Minerals, Functions if minerals in the body, Importance of minerals in body, calcium, sodium, potassium,phosphorus, magnesium, iron and iodine


These are the inorganic compounds in micro quantities which are essential for many vital functions of the body. The minerals constituent of the body amounts to 4.3 to 4.4 %, largely in the skeleton.

General Functions of Minerals

As constituents of hard tissue. (eg.) calcium and phosphorus in bone and teeth.

As constituents of soft tissue. (eg.) Sulphur and phosphorus.

As constituents of substances assisting in the regulatory function of the body (eg.) salts in solutions influence nerve and muscle action.

Some of the essential mineral salts are sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and iodine.


Calcium is most important for children and pregnant women.

Calcium is important component in bones and enamel of teeth. 99% of body calcium is found the bones.


milk and its products, green leafy vegetables, bones of meat, fish, pumpkin, coconut, dry fruits, cereals.

Daily requirements: 400- 500mgm


• Formation and maintenance of bones and teeth

• Coagulation (Thickening) of blood

• Muscle contraction


Sodium is essential for many body activities. It is taken in the diet as salt.


Common salt, sodium chloride is also found in certain foods like fish, meat, eggs and seasoned foods.

Daily requirements: 8-10 gms


• It helps in transmission of nerve impulses

• Maintenance of body fluids and electrolytes balance

• Smooth functioning of nerves, muscles and body cells


Most of the potassium present inside the cells.

Sources: Fresh vegetables, citrus fruits, milk, guava and amla.


• Involved in various biochemical activities of the cells.

• Transmission of nerve impulses.

• Maintenance of electrolyte balance and contraction of muscles.

Daily requirements: 2-5 gms


Most of the phosphorus present in the bones as inorganic form. Few amount resent inside the cells.


Whole grain cereals and flours, legumes, oatmeal, cheese, nuts, fish


• Gives rigidity to bones and teeth

• Regulates pH of the blood and urine

• Important in energy metabolism

• Phosphorus compounds are necessary for carbohydrate metabolism and for the calcification of bones and teeth

• Needed for transport of fatty acids


The amount of iron presents in the adult human body is very small, but it is very important substance and essential for the maintenance of life. 75% of total body iron present in the blood.


Liver, meat, fish, eggs, cereals, pulses,green leafy vegetables, dry fruits, jaggery, certain beans.

Daily requirements: 25-40 mg


• Component of hemoglobin and myoglobin

• Helps in oxygen transport and cellular respiration Iron is better absorbed with vitamin C and absorption delayed with tea or coffee.


Iodine is considered as an important for maintaining metabolic rate.


Iodized salt, salt water fish, milk, meat cereals and green leafy vegetables. Fortification of common salt with potassium iodate is a recommended method of making iodine easily available.

Daily requirements: 01.05 mg


• Iodine is an important constituent of thyroxine, the hormone secreted by the thyroid gland

• Iodine is responsible for the regulation of physical growth


Human body contains about 25gms of magnesium. Half of it is present in bones and in combination with phosphate and carbonate and about 1/5th in soft tissues.


Constituent of bones and teeth, coenzymes in general metabolism, smooth muscle action.

Sources of Magnesium:

Dairy products (excluding butter) fresh green vegetables, meat, nuts, sea food and legumes are good sources of magnesium.

Other Inorganic Elements

Copper: Functions with iron in the formation of haemoglobin.

Manganese: Has a similar effect though less marked than copper.

Cobalt: It is present in vitamin B12 which is also necessary for the formation of haemoglobin.

Zinc: Is found mainly in pancreatic tissue and may have an important part to play in the storage of insulin in the gland.

Clinical Significance of Minerals

1. Calcium: Deficiency of calcium in the body precipitates rickets in the children and osteomalacia in adults.

2. Iron: Reduced level or lack of iron causes anemia, certain hormonal changes in women.

3. Iodine: Lack of iodine in the body leads to enlargement of thyroid gland called as goiter.

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