Minerals are inorganic nutrients that the body needs to maintain its functions. They are found in food in varying amounts and play an important role in health. Minerals can be divided into two categories: bulk elements and trace elements.
Bulk elements are minerals that the body needs in larger amounts. Bulk elements include calcium, chlorine, potassium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus and sulfur.
Calcium is an important component of bones and teeth and plays a role in blood clotting and muscle contraction.
Chlorine is important for the body's fluid balance and is a component of stomach acid.
Potassium is important for keeping the body hydrated and plays a role in muscle and nerve function.
Magnesium is important for bone health and plays a role in muscle and nerve function.
Sodium is important for keeping the body hydrated and plays a role in muscle and nerve function.
Phosphorus is important for bone health and plays a role in energy production in the body.
Sulfur is a component of proteins in the body and plays a role in detoxification.
Trace elements are minerals that the body needs in small amounts. Trace elements include essential trace elements, probable essential trace elements and possibly essential trace elements.
Essential trace elements
Essential trace elements are minerals that the body needs to maintain normal bodily functions. The essential trace elements include cobalt, iron, iodine, copper, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc.
Cobalt is a component of vitamin B12, which is important for blood formation.
Iron is important for blood formation and oxygen transport in the body.
Iodine is important for thyroid function and the production of thyroid hormones.
Copper is important for connective tissue formation, energy production and immune function.
Manganese is important for bone health, energy production and wound healing.
Molybdenum plays a role in heavy metal detoxification and nitrogen metabolism.
Selenium is an important component of antioxidants and plays a role in immune function and thyroid function.
Zinc is important for many bodily functions such as the immune system, cell growth and hormone regulation. It's found in foods like meat, fish, nuts, and whole grains.
Probably essential trace elements
Probably essential trace minerals are minerals that are thought to be necessary for the body, but more research is needed to determine their exact role. Trace elements that are probably essential include chromium, fluorine, boron, silicon and vanadium.
Chromium is important for glucose metabolism and can help regulate blood sugar levels.
Fluorine is important for bone health and can help prevent tooth decay.
Boron plays a role in bone health and hormone metabolism.
Silicon is important for bone health, connective tissue formation and skin health.
Vanadium plays a role in insulin sensitivity and cholesterol metabolism.
Possibly essential trace elements
Possibly essential trace elements are minerals thought to be necessary for the body, but their exact role is unclear. Potentially essential trace elements include arsenic, bromine, lithium, nickel, rubidium and tin.
Arsenic plays a role in detoxification and may also be a carcinogenic toxin.
Bromine can affect thyroid and reproductive health.
Lithium can be used in the treatment of mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder.
Nickel can be an allergen and can cause allergic reactions.
Rubidium can help regulate blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
Tin plays a role in heavy metal detoxification and can also be used in electronics.