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General Information, Facts & Tables
[Minerals]

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Overview

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The table below lists the common minerals and their properties.
 

Minerals

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Nutrient

RDA

Significant
Sources

Physiological
functions

Deficiency
symptoms

Overconsumption
symptoms

Calcium

1000 - 1500 mg

Milk and milk products; Green leafy vegetables; Citrus fruits; Dried peas and beans; Sardines and shellfish.

Helps build strong bones and teeth; Helps muscles and nerves function normally; Needed to activate certain enzymes which help change food into energy.

Rickets in children; Osteoporosis in adults.

Drowsiness; calcium deposits.

Phosphorus

1000 mg

Meats; Poultry; Fish; Eggs; Dried peas and Beans; Milk and milk products; Egg yolk; Whole grain bread and cereal.

With calcium, helps build strong bones and teeth. Needed by certain enzymes which help change food into energy.

Weakness; Bone pain; Decreased appetite.

Upset of the calcium phosphorus ratio; Hindering uptake of calcium.

Sodium

450 - 3300 mg

Processed foods; Ham; Meat; Fish; Poultry; Eggs; Milk.

Helps maintain water balance inside and outside cells;

Water retention (edema); Loss of sodium through extreme perspiration can cause muscle cramps; headache; weakness.

High blood pressure; Kidney disease; Cirrhosis of the liver; Congestive heart disease.

Chloride

700 - 5100 mg

Table salt; Same as sodium.

Part of hydrochloric acid found in gastric juice and important to normal digestion.

Upset balance of acids and bases in body fluids. (very rare)

Upset acid - base balance.

Potassium

775 - 5625 mg

Bananas; Dried fruits; Peanut butter; Potatoes; Orange juice.

With sodium helps regulate body fluid balance; Transmission of nerve impulses.

Muscular weakness; Irritability Irregular heartbeat (rare but may result from prolonged diarrhea or use of diuretics.

High levels of potassium can cause severe cardiac irregularities and can lead to cardiac arrest.

Magnesium

200 - 300 mg

Leafy green vegetables; Nuts; Soy.

Activator of enzymes that transfer and release energy in the body.

Muscular tremors; twitching and weakness. Deficiency is sometimes seen in people with severe disease, prolonged diarrhea, or alcoholism.

Upset of the calcium magnesium ratio, leading to impaired nervous system function. Especially dangerous for people with impaired kidney function.

Sulphur

-

Wheat germ, dried beans, beef, clams.

In every cell as a component of several amino acids.

Unknown

Unknown.

Iron

10 - 18 mg

Liver; Meat products; Egg yolk; Shellfish; Green leafy vegetables; Peas; Beans; Dried prunes; Raisins; Apricots; Whole grain and enriched bread; Cereal;

Combines with protein to make hemoglobin, the red substance in the blood that carries oxygen from lungs to cells, and myoglobin which stores oxygen in muscles.

Iron deficiency anemia; Pallor of skin; Weakness and fatigue; Headache; Shortness of breath.

Toxic build up in liver, pancreas and heart.

Iodine

90 -150 mcg

Iodised salt; Seafoods.

Necessary for normal function of the thyroid gland;

Thyroid enlargement (goiter). Newborns: cretinism.

Could cause poisoning or sensitivity reactions.

Zinc

10 - 15 mg

Meats; Fish; Egg yolks; Milk.

Element of the enzymes that through the red blood cells move carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs.

Loss of taste and delayed wound healing. Children: Growth retardation and delayed sexual maturation.

Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, bleeding and abdominal pain. Pregnant women: premature labour and stillbirth.

Copper

2.0 mg

Organ meats; Shellfish; Nuts; Fruit; Dried legumes; Raisins; Mushrooms.

Occurs as part of important proteins including enzymes involved in brain and red cell function. Also needed for making red blood cells.

Rarely seen in adult humans.
Infants: hypochronic anemia with abnormal development of bone, nervous tissue, lungs, and pigmentation of hair.

Gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea can occur as a result of eating foods cooked in unlined copper pots.

Fluorine

1.0 - 4.0 mg

Fluoridated water and foods cooked in fluoridated water; Fish; Meat; Tea.

Contributes to solid tooth and bone formation, especially in children; May help prevent osteoporosis in older people.

Tooth decay.

Mottling of enamel of teeth.

Chromium

0.03 - 0.20 mg

Dried brewer's yeast; Whole-grain cereal; Liver.

With insulin, it is required for utilisation of glucose.

Diabetes like symptoms.

Unknown.

Selenium

0.03 - 5.0 mg

Seafood; Egg yolk; Chicken; Milk; Whole grain cereals.

Interacts with vitamin E; Prevents breakdown of body chemicals.

Unknown in humans.

Unknown.

Manganese

1.5 - 5.0 mg

Bran; Coffee; Tea; Nuts; Peas; Beans.

Needed for normal tendon and bone structure; Part of some enzymes;

Unknown in humans.

Unknown.

Molybdenum

0.06 - 0.50 mg

Legumes; Cereals; Dark green vegetables; Kidney; Liver.

Forms part of the enzyme Xantine oxidase.

Unknown in humans.

Loss of copper; Joint pain similar to gout.