11 Essential Minerals And Their Function In The Body


Minerals are essential for the body because they are involved in a number of internal processes within our body. We divide them according to the amount in which our body needs them, into:

macrominerals: calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, chlorine and magnesium

microelements: iron, copper, selenium, zinc, iodine and chromium.  

Up to 22 minerals are essential for our body , which means that we cannot synthesize them, but we must take them in our diet or in nutritional supplements. The concentration of minerals must be kept within its optimal limits, an excess or deficiency of the mineral is manifested by characteristic symptoms. 

When do we most often lack minerals in our bodies?

The most common reason for which certain minerals are missing in the body is a one-sided, poor-quality diet. Levels of some minerals are also reduced as a result of illness, when taking certain medications or as a result of stress . 

The most common mineral deficiency at all is a lack of non-chemical iron. It affects approximately 25% of the adult population , and is even more frequent in preschool children . Women are more prone to iron deficiency – either due to blood loss during menstruation or due to an increased need for iron during pregnancy. 

Calcium deficiency is associated with poor lifestyle, excessive consumption of alcohol, coffee and other caffeinated beverages, is closely related to hypovitaminosis D (which is very common in our population), decreased calcium levels also occur during pregnancy, breastfeeding and postmen pause. 

The lack of magnesium is also a frequent deficit that we encounter . Its levels are reduced by stress, smoking. The current diet also does not contain sufficient amounts of magnesium.

Sing of mineral deficiency 

The sign of mineral deficiency depends on the deficiency. Other minerals are deficient in specific conditions and situations.

If you experience any long-term symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, nervous disorders, arrhythmias, muscle tics, musculoskeletal problems, etc., see your GP. Based on biochemical tests (blood sampling), he will find out if they can be caused by a lack of any of the minerals. 

The most important minerals in the body 

1. Calcium 

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, up to 1000 – 1200 g in adults. Most calcium in the body is bound to bone in the form of calcium phosphate. Calcium is absorbed through the small intestine, the absorption is promoted vitamin D .

  • Has a building and stabilizing function
  • In ionized form it is found in body fluids
  • Is necessary for blood clotting
  • It is also needed for the generation of heart arousals and muscle contraction

2. Iron 

An essential mineral that the body uses for a number of important vital functions. We know two forms of iron: heme and non-heme. Heme iron has good bioavailability and is naturally found mainly in meat. Non-chemical iron is also part of the plant diet, but it has poorer absorption.

  • The body uses it to make hemoglobin, which then transports oxygen through the red blood cells
  • Iron is also needed to maintain the proper functioning of the immune system
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Its optimal values ​​are also necessary for the physical activity of athletes

3. Magnesium (magnesium) 

It is part of up to 600 different functions at the cellular level. It is estimated that more than half of the adult population suffers from magnesium deficiency. About half of the magnesium in the body is found in the bones, the other half is contained in the soft tissues.

  • It serves, for example, as a neurotransmitter for NMDA receptors in the nervous system
  • Maintains an adequate heart rhythm
  • Is necessary for muscle contraction 
  • Magnesium is part of the ossification – the formation of new bone
  • Long-term decreased magnesium levels are associated with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease , type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis

4. Potassium 

A mineral electrolyte that helps maintain optimal water levels in cells and helps nutrients to penetrate inside the cells. The level of potassium in the body is regulated by the kidneys. Potassium deficiency threatens important vital functions, such as heart rate or nerve impulse transmission. There is also a risk of dehydration.

  • The body uses it to function muscles, it is also necessary for the nervous system
  • Is important for heart rate regulation
  • Acts as an antagonistic sodium ion, with its excess in the diet dampens its negative effects on the heart and blood pressure

5. Sodium 

Like potassium, sodium is a mineral electrolyte that affects the volume of body fluids and is also associated with a feeling of thirst. 95% of sodium is found outside the cells mainly in the blood and extracellular fluids (extracellular), 5% inside the cells (intracellular).

  • Its physiological values ​​help maintain blood pressure
  • Is part of muscle contraction and nerve transmission
  • Excessive sodium intake is associated with a risk of high blood pressure, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney disease

6. Zinok 

Zinc is a mineral that is needed in up to 200 enzymatic processes. It cannot be stored in the body, so it is necessary that we supplement it regularly in the diet or in the form of nutritional supplements. The most absorbable and gentle form of zinc is in the form of chelates (orotate), the least absorbable are inorganic forms of zinc (gluconate, oxide, lactate …).

  • Zinc directly affects the immune system and the body’s defenses
  • Helps in wound healing
  • Its supplementation is also suitable for skin problems and support of hair growth 
  • Last but not least, zinc is also needed in the production of DNA and proteins

7. Copper 

In the body, copper is stored primarily in bones and muscles. The amount of copper in the bloodstream is regulated through the liver. Copper deficiency is relatively rare because it is found in sufficient amounts in the diet. It can occur in people with high levels of zinc or in patients by bypass or in patients with parenteral nutrition.

  • Acts as a catalyst for several enzymatic reactions
  • Has beneficial effects on the condition of hair and nails
  • Copper is needed in the formation of collagen and elastin
  • Increases the production of white blood cells, and thus is directly related to the function of the immune system
  • Allergy sufferers can also benefit from copper because it can lower histamine levels

8. Chromium 

Although it is contained in the body in very small amounts, it has several indispensable tasks. It comes in nutritional supplements in several forms, each of which has a different bioavailability. The diet and nutritional supplements contain trivalent chromium, which is needed in small amounts for our body. In contrast, hexavalent chromium is a carcinogen.

  • It works synergistically with insulin – the only component in the body that can lower blood sugar
  • May lower total cholesterol

9. Iodine 

A trace element that is naturally found in the diet and is artificially added to some types of salts. Iodine is a component of thyroid hormones (thyroxine and triiodothyronine).

  • In iodine deficiency, the thyroid gland is overburdened, which can lead to its enlargement, the development of autoimmune diseases, anovulation and other diseases
  • It is of great importance during pregnancy, when iodine deficiency can lead to developmental disorders of the fetus 
  • In the form of a drug (potassium iodide) is also used as protection after exposure to radiation

10. Manganese 

An important trace element that we cannot synthesize, but its stores are stored in organs such as the liver, pancreas, kidneys, brain. Manganese is required in enzymatic reactions related to cholesterol, carbohydrate and protein metabolism. 

  • Along with calcium and vitamin D, manganese is part of strong bones 
  • In combination with vitamin K, it is essential for blood clotting
  • Has antioxidant effects 

11. Molybdenum 

Deficiency of this mineral is very rare in the population because it is naturally found in many foods, such as milk and dairy products, vegetables, legumes and nuts.

  • An essential mineral that breaks down proteins and other compounds
  • Supports the production of red blood cells and the transfer of oxygen by red blood cells to the body
  • Has antioxidant effects 

How to supplement the necessary minerals? 

The most effective way to regularly supplement vitamins and minerals is through a balanced diet that has optimally represented proteins, fats, carbohydrates and fiber . Foods such as spirulina, chlorella, green barley, amaranth, quinoa are also rich in minerals. 

In situations where one specific mineral is missing, it is appropriate to supplement it with a nutritional supplement, whether monocomponent or multicomponent. Some forms of minerals are also available in the form of prescription drugs, or in injectable or infused forms.


Minerals, together with vitamins, are the basis for the proper functioning of the body. We can take many of them with a varied and balanced diet, but nutritional supplements will help if there is an increased need. We also add important vitamins to the necessary minerals for a comprehensive view .

Also Read : Quit smoking. And then what?

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