Minerals : Full details about the major and minor minerals, sources, function, deficiency related information and role of minerals in the body.

Minerals : Full details about the major and minor minerals, sources, function, deficiency related information and role of minerals in the body.

This post include  information about Minerals : Full details about the major and minor minerals, sources, function, deficiency related information and role of minerals in the body. 

Minerals : Full details about the major and minor minerals, sources, function, deficiency related information and role of minerals in the body

                   WHAT IS MINERALS?

                                                                   The nature of minerals
Our body require minerals elements for variety of functions. They are also known as micro nutrients. Vitamins which are organic substances and minerals are inorganic and are found in rocks and salt. Vegetables absorb minerals as they grow and animals digest through their diet.
Dietary minerals   are the chemical elements required by living organisms, other than the four elements  carbon,  hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen that are present in nearly all organic molecules.
Approximately 4% of the body’s mass consists of 22 mostly metallic elements collectively called minerals.
Minerals serve as constituents of enzymes, hormones and vitamins, they combine with other chemicals (example calcium phosphate in bone, iron in the heme of haemoglobin) or exist singularly (free calcium and sodium in body fluids)

Two group of minerals are:-

  1. Trace minerals are iron, zinc and iodine.
  2. Major minerals are sodium, potassium, calcium, and phosphorous.
The minerals essential to life include  seven  major minerals(required in amount  100 mg daily)  and 14  minor  or trace minerals (required in amount  100 mg ).
 Trace minerals account for less than 15 g(approximately 0.5 oz) or 0.02% of the total body mass. Excess mineral intake the serves no useful physiologic purpose and can produce toxic effects.
 Some dietitians recommend that these can be supplied from foods in which they occur naturally or at least as complex compounds, or sometimes even from natural inorganic sources.
Some minerals are absorbed much more readily in the ionic forms found in such sources. On the other hand, minerals are often artificially added to the diet as Supplements; the most famous is Likely iodized salt which prevents goiter.
 Sources and function of minerals
 Most minerals, major or trace, occur freely in nature-mainly in the water of rivers, lakes, and oceans; in topsoil; and beneath the earth’s surface.  Minerals exist in the root systems of plants and the body structure of animals that consume plants and water containing minerals.
image from pixabay.

 Role of minerals in the body

Minerals serve  broad roles in the body:
  • Provide structure in forming bones and teeth.
  • Help to maintain normal function (e.g., heart rhythm, muscle contractility, neutral conductivity, and acid -base balance).
  • Regulate metabolism by becoming constituents of enzymes and hormones that modulate cellular activity.
  • Minerals activate reactions that release energy during carbohydrates, fat and protein metabolism.
  • They participate in the biosynthesis of nutrients-(glycogen from glucose, proteins from amino acids, triacyiglycerol from fatty acids and glycerol)
  • Lack of one or essential minerals can disrupt the fine balance b/w catabolism and anabolism.
  • Minerals also form important constituents of hormones. E.g. inadequate thyroxin production from iodine insufficiency slows the body’s resting metabolism. In extreme cases, this could predispose a person to develop obesity.
  • Control of body processes mainly nervous system.
  • Form part of body fluid and cells
The important major and minor minerals for health and their sources, function, deficiencies and excess affect on our body.
 1. Iron
Sources: Red meat, kidney, liver, eggs, bread, green leafy vegetables.
Function- constituents of hemoglobin and enzymes involved in energy metabolism.
Functions: Production of hemoglobin in red blood cells to carry oxygen in the blood.
Deficiency: Anemia, weakness, reduced resistance to infection.
Excess- cirrhosis of liver.
2. Calcium

Source – Milk, cheese, dark green vegetables, dried legumes.
Function – Blood clotting, nerve transmission, bone and teeth formation.
Deficiency– Stunted growth, rickets, osteoporosis, convulsions.
Excess- Not reported in human.
3. Phosphorous
Source – Milk, cheese, yogurt, meat, fish, food rich in calcium.
Function– Bone and tooth formation, acid and base balance, helps prevent loss of calcium from bone.
Deficiency– Weakness, demineralization, depression.
Excess-Erosion of jaw.
4. Potassium 
Source – leafy vegetables, banana, milk, meats, coffee, turnips.
Function– Fluid balance, nerve transmission, acid base balance, building  of muscle and for normal growth.
Deficiency- Muscles cramps, irregular cardiac rhythm, mental confusion, loss of appetite; can be life threatening.
Excess- None if kidney function properly, poor kidney function causes potassium buildup and cardiac arrhythmias.
5. Sodium
Source- Common salt, cheese, fish, processed food.
Function- Maintains water balance in body, nerve function, and control body temperature.
Deficiency– Muscle cramps, mental apathy, reduced appetite.
Excess – Contributes to high blood pressure.
6. Chlorine
Source –  Chloride part of salt containing food, some vegetables and fruits.
Function– Important part of extra – cellular fluids.
Deficiency – Unlikely to occur with adequate dietary intake.
Excess- Contributes to high blood pressure.
7. Magnesium
Source- Whole grain, green leafy vegetables.
Function– Activates the enzymes involved in protein synthesis.
Deficiency– Growth failure, behavioral disturbances.
Excess- Diarrhea.
8. Copper
 Source – Meats, drinking water,
 Function-Constituent of enzymes association with iron metabolism.
 Excess- Rare metabolism condition (Wilson’s disease).
 9. Zinc
Source– Eggs, lean meats, legumes, grains, green leafy vegetables.
Function- Constituent of enzymes involved in digestion, aid the immune system, needed for the smell and taste.
Deficiency- Growth failure, small sex glands, dries skin.
Excess- Fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
10. Iodine
iodine - minerals

Source- Marine fish and shell fish, dairy products, vegetables, iodized salt.
Function– Thyroid glands function and body metabolism.
Deficiency- Goiter (enlarged thyroid)
Excess- High intake depress thyroid activity.
11. Chromium
Source- Legumes, cereals, vegetables, meats, whole grains.
Function– Constituent of some enzymes involved in glucose and energy metabolism.
Deficiency- Not reported in humans, impaired ability to metabolize glucose.
Excess- Inhibition of enzymes, Occupational exposures, skin and kidney damage.
12. Selenium
Source– Seafood, meats, grains.
Function– Function in close associated with vitamin E.
Deficiency– Anemia(rare)
Excess- Gastrointestinal disorders, lung irritations.

Minerals and exercise performance
 Consuming minerals supplements above recommended levels does not benefit exercise performance or enhance training responsiveness.
 Excessive sweating during exercise produces a considerable loss of body water and related minerals. These both should be not replaced during and following exercise.
 Sweat loss during exercise usually dose not increase the mineral requirement above recommended values.

 Mineral bio availability

 Body varies considerably in its capacity to absorb and use the minerals in the body.
E.g. Spinach contains considerable calcium but only 5% becomes bio available (absorb factors affecting mineral bio availability includes:  type of  food: the small intestine readily absorbs minerals contained in animal products because they do not contain plant binders and dietary fibers that hinder digestion and absorption. With the exception of magnesium, foods from the animal kingdom generally have higher mineral concentration.
Mineral-Mineral interaction:
Minerals with same molecule wt. compete for intestinal absorption. Therefore, consuming one mineral in excess may retard another mineral’s absorption.
Vitamin-Mineral interaction:
Vitamins also affect mineral bio availability. E.g.: vitamin D facilitates calcium absorption, while vitamin C improves intestinal absorption of iron.
Fiber-Mineral absorption:
high fiber blunts the absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus by binding to them so they pass unabsorbed through the digestive tract.
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