Minerals Essential For The Human Body

  • Hima Saxena Masters in Pharmacy - M.Pharm, Uttarakhand Technical University, India
  • Raadhika Agrawal Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, India


Minerals are vital micronutrients that play an essential role in maintaining our health and well-being.1 These inorganic elements are indispensable for various physiological processes within our bodies.2 Minerals cannot be produced in the body, so they must be obtained through multiple dietary sources such as plants, animals or water.3

Minerals are essential because they contribute to the proper functioning of our cells, tissues, and organs. They assist in diverse functions, including nerve function, muscle contraction, fluid balance, and the formation of strong bones and teeth. In addition, minerals are integral components of enzymes and coenzymes that assist metabolic reactions, which are crucial for energy production and overall bodily functions.2

Understanding the significance of minerals is important for maintaining optimal health. Deficiencies or imbalances in these essential nutrients can lead to a range of health issues, from weakened immunity to impaired growth and development. By incorporating a balanced diet rich in minerals, you can support your body's vital processes and safeguard against potential deficiencies.4

In this article, we will delve into the various essential minerals, their sources, recommended daily intake, and the roles they play in the human body. 

Classification of minerals

Minerals are classified into two main categories called micro- and macro-minerals, depending on the amount required to be taken daily.2

  1. Macrominerals

These are required at levels higher than 100mg per day by the body. 

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Phosphorus
  • Chloride 
  • Sulfur2
  1. Microminerals

These are required at levels lower than 100mg per day by the body.

  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Selenium
  • Iodine
  • Chromium
  • Manganese
  • Fluoride
  • Molybdenum2

Functions of minerals in the human body

Minerals are essential nutrients that play various crucial functions in the human body. These functions include–

  1. Calcium

Calcium is required for (NIH)–

  • Building bones and teeth
  • Regulating muscle contractions
  • Nerve transmission
  • Blood clotting 
  1. Magnesium

Magnesium is required for (NIH)–

  • Supporting muscle and nerve function
  • Maintaining blood sugar levels
  • Assisting in producing hormones required for bone health
  1. Potassium

Potassium is required for (NIH)–

  • Proper functioning of heart and kidney
  • Muscle contraction
  • Nerve transmission
  • Balance of blood pH2
  1. Sodium

Sodium is required for–

  • Regulations fluid balance
  • Proper nerve function
  • Muscle contraction2
  1. Phosphorus

Phosphorus is required for–

  • Key elements of bones, teeth, DNA, RNA
  • To make energy2
  1. Chloride

Chloride is required for –

  • Ingestion
  • Muscular activity
  • Water balance2
  1. Sulfur

Sulfur is required for–

  • Wound healing
  • Metabolism of drugs and steroids5
  1. Iron

Iron is required for (NIH)–

  • Oxygen transport in the body
  • Hormone production
  1. Zinc

Zinc is required for–

  • Wound healing (NHS)
  • Bone health2
  • Immunity to protect the body from bacteria and viruses (NIH)
  1. Copper

Copper is required for (NIH)–

  • Maintaining the immune and nervous system
  • Brain development
  • Making connective tissues and blood vessels
  1. Selenium

Selenium is required for (NIH)–

  • Reproduction
  • Proper functioning of the thyroid gland
  • Protects the body from infections
  1. Iodine

Iodine is required for–

  • Making thyroid hormones2
  1. Manganese

Manganese is required for (NIH)–

  • Strong bones
  • Preventing cell damage
  • Maintaining a healthy immune system
  1. Fluoride

Fluoride is required for (NIH)

  • Preventing tooth decay
  • Strong bones
  1. Molybdenum

Molybdenum is required for (NIH)–

  • Processing proteins and DNA
  • Helping to break down drugs and toxins

Dietary sources of minerals

This table highlights the essential minerals required by the body for maintaining overall health and the dietary sources from which you can obtain them (NHS)–

MineralsFood sources
CalciumMilk, cheese, okra, kale, fish such as sardines
MagnesiumWholemeal bread, spinach, nuts
PotassiumBananas, broccoli, nuts, seeds, fish, beef, chicken, turkey
SodiumSalt, meat, milk, eggs, vegetables2
PhosphorusRed meat, fish, poultry, brown rice, oats
ChlorideMeat, breakfast cereal, cheese, savoury snacks
SulfurCruciferous vegetables, onions, garlic, brussels sprouts, dairy products, fish, legumes, meats, nuts, raspberries, and wheat germ5
IronRed meat, nuts, beans such as chickpeas or red kidney beans, soybean flour
ZincMeat, shellfish, cheese, bread
CopperNuts, shellfish, offal
SeleniumBrazil nuts, fish, meat, eggs
IodineCow’s milk, dairy, eggs, sea fish, shellfish
ManganeseBread, nuts, whole grains, green vegetables such as peas
FluorideFluoridated water (NIH)
MolybdenumPotatoes, carrots

Mineral deficiency 

This table includes the daily recommended amount of minerals for people (aged 19 to 64 years) that are required for maintaining overall well-being and the amounts that can lead to toxicity if the recommended amount is exceeded. (NHS

MineralsRecommended amount (in mg)Upper intake level (in mg)
Calcium 700>1500
Magnesium300 (men)270 (women)>400
Iron8.7 (men) 14.8 (women)8.7 (women aged 50 and over)>20mg
Zinc9.5 (men)7 (women)>25
Selenium0.075 (men)0.06 (women)>0.35
Manganese2.3 (men)1.8 (women)>11 (NIH)
Fluoride4 (men)3 (women)>10 (NIH)
Molybdenum0.045>2 (NIH)

Mineral deficiency diseases can occur due to lack of a proper diet, dietary restrictions or underlying medical conditions. Some of these diseases are mentioned here–

  1. Iron deficiency (Anaemia)

Anaemia is one of the most widespread mineral deficiencies worldwide, according to the WHO. 

