How to Repair Your DNA With Dietary Minerals

Get these recommended minerals to protect your genes.

July 14, 2016
fish dinner

Many of the enzymes (which are like miniature protein machines) that fight oxidative stress, repair your DNA, and reverse aging thrive on metals. That's why it's so crucial to get enough minerals from your diet.

More: Your Exercise Prescription to Restart Your DNA

It's not just in healthy enzyme production that minerals play such a key role, but also in structural skeletal support, like the main role calcium plays in your bone health. But minerals like calcium are also used extensively by other systems in the body, including the nervous system in conducting messages. Additionally, calcium plays a role in the clotting cascade that stops you from bleeding when you experience an injury like a cut. 

And these additional minerals should be a part of your DNA diet as soon as possible:


Aim for 900 micrograms per day

With rich sources being cocoa products, nuts, legumes, oysters, and whole cereal grains, copper is a key nutrient you should be adding. If your food is being sourced from nutrient-poor soil, you could be getting a lot less copper than your body needs.


Aim for 8 milligrams per day for males; 18 milligrams per day for premenopausal females

Channel your inner Popeye and nosh on this nutrient-rich, low-calorie superfood to get your necessary iron intake. 

dark chocolate

Aim for 2.3 milligrams per day for males; 1.8 milligrams per day for females

Yes, reach for nuts, dark chocolate, mussels, crabs, flaxseeds, chili powder and other manganese-rich foods, but remember not to overdo it. Make sure you're getting enough, but be aware that overdoing it can be biologically and genetically detrimental.

brazil nuts

Aim for 55 micrograms per day

Selenium is another trace mineral needed by the body, with Brazil nuts being a particularly good source. Many proteins in the body incorporate selenium in their structure. It's also used to make an enzyme called glutathione peroxidase, which helps to lower the level of oxidative stress in the body. In addition, selenium is thought to assist your cells in repairing their DNA.

But before you rush off to start supplementing your diet with extra selenium, be warned that taking too much selenium can lead to toxicity and negative health consequences. Where exactly your food comes from can also have a very big impact on the level of selenium it naturally contains. Certain parts of the United States and Canada have soils that are naturally higher in selenium than other areas in the world, such as Scandinavia and parts of China, that are deficient. This is another reason not to practice monoeating, consuming the same foods produced from the same farms year after year, even if they're local and organic.

In the case of selenium, by consistently eating the same foods grown in the same places, you can end up with a deficiency or toxicity, depending upon the amount that's naturally present in the soil where the food was grown.

salmon fillet

Aim for 40 milligrams per day

The human body can contain as much as three grams of zinc. This essential trace mineral is used by more than 300 enzymes in the body and plays an important role in maintaining a properly functioning immune system. Zinc is also important for the B cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.

The best dietary sources of zinc include fish, legumes, nuts, oysters, poultry, and red meat. Zinc is an example of a mineral that's absorbed better by the body when it's eaten along with a meal containing protein. The reverse can also happen, as less zinc is absorbed when eaten with foods that contain large amounts of fiber and phytate. So eat your zinc with protein!

Adapted from The DNA Restart

See Next