Different Kinds Of Minerals Needed For The Body

Different Kinds Of Minerals Needed For The Body

Among all the minerals, gold, platinum, and silver are getting the most attention. It is not surprising as they are the most precious metals around.

You must realize that these are precious only in the global economy compared to human health. There are other minerals and metals that are important for our health. These are so important that we can’t live without them.

Each of the minerals plays a major role in hundreds of our body functions.

It might take a small quantity of minerals to make our body fit, but too little or too much will disturb the whole (delicate) balance of our body.

Body Minerals – Making Sure Your Diet Achieves Recommended Mineral Target

There is no doubt that minerals play a great role in keeping your body healthy and fit. The use of minerals by your body varies and for various kinds of jobs too. Some of them are keeping your muscles, bones, brain and heart in proper condition. Minerals also play a great role in creating hormones and enzymes.

Are There Different Categories of Minerals?

There are two major kinds of minerals – trace minerals and macrominerals. You should be having a larger amount of macrominerals. Some of the major macro minerals are magnesium, phosphorus, chloride, potassium, sodium, sulfur, etc. Regarding trace minerals, you only need them in small amounts like copper, manganese, iron, zinc, iodine, selenium, fluoride, etc.

People get most of the minerals by consuming various kinds of foods. Well, in certain cases, minerals might be recommended as supplements by doctors. Individuals suffering from certain health problems or diseases might take minerals as medicines.

For example, people who are suffering from chronic kidney diseases might have to take minerals. They might even have to limit the consumption of minerals like potassium.

Major Groups of Essential Minerals

Now, most of the essential minerals necessary for the human body are classified into two major groups, which are discussed above – major minerals and trace minerals.

As stated above major minerals are commonly used and stored in huge quantities in our body like potassium, chloride, calcium, etc. While the trace minerals are very much vital to our health like the major minerals, however, their requirement is not needed in a large amount. Some of the examples of these minerals are copper, fluoride, iron, etc.

Where Do We Get the Required Minerals?

Essential minerals are not manufactured by our bodies. So, how do we get them? It is through our diet. Minerals are available from soil, rock, and water which gets absorbed by plants or animals or when animals eat plants.

Fresh foods are not the only source of dietary minerals. Some processed foods like cereals, breakfast can be fortified with minerals.

If you go to any drugstore or just look online, you might see the endless options for mineral supplements in the form of powders, pills, and chewable tablets.

Minerals Are Easy to Obtain

Physicians and dieticians state that if you are eating a healthy diet that is filled with a variety of beans, vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, dairy products, as well as unsaturated fats like olive oil, you are consuming all the required minerals that you require. Here you wouldn’t need to pay any kind of attention to their daily intake.

Dieticians recommend that the adequate intake of manganese is roughly about 1.8 milligram (mg) each day for women and for men it is about 2.3 mg per day.

You can easily meet these goals with just a half cup of cooked spinach (0.84 mg of manganese), half a cup of cooked brown rice (1.07 mg manganese) and a little ounce of almonds (which is somewhere around 0.65 mg manganese). This is the same for various dietary minerals like copper, chromium, sodium, molybdenum, and zinc.

A healthy diet filled with required veggies is enough for covering all your required needs of minerals.

Not Easy to Get Required Minerals

One of the major reasons why people might not get the required amount of minerals might be due to the lack of availability. Certain minerals are hard to get especially in the right amount.

For example, minerals like –

  • Calcium: The deficiency of calcium is mostly found in older adults and that too among women and people who consume fewer dairy products. Lack of calcium will lead to the risk of getting brittle bones and even fracture.
  • Iron: During the menstrual period, women lose a lot of iron through the blood. So, they end up getting an iron deficit. Another major cause for the deficiency of iron is a lesser-known fact.

People who are obese especially the premenopausal women have a high risk of getting iron deficiency. This might be since severe obesity is commonly associated with low-level inflammation. And this will lower the iron absorption and its usage by our body.

As per most doctors and physicians, a low level of iron will lead to the iron-deficiency called anemia. If you are suffering from anemia, you might end up having less red blood cells and they will be too small. So, this might make it harder for the blood to carry oxygen to various organs.

  • Magnesium: There are certain drugs like diuretics that are used for treating blood pressure. This drug might cause you to excrete magnesium in your urine. In addition, magnesium is lacking among people suffering from a disease like diarrhoea.
  • Potassium: On average, most adults take only half to three-quarters of potassium. Low potassium and high sodium diet will contribute to getting high blood pressure.

Different Microminerals And Their Source

The following are some of the major microminerals that are necessary for being healthy and living a long life –

  • Sodium: The human body requires sodium for nerve transmission, proper fluid balance, and muscle contraction. You can get your daily sodium from soy sauce, table salt, and large amounts of processed foods. Also, you get them in small amounts from bread, milk, unprocessed meats and vegetables.
  • Chloride: Chloride helps in maintaining proper fluid balance as well as stomach acid. You get the perfect source of chloride from soy sauce, table salt, as well as from many processed foods. You might get them in small amounts from other food products like vegetables, milk, bread, meat, etc.
  • Potassium: Our body requires potassium to get proper fluid balance, muscle contraction, and nerve transmission. It is found in food products like milk, meat, fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains.
  • Calcium: As you know calcium is necessary for healthy teeth and bones. It also helps the muscles to relax and contract. Calcium plays a great role in blood clotting, nerve functioning, immune system health, and blood pressure regulations, etc.

