ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Minerals: Their functions, deficiency symptoms, recommended daily intake and natural sources

Updated on June 5, 2019
srirad0675 profile image

Srikanth is passionate about helping people stay healthy. He believes that consuming nutritious food is the key to a long and healthy life.

Human Body Needs Minerals

Human beings all over the world endeavor to lead a healthy life. But in today’s competitive, stressful and polluted world, achieving this endeavor is indeed a challenge. Consuming a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet assures good health.

Human body needs minerals for its normal functioning. Here is a brief overview of minerals, their functions, deficiency symptoms and natural sources.

Major minerals and trace minerals

Minerals are categorized as major minerals and trace minerals. Major minerals are required by the body in doses of 100 mg/day or more. Calcium, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine and magnesium are examples of major minerals.

Trace minerals are a those minerals that human body needs in very small amounts. Iron, cobalt, copper, zinc, molybdenum, iodine and selenium are examples of trace minerals.


Functions of calcium

Human body contains more calcium than any other mineral. Calcium is necessary for healthy and strong bones and teeth. It promotes normal functioning of heart muscles and nerves. It also plays a significant role in the blood clotting process.

Symptoms of calcium deficiency

Muscle cramps, dry skin, increased PMS symptoms, bone breakage, late signs of puberty, bone fracture, weak nails, insomnia, poor bone density, tooth decay and brittle nails are some known symptoms of calcium deficiency.

Natural sources of calcium

Low fat cheese, fortified soy products, dark leafy greens, low fat yogurt, Chinese cabbage, cooked okra, broccoli, low fat milk, green snap beans and almonds are rich in calcium.

Almonds are rich in calcium

Nutrition poll

Who do you think is responsible to spread awareness about the importance of consuming a balanced diet?

See results


Functions of phosphorus

Phosphorus is essential for a healthy cellular system. It plays a major role in repairing body cells. It is necessary for normal growth of cells. It promotes strong and healthy bones and teeth. It plays a significant role in energy metabolism in the body. It also maintains acid base balance in the body.

Symptoms of phosphorus deficiency

Phosphorous and calcium account for 75 percent of total mineral element in the human body. Weak bones, joint pain, weak teeth, lack of appetite, joint stiffness and fatigue are some known symptoms of phosphorus deficiency.

Natural sources of phosphorus

Sesame seeds, rice bran, roasted soybeans, sunflower seeds, oat bran, squash seeds, toasted wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, cheese, watermelon seeds, tahini, Brazil nuts and flax seeds are natural sources of phosphorus.

Sunflower seeds are rich in phosphorous

Gozinaki from Sunflower seeds
Gozinaki from Sunflower seeds


Functions of potassium

Potassium is a major cat ion inside animal cells. It is necessary for the normal functioning of the nerve impulses and the muscular system. It is required for maintaining proper fluid balance. It promotes a healthy cardiovascular system.

Symptoms of potassium deficiency

Muscular weakness, paralysis, frequent urination, stiff muscles, muscular cramps, extreme thirst, abdominal pain, muscle pain, muscular spasms, heart palpitations, muscular tetany, numbness, tingling, abdominal cramping, muscle tenderness, dizziness, fainting and abdominal bloating are some symptoms of potassium deficiency.

Natural sources of potassium

White beans, carrots, raisins, tomatoes, dark leafy greens, baked potatoes, dried apricots, baked acorn squash, plain yogurt, bananas, white mushroom and avocados are high in potassium.

White Beans are rich in potassium

Healthy hair


Functions of sulfur

Sulfur is found in all the cells of the body. It plays a significant role in many biochemical reactions (like enzyme reactions and protein synthesis) in the body. It promotes healthy hair, skin and nails. It maintains healthy oxygen levels in the body and protects the joints. It is one among the minerals good for hair.

Symptoms of sulfur deficiency

Itchy skin, eczema, acne, itchy scalp, diaper rash, tooth ache, nose bleeds, measles, cold, joint pain, migraine headaches, flatulence, indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, impotence and sore throat are some symptoms of sulfur deficiency.

