Minerals are inorganic (not living, not from plant or animal, do not contain carbon) substances that must be ingested by animals or plants in order to remain healthy.  There are two types of minerals major minerals and trace minerals.  The human body needs large amounts of major minerals; major minerals include: sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, and phosphate.  Trace mineral are minerals the body need only small amounts of; trace minerals include: copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, selenium, and zinc.

AI- Adequate Intake

UL- Tolerable Upper Limit

RDA-Recommended Dietary Allowance



AI: 1500mg/day

UL: 2300mg/day

Roles: Maintains fluid and electrolyte balance, assists in nerve impulses and muscle contractions

Deficiency: Muscle cramps, loss of appetite

Toxicity: Edema, acute hyper tension

Sources: Salt, soy sauce, meats, eggs, milk

Additional Notes: Deficiency rarely occurs because when sodium intakes are low the body minimizing sodium loss via sweat and urine.  High salt intake is associated with hypertension and increase calcium excretion.  Processed foods are very often high in sodium



AI: 4700mg/day


Roles: Maintains fluid and electrolyte balance, assists in nerve impulses and muscle contractions

Deficiency: Irregular heartbeat, muscular weakness, glucose intolerance

Toxicity: Muscular weakness can stop heart (high doses, intravenous)

Sources: meats, milk, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes

Additional Notes:  Low potassium intake in correlation with hypertension.  Potassium is the chief cation in intracellular fluid; all living cells contain potassium.  As a result potassium content is very high in fresh foods.  However potassium content is not as high in processed foods; potassium is lost in the processes and replaced with sodium.  For example fresh corn in high in potassium and low in sodium while canned corn in high in sodium and rather low in potassium.



AI: 1000mg/day

UL: 2500mg/day

Roles: Bones and teeth, muscle contraction and relaxation, functioning of nerves, blood clotting, maintenance of healthy blood pressure

Deficiency: Stunted growth, osteoporosis

Toxicity: Constipation, urinary/kidney stones

Sources: milk, cheese, broccoli, legumes, yogurt, sunflower seeds

Additional Notes: Calcium absorption in aided by vitamin D.  99% of the body’s calcium is in bones and teeth.  The calcium helps strengthen and maintain the structure of bones and teeth.  The other 1% of the body’s calcium in found in the blood stream as part of the electrolyte balance.  Without adequate calcium intake, calcium leaves the bones for the blood stream with leads to bone loss.  Blood calcium levels on regulate by two hormones one to raise it and one to lower it (parathyroid hormone and calciton respectively).



AI: 400mg/day

UL: 350mg/day (nonfood sources, supplements)

Roles: Bones mineralization, muscle contraction, nerve impulses, immune system

Deficiency: Weakness, convulsion (in extreme cases)

Toxicity: Diarrhea, alkalosis/high blood pH, dehydration (from supplements only)

Sources: Nuts, legumes, whole grains, dark green vegetables, seafood, cocoa

Additional Notes: Magnesium is a catalyst in the reaction which adds the final phosphate group to ATP



RDA: 8mg/day, 18mg/day (women 19-50)

UL: 45mg/day

Roles: Part of hemoglobin (protein that carries oxygen in the blood)

Deficiency: Weakness, fatigue, pica, impaired cognitive function, impaired immunity

Toxicity: GI distress, skin pigmentation, organ damage

Sources: Red meats, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, dried fruits, broccoli

Additional Notes: There are two types of iron heme (iron part of hemoglobin) and nonheme.  All iron in plant foods is nonheme; iron in animal foods is both heme and nonheme.  Blood loss depletes iron stores; this is why the RDA for iron is higher for women in the menstruating years.  Iron absportion is enhanced by vitamin C and the MFP factor (Meat Fish Poultry Factor: peptide released during digestion of meat, fish, or poultry).



RDA: 11mg/day (men), 9mg/day (women)

UL: 40mg/day

Roles: immune reactions, transport of vitamin A, making of genetic material and proteins,  wounding healing, production of sperm, fetal development

Deficiency: Growth retardation, delayed sexual maturation, impaired immunity, hair loss, eye and skin lesions

Toxicity: impaired immunity, low HDL, copper and iron deficiencies

Sources: Red meat, sea food, fortified grains



AI: 700mg/day

UL: 4000mg/day

Roles: Bones and teeth, genetic material, phospholipids, energy transfer

Deficiency: Muscular weakness, bone pain

Toxicity: Calcification on non-skeletal material

Sources: Animal tissue (meat, fish, eggs, etc)

Additional Notes: Phosphorus is part of the ATP molecule and the phospholipid part of cell structure.  Many of the B vitamin become active once phosphorus is attached.



AI: 2300mg/day

UL: 3600mg/day

Roles: Maintains fluid and electrolyte balance, part of hydrochloric acid necessary for digestion in stomach.

Deficiency: N/A

Toxicity: Vomiting

Sources: Salt, soy sauce, meats, eggs, milk



RDA: 150mcg/day

UL: 1100mcg/day

Roles: Component of thyroid hormones that regulate growth

Sources: Iodized slat, seafood



RDA: 55mcg/day

UL: 400mcg/day

Roles: Defends against oxidation

Sources: Seafood, meat, grains,



RDA: 900mcg/day

UL: 10mg/day

Roles: Iron absorption

Sources: Seafood, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes



AI: 35mcg/day

Roles: Insulin action

Sources: Meats