytes, weak electrolytes, or non-electrolytes and is based on their ability to conduct electricity. The more ions that are electrolytes and, in the solution, the better the solution can conduct electricity. We know from the mountain of studies out there that our bodies need electrolytes, without them we can have serious health issues such as muscle and nerve damage, seizures and heart problems. This is just one aspect of why ionic minerals are better for us than colloidal. Please see this article for more about electrolytes and how they relate ions

Logic would tell you that finding natural sources of these minerals in their natural ionic form is critical to maintaining our health. Taking pills and synthetically made vitamins is not something that our bodies use efficiently because it is not as bioavailable as ionic forms of minerals. Meaning that it enters our circulatory system efficiently and is a subcategory of absorption which takes place in your gastrointestinal tract. 

Pill Form vs Ionic and Colloidal Form

When you take a pill, only roughly 10 to 20% of the vitamins and minerals it contains end up in your bloodstream. Meanwhile, the body will take in approximately 98% of an ionic liquid vitamin. This difference comes from how the body processes each type of vitamin. Pills must pass through your digestive tract before their nutrients are absorbed. Ionic vitamins come in liquid form and when placed under your tongue, the tissue found there immediately processes the vitamins into your bloodstream, bypassing all digestive processes. The Physician’s Desk Reference states that up to 90% of the nutrients in liquid supplements are absorbed within 22 to 30 seconds. Based on absorption alone colloidal and ionic form of minerals are superior to any pill form.

So where are good sources for ionic minerals? You do not have to look much further than your kitchen sink. Hard water is a fantastic resource for ionic calcium and magnesium. Unfortunately, people don’t realize when they use a water softener, they are removing this healthy source of calcium and magnesium and replacing them with sodium. For a list of natural essential mineral sources please see

Which minerals are essential and why?


An important component for proper fluid balance, hearing, equilibrium, nerve transmission, and muscle contraction.


Needed for proper fluid balance, plays an important role in maintaining the pH levels of the fluid in your body.


One of the most important minerals for our bodies. It is critical for proper fluid balance, nerve transmission, and muscle contraction.


Critically important for healthy bones and teeth; important in nerve functioning, blood clotting, blood pressure regulation, immune system health.


Helps manage how your body stores and uses energy, key role in filtering out waste in your kidneys. Helps grow, maintain, and repair tissue and cells. Every cell in your body contains phosphorus.


Found in bones; needed for making protein, muscle contraction, nerve transmission, and immune system health.


Found in protein molecules and is important for skin health.

Trace minerals (microminerals)


Part of a molecule (hemoglobin) and is found in red blood cells that carry oxygen to organs in the body.


An important component for making protein and genetic material; and is key for immune system health.


Found in the thyroid hormone, which helps regulate our metabolism.


Antioxidant which protects us from free radicals.


Helps our bodies metabolize iron.


Helps regulate blood sugar, improves bone health, and is an antioxidant.


Prevent tooth decay and promotes bone growth.


Helps regulate blood sugar levels. Enhances our ability to metabolize protein, carbohydrates, and lipids.


Helps enzymes breakdown toxins in our bodies.


Part of the B12 vitamin and is essential for healthy red blood cell formation and neurological health.


Is essential for making our bones strong.

Calcium, Magnesium and Water Conditioning Systems

A commonly overlooked source of calcium and magnesium comes right from your tap – water. In many parts of the US, residential homes receive water from sources with high calcium and magnesium content. This type of water is referred to as hard water. Hard water is normally considered a nuisance and many people soften their water by use of salt-based water softeners. These water softeners replace the calcium and magnesium in the water with salt which can unnecessarily increase your body's natural sodium levels.

In recent years, innovative technologies have been developed in order to provide healthier alternatives to water softening systems while keeping the calcium and magnesium in its ionic form. The easiest way to achieve this is to use a water conditioning device like HydroFLOW.

For more information on water conditioning systems please read our eco-friendly water treatment options blog here.