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Minerals in Human Body


Minerals in Human Body

Health and Nutrition

Nutrients and minerals in human body are essential for the maintenance of life. Minerals represent about 5-6 % of the total body weight. The minerals in human body are also sometimes talked about as elements. After water, minerals are the primary inorganic component of the body.

When a human body is cremated ash is the only thing that remains and ash is nothing but minerals. Minerals do not undergo combustion like most organic molecules or evaporate like water.

The minerals in human body

  1. As components of organic compounds (haemoglobin has iron)
  2. As inorganic compounds (calcium phosphate in bones)
  3. As free ions in every cell in the body (Potassium)
  4. In all body fluids (Sodium)

Sodium is the main electrolyte in the extracellular fluid and potassium is the main electrolyte in the intracellular fluid.

Minerals are not destroyed by

  1. Heat
  2. Oxidation
  3. Acid
  4. Alkali

Since these minerals in human body are soluble in water some loss occurs due to leaching when cooking water is discarded.

Classification of minerals based on the amount in the human body

Based on the weight minerals contribute to the body weight they can be divided into two different groups.

  1. If a mineral contributes more than one-thousandth of the body weight it is a major mineral.
  2. And if a mineral contributes to less than one-thousandth of the body weight it is a minor mineral.

Classification of minerals based on dietary needs

The minerals in human body may be classified into three groups based on how much our diet has to supply that particular mineral.

  1. Major or macro minerals: Seven minerals are required in large amounts of over 100 mg/day (calcium, phosphorous, sodium, chlorine, potassium, sulphur and magnesium)
  2. Minor minerals: Some minerals are required in small quantities less than 100 mg/day (iron and manganese)
  3. Trace elements: A few micrograms to a few milligrams are required per day of some minerals (iodine, fluorine, zinc and molybdenum)

General functions of minerals in human body

  1. Minerals form structural components of tissues such as bones, teeth, soft tissues, and muscle (calcium, phosphorous and magnesium in bones)
  2. They regulate the activity of nerves in view of stimuli and contraction of muscles (calcium)
  3. Minerals are responsible in maintaining acid-base balance of body fluids (sodium and chlorine)
  4. They control water balance by the way of osmosis and permeability of cell membranes (sodium and potassium)
  5. They are constituents of vitamins (thiamine contains sulphur and cyanocobalmin contains cobalt)
  6. They are part of hormones and enzymes (iodine in thyroxine and zinc in insulin)
  7. They activate enzymes, may act as co-enzymes or co-factors (calcium activates enzyme lipase)
  8. They regulate cellular oxidation (iron and manganese)
  9. Necessary for clotting of blood (calcium)

Diet and minerals

Minerals are elements that come from soil and they cannot be synthesized in the body. Minerals are obtained through our diet. The daily requirements of minerals required by the body can be got from a well-balanced diet.

The dietary focus on minerals minerals in human body is because they support the biochemical reactions of metabolism in the body. Adequate intake levels of minerals through diet is required to maintain optimal health. Diet can meet all the body’s mineral requirements. Sometimes supplements are be taken when some mineral requirements are not adequately met by the diet, or when deficiencies occur.

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