It happens due to–

  • A lack of iron intake in the diet
  • Weakened iron absorption
  • Poor absorption or increased loss of iron

If the deficiency is left untreated, it can result in–

  • Microcytic anaemia means you have a type of low red blood cell count, which can lead to feeling tired and weak 
  • This can affect your ability to think clearly (poor cognitive performance) 
  • In children, it can slow down their growth
  • For pregnant women, it can lead to problems during pregnancy
  • It can make you feel tired quickly when you're physically active (reduced endurance capacity).2
  1. Calcium deficiency (Hypocalcemia)

Hypocalcemia can occur due to–

  • A lack of calcium in the diet
  • Poor calcium absorption due to low vitamin D levels
  • Poor absorption or increased loss of calcium

The symptoms of hypocalcemia can include muscle spasms, cramps or seizures. If this deficiency is left untreated, it can affect bone health and lead to osteoporosis.2

  1. Iodine deficiency (Goitre)

When you don't get enough iodine, your thyroid gland struggles. This can lead to a bigger thyroid (goitre) and low thyroid hormone levels (hypothyroidism). It can be fixed by taking iodine supplements or removing the thyroid gland. During pregnancy, iodine deficiency can harm the baby's brain. So, pregnant women should ensure they get enough iodine.2

  1. Zinc deficiency

When you don't get enough zinc, you might experience skin issues, hair loss, reduced appetite, frequent diarrhoea, more infections, slower growth in kids, and problems with reproduction. This can happen because of illnesses, kidney problems, or genetic conditions like acrodermatitis enteropathica (AE), which is a rare disease caused by a genetic mutation affecting zinc absorption in the intestines.2

  1. Magnesium deficiency (Hypomagnesemia)

Hypomagnesemia can happen when you don't get enough magnesium in your diet, have constant diarrhoea, have trouble absorbing magnesium, drink a lot of alcohol, or take certain medications like diuretics, antacids, heartburn medications, and certain antibiotics. Signs of low magnesium are muscle problems like weakness, cramps, spasms, and shaking.2


Minerals are essential micronutrients that play a crucial role in various physiological functions within the human body. They are vital for maintaining good health, as they contribute to processes such as bone health, nerve function, and energy production.

To ensure optimal mineral intake, it is imperative to maintain a balanced diet. Different minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium can be obtained from a variety of foods. A well-rounded diet that includes a diverse range of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and dairy products can help individuals meet their mineral needs. It is also crucial to monitor intake levels, as excessive or insufficient mineral consumption can lead to health problems.

In conclusion, minerals are indispensable for overall health and well-being. They are involved in numerous bodily functions, and maintaining a balanced diet is key to ensuring an adequate supply of these essential nutrients. By paying attention to mineral intake, individuals can support their health and reduce the risk of various health issues associated with mineral deficiencies. Prioritizing a nutrient-rich diet is fundamental to harnessing the benefits of minerals for a healthier life.


Which mineral is one of the most plentiful in the body?

Calcium is one of the most plentiful minerals in the human body. It plays a crucial role in bone and teeth health, muscle function, blood clotting, and nerve transmission. Adequate calcium intake is essential for overall health, and it is primarily obtained from milk, cheese and fish.

How do you fix mineral deficiency?

To fix a mineral deficiency, start by identifying the specific mineral lacking through blood tests and consultation with a healthcare professional. Adjust your diet to include foods rich in deficient minerals, consider supplements under medical guidance, and address any underlying conditions that may hinder mineral absorption. Regular monitoring is crucial for improvement.

What are the minerals your body needs daily?

The body requires several essential minerals daily, including calcium for bone health, potassium for nerve and muscle function, magnesium for muscle and nerve function, phosphorus for bone and cell structure, sodium for fluid balance, chloride for digestion, and sulfur for amino acid synthesis. A balanced diet usually provides these daily needs.


  1. Dubey P, Thakur V, Chattopadhyay M. Role of minerals and trace elements in diabetes and insulin resistance. Nutrients [Internet]. 2020 Jun [cited 2023 Sep 30];12(6):1864. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/6/1864
  2. Morris AL, Mohiuddin SS. Biochemistry, nutrients. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 [cited 2023 Sep 30]. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554545/
  3. Godswill AG, Somtochukwu IV, Ikechukwu AO, Kate EC. Health benefits of micronutrients (Vitamins and minerals) and their associated deficiency diseases: a systematic review. International Journal of Food Sciences [Internet]. 2020 Jan 7 [cited 2023 Sep 30];3(1):1–32. Available from: https://www.iprjb.org/journals/index.php/IJF/article/view/1024
  4. Weyh C, Krüger K, Peeling P, Castell L. The role of minerals in the optimal functioning of the immune system. Nutrients [Internet]. 2022 Feb 2 [cited 2023 Sep 30];14(3):644. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8840645/
  5. Farag MA, Abib B, Qin Z, Ze X, Ali SE. Dietary macrominerals: Updated review of their role and orchestration in human nutrition throughout the life cycle with sex differences. Curr Res Food Sci [Internet]. 2023 Feb 1 [cited 2023 Oct 2];6:100450. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9932710/
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Hima Saxena

Masters in Pharmacy - M.Pharm, Uttarakhand Technical University, India

Hima Saxena is a dedicated professional with a Master's degree in Pharmacy, who possesses a profound passion for medical science and its effective communication. Her articles adeptly blend pharmaceutical knowledge with writing skills, ensuring readers gain a comprehensive understanding of crucial medical topics. Her experience in writing and editing further strengthens her commitment to providing informative, precise, and easily accessible information. Hima is eager to leverage her knowledge and communication skills to enhance health awareness and knowledge through her writing.

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