Major Minerals for Health-The Top 5
There are 5 major minerals (electrolytes) for health and 16 trace minerals (micro minerals) needed (in the proper amounts) for your health. These form chemical reactions when mixed with water, working to help keep you hydrated, ensuring your nerves and muscles are function properly, balancing your blood pH and maintaining your blood pressure are just a few of their functions.
Dietitians recommend that the major minerals are best supplied by ingesting specific foods rich with the element(s) of interest. These elements may be naturally present in the food (calcium in dairy milk) or be added to the food (orange juice fortified with calcium; iodized salt/iodine). Dietary supplements are formulated to contain several different elements (compounds), a combination of vitamins and/or other chemical compounds, or a single element.
This information should not take the place of medical advice. I encourage you to talk to your healthcare providers (doctor, registered dietitian, pharmacist, etc.) about your interest in, questions about, and/or use of dietary supplements and what may be best for your overall health.
And now, the 5 major minerals for health!
Calcium is found in teeth, bones and nails; and is the most abundant major mineral for health in the body. Essential for the clotting of blood, the action of certain enzymes and the control of fluids passage through the cell walls. It is also essential to muscle contraction and normal heart action.
Symptoms of calcium deficiency: Weaker bones, delayed growth, nervous irritability and muscle sensitivity.
The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) provides guidelines on recommended amounts of calcium. (The ODS is a part of the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.) The amount of calcium you need each day depends on your age. Average daily recommended amounts are listed below in milligrams (mg):
Birth to 6 months–200 mg
Infants 7–12 months–260 mg
Children 1–3 years–700 mg
Children 4–8 years–1,000 mg
Children 9–13 years–1,300 mg
Teens 14–18 years–1,300 mg
Adults 19–50 years–1,000 mg
Adult men 51–70 years–1,000 mg
Adult women 51–70 years–1,200 mg
Adults 71 years and older–1,200 mg
Pregnant and breastfeeding teens–1,300 mg
Pregnant and breastfeeding adults–1,000 mg
Calcium is essential for building and maintaining healthy bones and teeth. Among other roles, it may also help manage blood pressure.
Phosphorus is found in the bones, teeth, and the protoplasm and nucleus of every cell and is used in more bodily functions than any other major mineral for health. Your body needs phosphorus to carry out many important chemical processes and to make energy.
Roles of phosphorus in the body: Phosphorus is used to build healthy bones and teeth (in combination with calcium); to metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins; to build nerve and brain cells.
The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) provides guidelines on recommended amounts of phosphorus.The amount of phosphorus you need each day depends on your age. Average daily recommended amounts are listed below in milligrams (mg):
Birth to 6 months–100 mg
Infants 7–12 months–275 mg
Children 1–3 years–460 mg
Children 4–8 years–500 mg
Children 9–13 years–1,250 mg
Teens 14–18 years–1,250 mg
Pregnant and breastfeeding teens–1,250 mg
Adults 19 years and older–700 mg
Pregnant and breastfeeding women–700 mg
The body needs the mineral phosphorus to perform many of its basic functions. Most people get plenty of phosphorus through their diet.
Potassium regulates transportation in and out of cells including the removal of toxins and delivery of nutrients, regulates the heart beat, tissue elasticity, aids healing, promotes correct liver functioning and regulates nerve and muscle action.
Potassium is the 3rd most abundant major mineral for health in the body. Symptoms of potassium deficiency: Poor muscular control, poor digestion, liver problems, slow healing of sores.
The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) provides guidelines on recommended amounts of potassium. The amount of potassium you need each day depends on your age. Average daily recommended amounts are listed below in milligrams (mg):
Birth to 6 months–400 mg
Infants 7–12 months–860 mg
Children 1–3 years–2,000 mg
Children 4–8 years–2,300 mg
Children 9–13 years (boys)–2,500 mg
Children 9–13 years (girls)–2,300 mg
Teens 14–18 years (boys)–3,000 mg
Teens 14–18 years (girls)–2,300 mg
Adults 19+ years (men)–3,400 mg
Adults 19+ years (women)–2,600 mg
Pregnant teens–2,600 mg
Pregnant women–2,900 mg
Breastfeeding teens–2,500 mg
Breastfeeding women–2,800 mg
Potassium is vital but it does not hold the answers to healthful living on its own. Overall eating patterns and dietary balance are most important in bolstering health and keeping disease at bay.
Sodium is an essential mineral for health that regulates blood volume, blood pressure, osmotic equilibrium and pH. The minimum physiological requirement for sodium is estimated to range from about 120 milligrams per day in newborns to 500 milligrams per day over the age of 10. The U.S. Institute of Medicine set its Tolerable Upper Intake Level for sodium at 2.3 grams per day, but the average person in the United States consumes 3.4 grams per day.
Sodium chloride is the principal source of sodium in the diet. It is used as seasoning and preservative; for Americans, sodium chloride comes from processed foods.
Studies have found that lowering sodium intake by 2 g per day tends to lower systolic blood pressure by about two to four mm Hg. Such a decrease in sodium intake would (estimated) lead to between 9 and 17% fewer cases of hypertension.
Magnesium is a nutrient that the body needs to stay healthy and is important for regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and making protein, bone, and DNA. Required for more than 300 biochemical reactions, magnesium maintains normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, and carbohydrate metabolism. Magnesium is the fifth most abundant major mineral for health in the body.
The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) provides guidelines on recommended amounts of magnesium. The amount of calcium you need each day depends on your age. Average daily recommended amounts are listed below in milligrams (mg):
Birth to 6 months–30 mg
Infants 7–12 months–75 mg
Children 1–3 years–80 mg
Children 4–8 years–130 mg
Children 9–13 years–240 mg
Teen boys 14–18 years–410 mg
Teen girls 14–18 years–360 mg
Pregnant teens–400 mg
Pregnant women–350–360 mg
Breastfeeding teens–360 mg
Breastfeeding women–310–320 mg
In general, the diet of many people in the United States provides less than the recommended amounts of magnesium. Dietary supplements combined with food generally raises the total intakes of magnesium above recommended amounts. My wife’s preferred diet supplement for magnesium is Magnesium becalm from Heart and Body Naturals.
The major minerals for health all play a vital role in our overall health and well-being. None of them provide the key to optimum health but are a part of a balanced diet. Sodium is perhaps the most difficult to manage and plays a large part in health issues.
Please remember, this information should not take the place of medical advice. I encourage you to talk to your healthcare providers (doctor, registered dietitian, pharmacist, etc.) about your interest in, questions about, and/or use of dietary supplements and what may be best for your overall health.
If you do make an informed decision to use supplements, I recommend the Heart and Body Naturals brand. You can see the full line of products here. This is “my” retail store, any purchase you make will result in a commission for me. Thanks in advance.