Dietary minerals are the chemical elements required by living organisms, other than the four elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen present in common organic molecules. The term mineral does not actually reference hard rocky substance but chemical compounds. Minerals include calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc, and iodine.
Dietitians may recommend that dietary elements are best supplied by ingesting specific foods rich with the chemical element(s) of interest. The elements may be naturally present in the food or added to the food. Dietary supplements can be formulated to contain several different chemical elements a combination of vitamins and/or other chemical compounds, or a single mineral element.
The dietary focus on chemical elements is focused on the support of biochemical reactions of metabolism that are influenced or dependent upon the presence of the mineral to take place, and are required for optimal health. Diet can support mineral needs, but the lack of healthy food habits, and increase in mineral stripping processes in food manufacturing find many individuals deficient in crucial metabolic aids.
The following play important roles in biological processes:
Potassium is a systemic electrolyte and is essential in incorporating ATP with sodium. Dietary sources include legumes, potato skin, tomatoes, and bananas.
Chlorine is needed for production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and in cellular pump functions. Table salt (sodium chloride) is the main dietary source.
Sodium is a systemic electrolyte and is essential in co-regulating ATP with potassium. Dietary sources include table salt (sodium chloride, the main source), sea vegetables, milk, and spinach.
Calcium is needed for muscle, heart and digestive system health, builds bone, supports synthesis and function of blood cells. Dietary sources of calcium include dairy products, canned fish with bones (salmon, sardines), green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Phosphorus is a component of bones and energy processing and many other functions.
Magnesium is required for processing ATP and for bones. Dietary sources include nuts, soy beans, and cocoa mass.
Iron is required for many proteins and enzymes, notably hemoglobin to prevent anemia. Dietary sources include red meat, leafy green vegetables, fish (tuna, salmon), eggs, dried fruits, beans, whole grains, and enriched grains.
Manganese is a cofactor in enzyme functions.
Copper is required component of many enzymes
Iodine is required not only for the synthesis of thyroid hormones, thyroxine and triiodothyronine and to prevent goiter, but also, probably as an antioxidant, for extrathyroidal organs as mammary and salivary glands and for gastric mucosa and immune system
Selenium is a cofactor essential to activity of antioxidant enzymes like glutathione peroxidase.
Sulfur; Relatively large quantities of sulfur are required, as the sulfur is obtained from and used for amino acids, and therefore should be adequate in any diet containing enough protein.
Cobalt is required in the synthesis of vitamin B12, but because bacteria are required to synthesize the vitamin, it is usually considered part of vitamin B12 deficiency rather than its own dietary element deficiency.
Chromium It is implicated in sugar metabolism in humans, leading to a market for the supplement chromium picolinate.
Fluorine (as fluoride) has been described as conditionally essential, depending upon the importance placed upon the prevention of chronic disease.
Boron has been found to be essential for the utilization of vitamin D and calcium in the body.