Natural sources of sulfur

Aloe vera, artichoke, arugula, avocado, bee pollen, Brussels sprouts, dill, radish, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes, turnips, hemp seeds, horseradish, kale, legumes, lima beans, peaches and pears are rich in sulfur.

Aloe vera is rich in sulfur

Spinach contains sodium


Functions of sodium

Sodium plays a significant role in maintaining a healthy blood pressure. It is required for a healthy nervous system. It promotes muscular health. It maintains normal osmotic pressure and water balance of the body. It is necessary for the absorption of glucose and for transportation of other nutrients across membranes.

Symptoms of sodium deficiency

Hyponatremia is the medical term for sodium deficiency. Muscle cramps (especially in the muscles of the extremities), headache, fatigue, apathy, feeling of weakness and nausea are some common symptoms of sodium deficiency.

Natural sources of sodium

Spinach, fenugreek, pulses, sun dried tomatoes, salted peanuts, salted almonds, salted cahdew, peppers, buttermilk and serials are known natural sources of sodium. Common salt is the chief source of sodium in our diet.


Functions of chlorine

Chlorine purifies the blood by expelling waster matter. It is the chief anion in the body. Chlorides if sodium and potassium regulate osmotic pressure in the tissues. It prevents build up of excessive fat.

Symptoms of chlorine deficiency

Heat cramps, excessive perspiration, burns, kidney disorders, congestive heart failure, Addison’s disease, hair loss, problems related to the digestive system, dental problems and disturbance in fluid levels in the body are some symptoms of deficiency in chlorine.

Natural sources of chlorine

Wheat, barley, grains, pulses, dulse, kelp, melon, olives, pineapple and green leafy vegetables are good sources of chlorine. Table salt is the main source of sodium in our diet.



Functions of magnesium

Magnesium promotes healthy bones and teeth. It is required for healthy functioning of the nervous system. It plays a significant role in energy metabolism. It enables many biochemical processes. It is essential for healthy cells.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency

Heart problems, weakness, muscular cramps, tremors, respiratory problems, dizziness, poor memory, confusion, nausea, anxiety and high blood pressure are some known symptoms of magnesium deficiency.

Natural sources of magnesium

Soybeans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, black beans, cashew nuts, dark leafy greens like spinach, Brazil nuts, squash, sesame seeds, almonds and okra are good sources of magnesium.

Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium

Kale is rich in iron


Functions of iron

Iron plays a significant role in transferring oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. It is required for a healthy respiratory system. It is necessary for energy metabolism. It is needed for a healthy immune system.

Symptoms of iron deficiency

Fatigue, swollen tongue, brittle nails, sore tongue, enlarged spleen, cracks in the sides of the mouth, restless legs syndrome and frequent infections are some common symptoms of iron deficiency.

Natural sources of iron

Squash, pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts, pine, hazel nuts, peanuts, almonds, beans, pluses, whole grains, fortified cereals, bran, cocoa powder and dark leafy greens are good sources of iron.


Functions of cobalt

Cobalt is necessary for the normal functioning of the pancreas. It is required for hemoglobin formation. It promotes normal growth of the human body. It plays a significant role in iron absorption.

Symptoms of cobalt deficiency

Chronic fatigue syndrome, slow muscle growth, nerve damage, fibromyalgia, digestive disorders, pernicious anemia and poor circulation are some symptoms of cobalt deficiency.

Natural sources of cobalt

Organic apricots, sea vegetables, Irish moss, nuts, cereals (like oats) green leafy vegetables (like broccoli and spinach) and apricot kernels are some natural sources of cobalt. Cobalt is a vitamin B 12 mineral. Vitamin B12 is the only vitamin which contains a trace element cobalt.

Irish moss contains cobalt


Functions of copper

Copper plays a significant role in formation of RBC (red blood cells). It is required for healthy blood vessels. It promotes a healthy nervous system and a healthy immune system. It is necessary for strong and healthy bones.

Symptoms of copper deficiency

Anemia, infections, low immunity, loss of sensation, difficulty in walking, loss of balance, depression, speech problems and tremor are common symptoms of copper deficiency.

Natural sources of copper

Whole grains, beans, nuts, potatoes, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, sun dried tomatoes, roasted pumpkin, squash seeds, dark leafy greens, dried fruits, cocoa, black pepper and yeast are good sources of copper.

