Minerals and trace elements

Key points

  • Minerals are inorganic substances required by the body in small amounts for a variety of different functions.
  • Minerals are involved in the formation of bones and teeth; they are essential constituents of body fluids and tissues; they are components of enzyme systems and they are involved in normal nerve function.
  • The body requires different amounts of each mineral; people have different requirements, according to their age, sex, physiological state (e.g. pregnancy) and sometimes their state of health.
  • The Department of Health has published Dietary Reference Values (DRVs) for minerals for different groups of healthy people.
  • What are minerals?
  • Requirements and recommended dietary intakes; bioavailability and absorption of minerals; deficiencies and excess intakes
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorous
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Iodine
  • Fluoride
  • Copper
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Chromium and other trace elements


The mineral content of foods and drinks can be found in McCance and Widdowson’s ‘composition of foods integrated dataset’ on the nutrient content of the UK food supply, which can be viewed here.

About the Author


No Comments

Leave a Reply