Table of contents
1 What are minerals?
2 What role do minerals play in your body?
3 The most common symptoms of mineral deficiency
4 What minerals are there and how much do you need?
Calcium is a staple food for your body Potassium for healthy cells Chlorine regulates the fluid content of your cells Magnesium for general health Phosphorus for sufficient energy Sodium for nerves and muscles Chromium - still relatively unexplored Iron for growth and a healthy hormone balance Iodine for a healthy pregnancy Copper for a healthy immune and nervous system

From strong, seemingly indestructible bones to optimal thinking ability. If you want to get the best out of every cell in your body, an optimal balance of minerals is essential. Find out what minerals there are, what they do and where you can get them here!

What are minerals?

Vitamins and minerals are vital micronutrients that your body needs for various functions. Trace elements are also minerals, but you usually only need very small amounts of them (usually in the microgram range). Unlike some vitamins, such as vitamin D or B12, our body cannot produce minerals itself. It is therefore important to consume the entire spectrum of minerals and trace elements through a balanced diet. This spectrum consists of the minerals: Calcium, chlorine, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, fluorine, sulphur and sodium. Furthermore from the trace elements: Chromium, iron, iodine, copper, manganese, selenium and zinc1

What role do minerals play in your body?

Minerals are needed for the proper composition of body fluids, tissues, bones, teeth, muscles and nerves. Minerals also play an important role in maintaining healthy nerve function, regulating muscle tone and supporting a healthy cardiovascular system.

Like vitamins, minerals allow your body to perform its biochemical functions, including:

  • Cell growth
  • regeneration
  • Energy production
  • Utilization of vitamins and other micro- and macronutrients2

    An optimal balance of minerals in your body is essential for overall health, and if one mineral level is out of balance, all other mineral levels can be affected. If this type of imbalance is not corrected, a chain reaction of imbalances can begin.

    However, minerals are very stable compared to vitamins and cannot be destroyed by heat or light. Whether baked, boiled, fried or raw - the minerals in your food retain their nutritional value.3

The most common symptoms of mineral deficiency

Symptomatology Potential lack of
fatigue Chlorine, magnesium, iron or copper
Nausea chlorine
Cramps Calcium, chlorine, magnesium
Tingling in the fingers Calcium
Loss of appetite Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus or zinc
Increased blood pressure Potassium
Numbness Magnesium, Calcium
Muscle weakness phosphorus
Bone pain Phosphorus, copper
Coordination problems Phosphorus, bones
Confusion Sodium
Disorders of the gastrointestinal tract Iron
Loss of hair pigments Manganese
Irritated skin Manganese
Mood swings Manganese
Impotence Zinc

What minerals are there and how much do you need?

Calcium is a staple food for your body

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. Calcium is needed for vascular contraction and enlargement, muscle function, nerve transmission and hormonal secretion, although less than 1% of the body's total calcium is needed to support these critical metabolic functions.4 The recommended daily intake for adults is approximately 800mg.

What calcium deficiency symptoms can occur?

Circulating blood calcium levels are tightly regulated. Calcium deficiency is primarily the result of medical problems or treatments, including kidney failure, surgical removal of the stomach and the use of certain medications (e.g. diuretics). Symptoms of calcium deficiency include numbness and tingling in the fingers, muscle spasms, cramps, lethargy, loss of appetite, and abnormal heart rhythms.5

Natural sources of calcium (per 100 g):

Parmesan cheese: 1184 mg
Tofu: 683 mg
Yogurt: 199 mg
Spinach: 136 mg
Milk: 122 mg

Potassium for healthy cells 

Potassium is present in all tissues of your body and is needed for normal cell function due to its role in regulating the fluid volume of your cells. The daily requirement of potassium for adults is around 2000 mg.6

How does potassium deficiency manifest itself?

Insufficient potassium intake can increase blood pressure, kidney stone risk, bone density, urinary calcium excretion and salt sensitivity (which means that changes in sodium intake affect blood pressure more than normal).7

Natural sources of potassium (per 100 g)

Tomato paste: 1014 mg
Salmon: 628 mg
White beans: 561 mg
Avocados: 485 mg
Mushrooms: 386 mg

Chlorine regulates the fluid content of your cells

The majority of your chlorine intake comes from salt. Chlorine helps to keep the fluid content inside and outside your cells in balance. It also helps maintain the proper blood volume, blood pressure and pH of your body fluids.8 Adults are recommended to take 800 mg of chloride per day.

How does chloride deficiency manifest itself?