Potato contains copper

Whole grains contain zinc

Whole grain French toast
Whole grain French toast


Functions of zinc

Zinc is necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system. It plays a significant role in cell division and cell growth. It is required for breakdown of carbohydrates. It promotes healing of wounds. It is one among the minerals good for skin.

Symptoms of zinc deficiency

Diarrhea, abnormal brain development, skin lesions, poor immune system, slow healing of wounds, eye lesions and skin problems are some commons symptoms of zinc deficiency.

Natural sources of zinc

Nuts, whole grains, legumes, yeast, toasted wheat germ, roasted pumpkin seeds, roasted squash seeds, dried watermelon seeds, dark chocolate, cocoa powder and peanuts are good sources of zinc.

Human cell nucleus


Functions of molybdenum

Molybdenum helps break down toxic build up due to sulfites. It promotes healthy functioning of the cells. It plays a significant role in nitrogen metabolism. It prevents cavities.

Symptoms of molybdenum deficiency

Liver problems, jaundice, nausea, fatigue, headache, tachypnea, tachycardia, vomiting, coma, seizures, lens dislocation, retardation and opisthotonus are possible symptoms of molybdenum deficiency.

Natural sources of molybdenum

Black beans, walnuts, lentils, peas, liver tomatoes, carrot, navy beans, lima beans, kidney beans, almonds, peanuts, chestnuts, cashews and green soybeans are some natural sources of molybdenum.

Black beans are rich in molybdenum


Functions of iodine

Iodine is required for cell metabolism. It is required for the normal functioning of the thyroid glands. It supports the process of apoptosis (programmed death of unhealthy cells). It supports protein synthesis. It also enhances ATP production.

Symptoms of iodine deficiency

Choking, difficulty in breathing, abnormal menstrual cycles, deafness, gait, mental deficiency, posture disorders, depression, fatigue, dry skin and difficulty in swallowing are some common symptoms of iodine deficiency.

Natural sources of iodine

Iodized salt, dry seaweed, baked potato with peel, sea vegetables, cranberries, organic yogurt, organic navy beans, milk, organic strawberries, Himalayan crystal salt and boiled eggs are some known sources of iodine.

Cranberries contain iodine

Garlic is rich in selenium


Functions of selenium

Selenium protects the body after a vaccination. It prevents cell damage. It protects the body from poisonous effects of some heavy metals and other harmful substances. Some experts are of the opinion that it prevents cancer.

Symptoms of selenium deficiency

Selenium deficiency causes Keshan disease. Kashin-Beck disease is caused by selenium deficiency. This medical condition affects the bones and joints. Mental retardation is a common symptom of selenium deficiency.

Natural sources of selenium

Garlic, shiitake mushrooms, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, oats, crimini mushrooms, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, button mushrooms, wheat germ and barley are good sources of selenium.

Recommended daily intake (RDI) of minerals

Minerals essential for human body
1,000 mg
700 mg
4,700 mg
500 mg
1,500 mg
2,300 mg
420 mg
18 mg
1.5 µg of vitamin B12
900 µg
8 mg
45 µg
150 µg
55 µg
Consuming appropriate amount of minerals daily will ensure good health.

Minerals are necessary for general health and overall well-being. A well balanced diet should include the above-mentioned minerals. As far as possible it is advisable to get your minerals from natural sources. Have minerals in food. However, you may take supplements if your doctor advises you to do so.


  • Minerals are categorized as major minerals and trace minerals.
  • Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body.
  • Phosphorus is necessary for cellular health.
  • Potassium is required for healthy muscular and nervous system.
  • Iron is necessary for energy metabolism.
  • Cobalt is required for normal functioning of pancreas.
  • Zinc promotes a healthy immune system.

Nutrition poll

Do you think you are getting enough minerals?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Srikanth R


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • srirad0675 profile imageAUTHOR

      Srikanth R 

      2 years ago


    • profile image


      2 years ago


    • srirad0675 profile imageAUTHOR

      Srikanth R 

      5 years ago

      You are welcome!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Very helpful, thanks!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)