Facts About Individual Minerals

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Page Index
     Calcium
     Phosphorous
     Iron
     Zinc
     Sodium
     Potassium
     Selenium
     Magnesium
     Copper
     Iodine
     Fluoride
     Chromium



Calcium
    Sources
        1. dairy products, canned fish, green leafy vegetables, soy bean foods
    Uses
        1. build and maintain bone matrix
        2. cell movements and muscle cell contraction
        3. transmission of impulses at synapses
        4. regulation of cell activities
        5. blood clotting
    Recommended dietary intake
        1. 800 mg per day
        2. 1,000 mg per day for many elderly
        3. 1,500 mg per day for postmenopausal women
    Causes of deficiencies
        1. inadequate eating
        2. inadequate dairy products from lactose intolerance
        3. excessive dietary fiber, phosphorous, aluminum (certain antacids), caffeine, or tea
        4. low vitamin D levels
        5. low stomach acid
        6. excessive elimination by the kidneys
        7. hormone changes after menopause
    Results from deficiencies
        1. bone demineralization and osteoporosis
        2. nerve and muscle malfunctions
    Causes of excesses
        1. supplements
    Results from excesses
        1. constipation
        2. urinary stones and other calcium deposits
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Phosphorous
    Sources
        1. dairy products, meats
    Uses
        1. bone matrix production and maintenance
        2. synthesis of energy compounds
        3. synthesis of DNA and RNA
        4. acid/base regulation (buffers)
        5. cell membrane structure (phospholipids)
    Recommended dietary intake
        1. 800 mg per day
    Causes of deficiencies
        1. inadequate eating
        2. excess aluminum antacid intake
        3. diarrhea
    Results from deficiencies
        1. bone demineralization and osteoporosis
    Causes of excesses
        1. carbonated beverages
    Results from excesses
        1. bone demineralization and osteoporosis
        2. muscle spasms
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Iron
    Sources
        1. meat, spinach, broccoli, peas and beans, egg yolk
    Uses
        1. synthesis hemoglobin for RBCs and myoglobin for muscle cells
        2. assists enzyme functions including energy production
        3. collagen and elastin synthesis
        4. immune function
    Recommended dietary intake
        1. 10 mg per day (15 mg before menopause)
    Causes of deficiencies
        1. inadequate eating
        2. low stomach acid
        3. high intake of calcium, fiber, tea
        4. chronic bleeding disorders (e.g., peptic ulcers, colon diseases)
        5. aspirin therapy (e.g., for osteoarthritis)
    Results from deficiencies
        1. anemia, weakness, fatigue
        2. reduced mental and immune function
    Causes of excesses
        1. supplements
    Results from excesses
        1. damage to liver, heart, or pancreas
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Zinc
    Sources
        1. green vegetables, grains, seafood, meats
    Uses
        1. assists many enzyme functions
        2. synthesis of proteins, DNA, RNA
        3. immune function
        4. control of insulin and vitamin A
        5. sense of taste
    Recommended dietary intake
        1. 12-15 mg per day
    Causes of deficiencies
        1. inadequate eating
        2. decreased absorption from aging
        3. high intakes of iron, calcium
        4. diabetes mellitus
    Results from deficiencies
        1. slower healing
        2. decreased immune function
        3. decreased taste or bad tastes in mouth
        4. impotence
    Causes of excesses
        1. supplements
    Results from excesses
        1. low HDLs
        2. decreased immune function
        3. GI tract irritation
        4. decreased iron and copper absorption
        5. abnormal muscle contractions
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Sodium
    Sources
        1. table salt, cheese, cured and pickled foods
    Uses
        1. acid-base balance
        2. regulating osmotic pressure
        3. conduction of impulses by cell membranes (action potentials)
    Recommended dietary intake
        1. 500 mg per day
    Causes of deficiencies
        1. dietary restrictions or use of medications (e.g., diuretics) to control high blood pressure
        2. insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
        3. diarrhea
    Results from deficiencies
        1. muscle cramps
        2. CNS and nerve malfunctions
    Causes of excesses
        1. adding salt to food
        2. processed foods
    Results from excesses
        1. high blood pressure, edema
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Potassium
    Sources
        1. vegetables, grains, bananas, meats, milk
    Uses
        1. acid-base balance
        2. regulating osmotic pressure
        3. conduction of impulses by cell membranes (i.e., action potentials)