A chlorine deficiency is usually accompanied by a sodium deficiency. The subsequent symptoms therefore include headaches, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, tiredness, disorientation and fainting.9

Natural sources of chlorine (per 100 g)

All natural sources of sodium are also the best sources to reliably meet your chlorine needs.

Common salt: 59900 mg
Shrimps: 2550 mg
Scrambled eggs: 1580 mg
Porridge: 890 mg
Cocoa powder: 460 mg

Magnesium for general health

Like calcium, magnesium is an all-star among minerals, as it is required for many biomechanical processes such as the regulation of muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels and blood pressure, as well as for the production of protein, bones and DNA. Daily magnesium requirement: Adults need approx. 375 mg magnesium per day.10

How does magnesium deficiency manifest itself?

An acute magnesium deficiency does not cause any symptoms because the kidneys help to store magnesium by limiting the amount lost in the urine. However, in the long term, a slight magnesium deficiency can lead to the following symptoms: Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and weakness. Extreme magnesium deficiency can cause numbness, tingling, muscle cramps, seizures, personality changes and abnormal heart rhythm.11

Magnesium foods (per 100 g)

Pumpkin seeds: 550 mg
Almonds: 270 mg
Dark chocolate (with 85% cocoa content): 228 mg
Spinach: 87 mg
Tuna: 64 mg

Phosphorus for sufficient energy

Every cell in your body contains phosphorus. Most of it is found in your bones and teeth. Your body needs phosphorus to produce energy and to carry out many important chemical processes. As an adult, you need around 700 mg of phosphorus per day.12

How does phosphorus deficiency manifest itself?

It can lead to loss of appetite, anemia, muscle weakness, coordination problems, bone pain, soft and deformed bones, a higher risk of infection, tingling sensations in the skin and confusion.13

Natural sources of phosphorus (per 100 g)

Pumpkin seeds: 1233 mg
Scallops: 426 mg
Tuna: 333 mg
Lentils: 180 mg
Quinoa: 152 mg

Sodium for nerves and muscles

Humans cannot live without sodium. It is needed for the transmission of nerve impulses, the contraction and relaxation of muscle fibers (including the fibers in the heart and blood vessels) and the maintenance of an adequate fluid balance. The recommended daily requirement of sodium is 200 mg per day.14

How does sodium deficiency manifest itself?

Low blood sodium levels are particularly common in older adults. Signs and symptoms of sodium deficiency can include altered personality, lethargy and confusion. Severe hyponatremia can cause seizures, coma and even death.15

Natural sources of sodium (per 100 g)

Salt: 38758 mg
Roasted sunflower seeds: 6008 mg
Parmesan cheese: 1804 mg
Pickled cucumbers: 1205 mg
Canned beans: 336 mg

Chromium - still relatively unexplored

Chromium is a mineral that humans need in extremely small amounts, although its mechanisms of action in the body and the amounts needed for optimal health are not well defined. Chromium also appears to be directly involved in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism, but more research is needed to determine the full range of its roles in the body. Adults are recommended to take 40 µg of chromium daily16

How does chromium deficiency manifest itself?

Chromium deficiency in humans is extremely rare. Combined with the still largely unexplored mode of action of chromium, this means that the effects of potential chromium deficiency are also still almost unknown. Three patients who were fed intravenously showed symptoms typical of diabetes until chromium was added to their intravenous feeding solution.17

Natural sources of chromium (per 100 g)

Blue mussels: 128 µg
Brazil nuts: 100 µg
Oysters: 57 µg
Dates (dried): 29 µg
Pears: 27 µg

Iron for growth and a healthy hormone balance

Iron is a mineral that your body needs for growth and development. Your body uses iron to make hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all areas of your body, and myoglobin, a protein that supplies oxygen to muscles. Your body also needs iron to produce some hormones. Adults need about 14 mg of iron per day18

How does iron deficiency manifest itself?

In the short term, insufficient iron intake does not cause any obvious symptoms. The body uses its stored iron in the muscles, liver, spleen and bone marrow. However, if the amount of iron stored in the body becomes too low, iron deficiency anemia sets in. The red blood cells become smaller and contain less haemoglobin. As a result, the blood transports less oxygen from the lungs through the body.

Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include gastrointestinal upset, weakness, fatigue, lack of energy and problems with concentration and memory. In addition, people with iron deficiency anemia are less able to fight germs and infections, work and exercise, and control their body temperature. Infants and children with iron deficiency anemia may develop learning difficulties19

Natural sources of iron (per 100 g)

Liver: 23 mg
Dark chocolate: 17 mg
Pumpkin seeds: 15 mg
Oysters: 9 mg
Cashew nuts: 6 mg

Iodine for a healthy pregnancy

Your body needs small amounts of iodine to produce thyroid hormones. These hormones control the body's metabolism and many other important functions. The body also needs thyroid hormones for proper bone and brain development during pregnancy and infancy. An adequate supply of iodine is important for all people, especially infants and pregnant women. Adults need about 150 µg of iodine per day. Pregnant and breastfeeding women need 230 µg and 260 µg per day respectively.20

How does iodine deficiency manifest itself?

People who do not get enough iodine cannot produce sufficient amounts of thyroid hormone. This can lead to a variety of problems. In pregnant women, severe iodine deficiency can permanently damage the fetus by causing growth retardation, mental retardation and delayed sexual development. Less severe iodine deficiency can lead to below-average IQ in infants and children and impair the ability of adults to work and think. Goitre, an enlarged thyroid gland, is usually the first visible sign of iodine deficiency21

Natural sources of iodine (per 100 g)

Nori: 1470 µg
Stockfish: 256 µg
Shrimps: 100 µg
Eggs: 50 µg
Milk: 30 µg

Copper for a healthy immune and nervous system

Copper is essential for your body. Your body uses copper to carry out many important functions, such as energy production. Copper also helps to maintain the nervous and immune systems and activates genes. Your body also needs copper for brain development. Adolescents and adults should consume about 1 mg of copper per day.22

How does copper deficiency manifest itself?

Copper deficiency can lead to extreme tiredness, paler skin, high blood cholesterol levels and connective tissue disorders in connective tissue and skin. Other effects of copper deficiency include weak and brittle bones, loss of balance and coordination and an increased risk of viral and bacterial infections. Copper deficiency is an absolute rarity in developed countries23

Natural sources of copper (per 100 g)

Oysters: 4.4 mg
Sesame seeds: 2.5 mg
Cashew nuts: 2 mg
Dark chocolate: 1 mg
Shiitake mushrooms: 1 mg

Manganese protects your cells

Your body uses manganese to produce energy and to protect your cells from damage. Your body also needs manganese for strong bones, reproduction, blood clotting and a healthy immune system. Adolescents and adults need about 2 mg of manganese per day.24

How does manganese deficiency manifest itself?

In children, it leads to fragile bones and stunted growth. Men with manganese deficiency suffer from skin irritation and loss of hair pigment. In women, mood swings and premenstrual pain worsen. However, manganese deficiency is very rare nowadays.25

Natural sources of manganese (per 100 g)

Roasted wheat germ: 20 mg
Pine nuts: 9 mg
Mussels: 7 mg
Chickpeas: 1 mg
Spinach: 1 mg

Selenium reduces your risk of infection

Selenium is important for reproduction, thyroid function, DNA production and protecting the body from free radical damage and infections. A daily intake of at least 55 µg selenium per day is recommended for adults.

How does selenium deficiency manifest itself?

Selenium deficiency can cause Keshan disease (a type of heart disease) and male infertility. It can also cause Kashin-Beck disease, a form of arthritis that causes pain, swelling and loss of movement in your joints.26

Natural sources of selenium (per 100 g)

Brazil nuts: 85 μg
Lentils: 40 μg
Mushrooms: 12 μg
Mung beans: 5 μg
Soy milk: 4 μg

Zinc is used to create DNA

Zinc is found in cells throughout your body. It helps the immune system to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. The body also needs zinc to make proteins and DNA, the genetic material in all cells. During pregnancy, infancy and childhood, the body needs zinc to grow and develop properly. Zinc also helps to heal wounds and is important for the sense of taste and smell. Adults should consume approx. 10 mg of zinc per day. The guideline value here depends not only on gender, but also on phytate intake. The more phytates you consume in your diet, the higher your zinc requirement.27

How does zinc deficiency manifest itself?

It causes slow growth in infants and children, delayed sexual development in adolescents and impotence in men. Zinc deficiency also causes hair loss, diarrhea, eye and skin sores and loss of appetite. Weight loss, problems with wound healing, decreased ability to taste food, and decreased alertness may also occur.28

Natural sources of zinc (per 100 g)

Oysters: 61 mg
Hemp seeds: 10 mg
Tofu: 2 mg
Lentils: 1 mg
Oatmeal: 1 mg

Collapsible content

Sources

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