Minerals

Minerals is a category that includes minerals which are necessary for the proper functioning of important processes in the body. Their deficiency can have a negative effect on one's mental and physical health. They affect cognitive functions, the nervous system, immunity, the musculoskeletal system and energy metabolism. Low levels can also manifest as fatigue as well as poor quality of nails, hair and skin. In order for everything in the body to function as it should, it is necessary to supplement these micronutrients through a balanced diet or nutritional supplements.

If you want to find out more about minerals, check out our article A complete guide to minerals: functions, recommended daily intake, deficiencies.

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Minerals in the body are divided into macromineral and micromineral substances.

  • Macromineral substances are specific in that their daily intake should be higher than 100 mg.
  • The intake of microminerals should be in the range of 0-100 mg.

 

Macrominerals

  • Calcium – the richest sources of calcium include dairy products, canned fish, nuts, seeds and some leafy vegetables. It is also found in whey proteins or concentrated supplements. Calcium is essential for the transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction and proper blood clotting. In addition, it participates in the formation of teeth and bones. This is why it is popular with people who are trying to prevent the development of osteoporosis (thinning of the bones). In addition, it also positively affects  the proper functioning of digestive enzymes, blood clotting, muscles and also contributes to the proper metabolism important for energy production. The recommended daily intake is 800 mg.
  • Phosphorus – like calcium, it has the effect of maintaining healthy teeth, bones and proper metabolism important for energy production. In addition, it also helps the proper functioning of cell membranes. Foods rich in phosphorus include chicken, turkey and pork, seafood, milk or nuts, cereals and some seeds. The recommended daily intake is 700 mg.
  • Magnesium – one of the most important minerals. It is involved in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body which could not take place without it. Its richest sources include whole grains, legumes, nuts and nutty butters, seeds, leafy vegetables and cocoa. Its intake is important mostly for active athletes who suffer from frequent muscle cramps. Magnesium has a beneficial effect on the proper function of muscles and the nervous system. Like calcium, it is important for the transmission of nerve impulses and muscle contraction. However, it also contributes to the reduction of fatigue and exhaustion, electrolyte balance, proper psychological function and normal protein synthesis. Moreover, it is known to help maintain healthy teeth and bones. The recommended daily intake is 375 mg.
  • Sodium – is found in almost every household. For example, classic table salt is one of its concentrated sources. Optimal sodium intake is important, for example, for athletes as it supports hydration of the body, which can thus help boost sports performance. Together with potassium, it regulates the body's water balance. As its level decreases, cramps may occur during sports activity. This is also the reason why especially endurance athletes supplement sodium during exercise. However, you should not overdo it with its intake. Excessive amounts in the body can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems. The recommended daily intake is 2g.  
  • Potassium – in addition to concentrated supplements, we can also get potassium from foods, for example from fruits (bananas, oranges, apricots), spinach, broccoli, milk, legumes or potatoes. Together with sodium, it is one of the minerals that affect the hydration of the body which can ultimately affect performance. Moreover, it helps maintain normal blood pressure, proper muscle function and also the proper functioning of the nervous system. The recommended daily intake is 2 g.
  • Chlorine – a mineral whose source is sodium chloride, i.e. table salt. Chloride is characterized by the ability to contribute to proper digestion by producing hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Optimal chlorine intake can be crucial for people who have digestive problems. The recommended daily intake is 800 mg.
  • Sulfur – enters the body most often in a diet rich in protein. Its sources include poultry, seafood, legumes, almonds, Brazil nuts, eggs and dairy products. Sulfur is part of two essential AMKs - cysteine and methionine. It is found in almost all cells in the body and in higher amounts we find it, for example, in the skin, nails or hair. It is involved in many processes in the body and therefore its optimal intake is very important. There is no recommended daily intake for sulfur.

 

Microminerals

  • Iron affects cognitive function, proper red blood cell production, oxygen transfer and optimal immune function. It also helps reduce fatigue, exhaustion and plays a role in the process of cell division. Iron is found mainly in meat, fish or leafy vegetables. The recommended daily dose is 14 mg.
  • Zinc helps protect cells from oxidative stress, maintain healthy skin, nails and hair as well as normal blood testosterone levels and also contributes to the proper functioning of immunity. In addition, it affects fertility and reproductive functions. Sources of zinc include, for example, meat, legumes and whole-grain products. The recommended daily dose is 10 mg.
  • Copper is important for maintaining healthy connective tissues, hair, skin pigmentation and the functioning of immunity. In addition, it helps protect cells from oxidative stress. Copper is one of the minerals that affect the functioning of the nervous system. We find it mainly in fish, seafood or nuts. The recommended daily dose is 1 mg.
  • Iodine is a mineral that affects cognitive function, the functioning of the nervous system and maintaining healthy skin. In addition, it contributes to the proper production of thyroid hormones and its optimal functioning. Iodine is found, for example, in seafood and iodine-enriched salts. The recommended daily dose is 150 μg.
  • Fluorine is mostly found in the body in the form of fluoride. Specifically, it is found in bones and teeth. It is important for the proper mineralization of teeth. Fluorine is found mainly in toothpastes or drinking water. The recommended daily dose is 3.5 mg.
  • Chromium affects the body's proper metabolism of macronutrients and also helps maintain normal blood glucose levels. For this reason, it is especially popular among people who are trying to lose weight or get rid of sweet tooth. Sweet tooth can be the result of unstable glucose levels and its frequent fluctuations. Chromium is found mainly in meat, cheese and nuts. The recommended daily dose is 40 μg.
  • Cobalt affects the proper functioning of the body and is part of vitamin B12. It is found, for example, in fish, nuts or green leafy vegetables. The recommended daily dose is 4.2–8.6 μg.
  • Selenium contributes to proper spermatogenesis, maintaining healthy hair, nails, optimal functioning of immunity as well as thyroid gland, and also helps protect cells from oxidative stress. It is found mainly in seafood, eggs, milk and nuts or seeds. The recommended daily dose is 55 μg.
  • Manganese helps with optimal metabolism important for energy production and maintaining healthy bones. In addition, it helps protect cells from oxidative stress and affects the normal formation of connective tissues. Manganese is found mainly in plant sources such as nuts and legumes. The recommended daily dose is 2 mg.
  • Molybdenum contributes to the metabolism of sulfur amino acids. We can find it, for example, in legumes or whole-grain products. The recommended daily dose is 50 μg.

 

As can be seen from the list, each mineral has an irreplaceable role in the body. Therefore, we should definitely not underestimate their intake. If you cannot cover the required daily dose with a balanced diet, it is appropriate to include supplementation. You can choose between a one-component or complex supplement which contains more minerals or even vitamins.

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