        4. assists enzyme functions
    Recommended dietary intake
        1. 2,000 mg per day
    Causes of deficiencies
        1. inadequate eating
        2. dietary restrictions or use of medications (e.g., diuretics) to control high blood pressure
        3. insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
        4. diarrhea
        5. profuse sweating
        6. anti-inflammatory steroid therapy (e.g., for osteoarthritis)
    Results from deficiencies
        1. irregular heart functioning (i.e., arrhythmias)
        2. muscle cramps
        3. CNS and nerve malfunctions
    Causes of excesses
        1. kidney disease
    Results from excesses
        1. muscle weakness
        2. weak heart, heart failure
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Selenium
    Sources
        1. seafood, meats, grains, milk, eggs
    Uses
        1. activates anti-oxidant enzymes (e.g., protects lungs and cell membranes, reduces cancer risk)
    Recommended dietary intake
        1. 55-70 micrograms per day
    Causes of deficiencies
        1. inadequate eating
        2. eating foods from selenium-poor soils
    Results from deficiencies
        1. decreases immune response
        2. weakness
    Causes of excesses
        1. supplements
        2. foods from areas with selenium pollution
    Results from excesses
        1. damage to liver and nerves
        2. weakness
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Magnesium
    Sources
        1. dairy products, green leafy vegetables, whole grains
    Uses
        1. assists enzyme functions including energy production
        2. nerve and muscle functioning
        3. synthesis of DNA and RNA
    Recommended dietary intake
        1. 280-350 mg per day
    Causes of deficiencies
        1. inadequate eating
        2. excess calcium intake
        3. alcoholism
        4. diarrhea
        5. medications to reduce high blood pressure (e.g., diuretics)
    Results from deficiencies
        1. loss of coordination, tremors
        2. irregular heart function (i.e., arrhythmias)
    Causes of excesses
        1. kidney failure
    Results from excesses
        1. diarrhea
        2. weakness
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Copper
    Sources
        1. meats, peas, beans, grains
    Uses
        1. assists enzymes functions
        2. assists in synthesis of norepinephrine, myelin, collagen strengthening, blood clots
        3. assists immune functions
        4. iron absorption
    Recommended dietary intake
        1. 1.5-3 mg per day
   Causes of deficiencies
        1. antacids
        2. intestinal surgery
        3. zinc supplements
    Results from deficiencies
        1. bone demineralization
        2. high blood cholesterol
        3. low WBCs
        4. anemia
    Causes of excesses
        1. supplements
    Results from excesses
        1. vomiting
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Iodine
    Sources
        1. seafood, iodized table salt
    Uses
        1. production of thyroid hormone (thyroxine - controls metabolic rates such as BMR)
        2. decreases adverse effects from radiation (e.g., radiation therapy for cancer)
    Recommended dietary intake
        1. 150 mg per day
    Causes of deficiencies
        1. inadequate intake
    Results from deficiencies
        1. inadequate thyroid hormone (slow metabolic rates)
        2. thyroid enlargement (goiter)
    Causes of excesses
        1. food contaminated with iodine-containing sterilizing agents
        2. eating much seaweed
    Results from excesses
        1. inadequate thyroid hormone production (slow metabolic rates)
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Fluoride
    Sources
        1. seafood
        2. fluoridated water, supplements
    Uses
        1. hardening teeth and bones
        2. preventing dental cavities
        3. possible treatment of osteoporosis
    Recommended dietary intake
        1. 1.5-4 mg per day
    Causes of deficiencies
        1. none in adults
    Causes of excesses
        1. supplements to treat osteoporosis
    Results from excesses
        1. local increase in bone matrix
        2. gastritis
        3. pain in bones and joints
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Chromium
    Sources
        1. many foods
    Uses
        1. increases effectiveness of insulin
        2. control blood cholesterol and LDLs
    Recommended dietary intake
        1. 50-200 micrograms per day
    Causes of deficiencies
        1. rare - inadequate intake
    Results from deficiencies
        1. low glucose tolerance, increased risk of diabetes mellitus
        2. elevated blood cholesterol and LDLs
    Causes of excesses
        1. industrial pollution, paints
    Results from excesses
        1. liver damage
        2. lung cancer

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© Copyright 1999 - Augustine G. DiGiovanna - All rights reserved.
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