Facts about important dietary minerals

Vitamins & Minerals

Certain chemical elements are required for the normal healthy functioning of the body. These elements are introduced into the body through a healthy balanced diet (or supplements) and are known as minerals. Some minerals are required in large amounts (bulk minerals) or in small amounts (trace minerals).

The following table lists the most important dietary minerals for normal healthy functioning of the body. The list includes a brief description of the function of each mineral and diseases associated with mineral deficiencies. The list also includes good sources of dietary minerals and the recommended daily allowance (RDA) which is often helped by taking mineral supplements.


Mineral Function Deficiency Disease Good Sources RDA
CalciumCellular biochemistry - signalingRicketts, osteoporosismilk, butter, cheese, sardines, green leafy vegetables, citrus fruit800 milligrams
ChromiumMetabolism of sugarAdult onset diabetesyeast, black pepper, liver, wholemeal bread, beer120 micrograms
CopperComponent of important enzymesAnaemia, Menkes SyndromeGreen vegetables, fish, oysters, liver1.2 milligrams
Fluorinecomponent of tooth enamelTooth decay, osteoporosisSeafood, tea-
IodineInvolved in formation of thyroid hormonesGoitre, CretinismSeafood, table salt150 micrograms
IronAn essential component of many proteinsAnaemiaLiver, kidney, green leafy vegetables, egg yolk, fruit, potatoes14 milligrams
MagnesiumAn essential component of many enzymesIrregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, insomniaraw green leafy veg, nuts, grain300 milligrams
ManganeseAn essential cofactor of many enzymesSkeletal deformities, growth impairmentlegumes, cereals, green leafy vegetables, tea-
MolybdenumInvolved in chemical pathwaysIrritability, irregular heart beatlegumes, cereals, liver, kidney-
PhosphorusComponent of DNA, cellular energyMuscular weakness, bone pain, appetite lossmeat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, milk800 milligrams
PotassiumAbundant monovalent inorganic cation in cellsirregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, fatiguevegetables, meat, oranges, bananas, bran3.5 grams
SeleniumAntioxidantno known deficiency symptomsseafood, cereals, meat, egg yolk, garlic55 micrograms
SodiumDiverse roles including signal transductionImpaired acid-base balancetable salt< 1.6 grams
ZincComponent of many proteins including insulinImpaired wound healing, appetite loss, impaired sexual developmentmeat, grain, legumes, oysters, milk15 milligrams

Click on the following for a list of vitamins

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