Minerals: Functions, Classification, Sources, and Daily Intake Recommendations

Minerals are naturally occurring homogenous inorganic compound having a definite chemical composition and specific internal structure. The mineral Halite, also known as rock salt is chemically composed of NaCl with an equal number of sodium and chlorine atom. Similarly, its internal structure is in ordered form i.e, they are arranged in a systematic and repeating pattern. The sodium and chlorine atom of Halite is in equal ratio and are arranged cubically. Learn about the functions, sources, and daily intake recommendations of minerals. Explore their classification and benefits.

Besides these properties, it also includes a description of physical properties like hardness, habit, tenacity, parting, cleavage, specific gravity, magnetism, fluorescence, radioactivity, reactivity with an acid, color, taste, and smell.

Mineral functions as an essential for organisms in metabolism, repairing tissue, and other body processes and these minerals are called essential minerals.

Essential minerals include macrominerals and trace minerals. Both these minerals are equally important for our body. Macrominerals are required in a major amount than trace minerals.


  1. Sodium
  2. Chloride
  3. Potassium
  4. Calcium
  5. Phosphorous
  6. Magnesium
  7. Sulfur

Trace minerals



  1. Iron
  2. Zinc
  3. Iodine
  4. Selenium
  5. Copper
  6. Manganese
  7. Fluoride
  8. Chromium
  9. Molybdenum

Macro minerals: Sources, function, and Daily intake Recommendations

  • The animal body requires a larger amount of macro minerals in their diet. Just like vitamins, minerals help in growth and development from building strong bones to the regulation of hormones.
  • Sodium is present in table salt, soy sauce, processed foods, milk, meat, bread, and vegetables. It helps in maintaining charge gradient across the cell wall and maintains blood volume and blood pressure. It also helps in the transmission of nerves and muscle contraction. High sodium level causes high blood pressure and also damages blood vessel wall.

Daily recommended intake of Sodium is 2400mg

  • Chloride is also one of the critical life-sustaining minerals along with Sodium. It is also found in table salt, processed food, milk, meat, and vegetables. It also functions in balancing proper fluid and stomach acid. High chloride intake causes kidney stone formation and causes injuries to the kidney.

Daily recommended intake of Chloride is 3400mg.

  • Potassium-rich food sources include meat, milk, fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains which helps in the transmission of nerves and muscle contractions. Health effects caused by high potassium intake are feeling numbness, nausea, difficulty in breathing, and irregular heartbeats.

Daily recommended intake of Potassium is 3500mg.

  • Calcium is the most abundant mineral that is present mainly in milk and milk products, fortified tofu and soymilk, greens, and legumes. It is important for healthy bones and teeth and also acts as a messenger in cell signaling. Calcium deficiency may lead to osteoporosis. Mineral functions.

Daily recommended intake of Calcium is 1500mg.

  • Phosphorous plays a major role as energy molecules, ATP, and ADP. It is also helpful in forming DNA and RNA. Phosphorous containing food sources are meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk. Deficiency causes anxiety, weakness, fatigue, and irritability.

Daily recommended intake of Phosphorous is 1000mg.

  • Magnesium aids in the body metabolism process in energy production, biomolecule synthesis, and cellular components. Nuts and seeds, legumes, seafood, chocolates are high in magnesium. Low magnesium intake causes muscle cramp, seizure, abnormal heart rhythm.

Daily recommended intake of Magnesium is 350mg.

  • Sulfur is found in proteins like meats, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, and nuts. Sulfur is used in most protein function.

Daily recommended intake of Sulfur (methionine + cysteine) is  14mg/kg of body weight.

Trace minerals: Sources, function, and Daily intake Recommendations

  • Iron is considered to be a major trace mineral among others. Iron can be found in organ meat, poultry, egg yolks, red meats, dark leafy greens, and acts as a part of molecules that carry oxygen in the body. Iron deficiency causes extreme fatigue, pale skin, cold hands and feet, Brittle nails.

Daily recommended intake of Iron is 15mg.

  • Zinc is present in foods like meat, fish, poultry, and vegetables that help in protein synthesis as a transcription factor and also functions in blood clotting. High dose zinc (Mineral function) causes anemia and copper deficiency.

Daily recommended intake of Zinc is 15mg

  • Iodine is a major component of the thyroid hormone and its functioning. Iodine is found naturally in seafood, foods are grown in iodine-rich soil, iodized salt, and dairy products. Its deficiency causes brain damage, goiter, hypothyroidism, and mental retardation.

Daily recommended intake of Iodine is 150µg.

  • Selenium has a metabolic function as a selenoprotein and is antioxidants. Food rich in selenium are meats, seafood, and grains. Its deficiency causes Keshan disease and Kashin-Beck disease.

Daily recommended intake of Selenium is 35µg.

  • Copper acts as a cofactor in energy production, connective tissue formation, and iron metabolism. Legumes, nuts and seeds, organ meats, and grains contain copper. Excessive zinc intake may cause copper deficiency.

Daily recommended intake of Copper is 2mg.

  • Manganese is widespread in plant foods and includes antioxidant activity in mitochondria. Deficiency leads to osteoporosis, diabetes, and epilepsy.

Daily recommended intake of Manganese is 5mg.

  • Fluoride involves in hardening of tooth enamel and helps prevent tooth decay. Natural sources like tea, fish, and some fruit juice.

Daily recommended intake of Fluoride is 3.5mg.

  • Chromium functions similarly to insulin by regulating blood sugar levels. Sources include liver, brewer’s yeast, nuts, and cheese. Excess intake causes toxic effects and concentration problems.

Daily recommended intake of Chromium is 120µg.

  • Molybdenum food sources include legumes, leafy green vegetables, milk, and liver. It functions as a part of an enzyme.

Daily recommended intake of Molybdenum is 45µg.

Learn more about MINERAL FUNCTIONS and Amino acids


  1. https://geology.com/minerals/what-is-a-mineral.shtml
  2. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/ta3912
  3. https://www.helpguide.org/harvard/vitamins-and-minerals.htm
  4. https://byjus.com/chemistry/types-of-minerals/
  5. https://www.news-medical.net/health/Macrominerals-and-Trace-Minerals-in-the-Diet.aspx
  6. https://www.lenntech.com/recommended-daily-intake.htm

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