Just like Vitamins, the functions of minerals in our body are enormous and our body needs these minerals to function properly in our day-to-day activities.
The body uses minerals to perform many functions — from building strong bones to transmitting nerve impulses. Some minerals are even used to make hormones or maintain a normal heartbeat.
Types Of Minerals?
Types of minerals are as follows…
Macro-minerals are those the body requires in greater amounts, they include… calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, chloride, and sulphur.
Trace minerals are those body need in smaller amounts, they include… iron, zinc, selenium, manganese, copper, iodine, cobalt, and fluoride.
Functions Of Minerals In Our Body:
Lists Of Macro Minerals And Their Functions In Our Body:
Sodium and Potassium:
Sodium and potassium play essential roles in muscle contraction because of their importance in nerve function. Your nervous system communicates with your muscles through structures called neuromuscular junctions, and the activation of a nerve triggers muscle contraction.
Sodium and potassium help your nerve cells send electrical signals, called action potentials, that signal for your muscles to contract. A loss of either mineral prevents your nerves from communicating properly with your muscle fibres, leading to muscle weakness or twitching.
Magnesium is widely used by the body for metabolic processes. Some of its main functions include energy production, synthesis of biomolecules, and as a structural component of cell membranes and chromosomes.
Phosphorus forms a part of the bones in the form of the mineral hydroxyapatite. It is also used in cell membranes and is part of the energy molecules, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and adenosine diphosphate (ADP). DNA and RNA also contain phosphate.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. It makes up 1.5-2% of our body weight, with bones making up about 99% of the body’s calcium content. The major function of calcium is to build and maintain healthy bones and teeth; however, it is also involved in much of the body’s enzyme activity as well as regulation of cardiovascular function.
Sulphur is a part of some amino acids in your body and is involved in protein synthesis, as well as several enzyme reactions It helps with the production of collagen, which is a substance that forms connective tissues, cell structure and artery walls. Additionally, it is a part of keratin, giving strength to hair, skin and nails.
Chloride travels primarily with sodium and water and helps generate the osmotic pressure of body fluids. It is an important constituent of stomach hydrochloric acid (HCl), the key digestive acid.
Chloride is also needed to maintain the body’s acid-base balance. The kidneys excrete or retain chloride mainly as sodium chloride, depending on whether they are trying to increase or decrease body acid levels. Chloride may also help allow the liver to clear waste products.
Lists Of Trace Minerals And Their Functions In Our Body:
The functions of manganese include antioxidant activity in the mitochondria, assisting enzymes in metabolism, bone development, and wound healing.
Adequate daily intake of manganese is 2.3 mg for men and 1.8 mg for women. Deficiency of manganese can lead to osteoporosis, diabetes, and epilepsy.
Trace amounts of iodine are vital to human nutrition by functioning primarily in assuring a healthy thyroid gland. An iodine deficiency can lead to goitre, a condition characterized by a grossly swollen thyroid gland.
Goitre is rare these days because most people consume enough iodine by using iodized salt in their diet.
Iron promotes proper growth, metabolism, DNA synthesis, immunity and healing. It is an ingredient in the proteins haemoglobin and myoglobin, which carry oxygen throughout your blood and muscles.
Your body absorbs haem iron, found in animal-based sources such as meat, more easily than non-haem iron, which comes from plant sources, such as spinach or Lima beans. Eating a vitamin C-rich food with a non-haem iron source optimizes your body’s ability to absorb plant sources of iron.
Zinc is part of many enzymes; needed for making protein and genetic material; it also has a function in taste perception, wound healing, normal fetal development, production of sperm, normal growth and sexual maturation, immune system health.
Selenium functions in the body in the form of selenoproteins, which have many metabolic functions.
The US RDA for selenium is 55 micrograms. Foods rich in selenium include Brazil nuts, tuna, oysters, pork, beef, chicken, whole wheat bread, and milk.
Deficiency of selenium does not usually result in obvious clinical illness.
Copper facilitates wound healing, gives your cells energy and benefits your immune system and nervous system. It’s recommended that adults get 700 micrograms of copper per day, but it is important to get the right balance of copper and zinc, as an excess of one can cause a deficiency of the other. Women need 6.8 milligrams of zinc daily and men need 9.4 milligrams
Cobalt is present in the body as a part of vitamin B12, which is involved in the manufacture of blood cells and nervous system function.
Fluoride is involved in the formation of bones and teeth; helps prevent tooth decay.
Molybdenum is essential to virtually all life forms. In humans, it is important for transforming sulphur into a usable form. In nitrogen-fixing bacteria, it is important for transforming nitrogen into a usable form.
Note: There are several other mineral elements — such as silicon, boron, nickel, vanadium and lead — that may play a biological role but are not classified as essential. “This may be since a biochemical function has not been defined by experimental evidence,” said Victoria Drake from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.
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