    You get a good amount of calcium from milk and milk products. Also, canned fish with bones (like sardines and salmon), fortified soymilk, fortified tofu, green veggies (like mustard greens and broccoli), and legumes are rich in calcium.

  • Phosphorus: Do you know like calcium, phosphorus is necessary for healthy teeth and bones? It is found in every cell of the human body and helps in maintaining the acid-base balance of our body. Phosphorus is mostly found in fish, meat, eggs, poultry, processed food, and milk.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium is commonly found in human bones. It is required for making muscle contraction, protein, nerve transmission, and immune system health. The best source of magnesium is found in seeds and nuts, leafy, legumes, green veggies, chocolate, seafood, artichokes, and hard-drinking water.
  • Sulphur: This is mostly found in the protein molecules of our body. You get sulphur from various food items like poultry, meat, egg, fish, legumes, milk, and nuts.

Different Trace Minerals and Their Sources

Regarding trace minerals, you need them only in small amounts. Here one important thing to note down is that iron is considered as a trace mineral even though the amount of iron required is more than other microminerals.

  • Iron: The molecule hemoglobin which is found in the red blood cells carrying oxygen in our body will need iron for energy metabolism. You get iron from day-to-day foodstuffs like red meat, organ meat, poultry, fish, shellfish like clams, legumes, egg yolks, dark and leafy veggies, dried fruits, cereals, iron-filled breads, and fortified cereals.
  • Zinc: Zinc is required in various enzymes, especially the ones that make genetic materials and proteins. Also, it plays a major role in the taste perception, healing of the wound, normal fetal development, normal growth, production of sperm, immune system health and sexual maturation. Zinc is commonly found in fish, poultry, meats, vegetables, leavened whole grains.
  • Iodine: Iodine is used in the thyroid hormone. It helps to regulate the development, growth of the human body as well as metabolism. You get a good amount of iodine from seafood, iodized salt, food grown in iodine-rich soil, bread, and dairy products.
  • Selenium: This is useful for producing antioxidants. It is commonly found in grains, seafood, and meat.
  • Copper: In the human body, copper plays a major role in the enzyme’s function. Also, it is required for iron metabolism. You get a good amount of iron from nuts and seeds, legumes, organ meats, whole grains, and drinking water.
  • Manganese: Like copper, this is required in various enzymes. It is commonly found in various plant foods.
  • Fluoride: Fluoride is used for the formation of teeth and bones. It even helps in preventing tooth decay. You get a good amount of fluoride from drinking water which is either naturally containing fluoride or fluoridated, teas and fish.
  • Chromium: This mineral works closely with insulin regulating blood sugar (glucose) levels. It is mostly found in unrefined foodstuffs like liver, whole grains, cheese, nuts, etc.
  • Molybdenum: You need molybdenum for the functioning of enzymes. It is often present in various foodstuffs like bread, grains, legumes, leafy, green veggies, liver, milk, etc. There are other traces of nutrients that you would need in small amounts like nickel, vanadium, silicon, and cobalt.

Do You Think Diet Is Enough for Getting Necessary Minerals?

Regarding essential minerals, these are more potent when it is related to food. However, if you are having any kind of deficiencies, it might be better if you take supplements. You need to be cautious in this scenario. Ingesting a lot of mineral supplements will be harmful.

Physicians state that if you get a lot of iron supplements, you might overwhelm the ability of your body to produce iron. So, it might lead to creating oxidants free radicals, which will increase liver disease and heart disease.

Another issue is with the calcium supplement consumption in your daily diet. This is commonly linked with kidney stones and even possible cardiovascular disease. It is recommended you get calcium from foodstuffs. Just consume low dosage of calcium supplement to just reach to your goals.

For making sure that your body is absorbing the required amount of calcium, add some amount of vitamin D supplement in between 600 and 800 international units.

Lack of Minerals – Can Be Dangerous

A mineral deficiency will happen when the body is not able to absorb or get the required amount of minerals. A human body needs various amounts of each mineral for staying healthy. You can easily see the specific requirements in the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowances) provided by doctors.

  • The deficiency of calcium will lead to decreasing bone mineral density, which is called osteopenia. If untreated it will lead to osteoporosis. The symptoms will be numbness, cramping of the muscles, fatigue, tingling in the fingers, poor appetite, etc.
  • Iron deficiency will lead to anemia. The symptoms are becoming weak as well as tired. In children, it will lead to slow social as well as cognitive development.
  • The deficiency of magnesium will lead to urinary infection. Some of the signs of magnesium deficiency are weakness, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, etc.
  • Potassium deficiency will lead to excessive fluid loss. The symptoms are kidney diseases, vomiting, etc.

Wrapping Up

There is no doubt that minerals play a major role in making your body fit and healthy. So, if you really want to know more about the various minerals needed or suffer from any kind of mineral deficiency, contact your doctor and get the required treatment.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.

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