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Major Minerals and Their Functions

Updated on April 27, 2017

What Are Major Minerals?

Also known as macrominerals, major minerals are those that are required by the body in amounts greater than 100 mg/day. These inorganic nutrients perform many critical functions in the body.

Here are various functions performed by major minerals.

Calcium

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. It makes up around 2 percent of the total body weight. It prevents many diseases like colorectal cancer and systolic blood pressure. It facilitates absorption of other essential nutrients. You daily calcium intake should be between 1,000 mg and 1,200 mg.

Calcium keeps your bones and teeth strong and healthy. In fact the body uses 99 percent of its calcium to keep the skeletal system strong. This macromineral is necessary for normal blood clotting. It promotes a healthy nervous system.

Calcium plays a critical role in cell signalling and muscle contraction. This major mineral is critical for overall health as it performs many functions. It is very important to include calcium rich food in your diet.

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Calcium is necessary for a healthy skeletal system.
Calcium is necessary for a healthy skeletal system. | Source

Magnesium

This major mineral is required for more than 300 biochemical reactions. Half of the magnesium in the body is found in the bones. It prevents diseases like osteoporosis and keeps your bones strong and healthy.

This major mineral is necessary for a healthy muscular system and nervous system. It reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. It improves serum lipid profiles and reduce blood pressure.

Magnesium keeps the heart beating steadily. It is needed for production and transport of energy. Spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds almonds and black beans are some magnesium rich foods.

Magnesium is necessary for steady heartbeat.
Magnesium is necessary for steady heartbeat. | Source

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is the second-most abundant mineral in the body. It promotes healthy formation of bones and teeth. Around 85 percent of phosphorus in the body is found in bones, and the remaining 15 percent is spread throughout soft tissues.

Phosphorus is necessary for the healthy functioning of each and every cell in the body. It facilitates the production of proteins, which are needed for growth, maintenance and repair of cells. All cells in the human body contain phosphorus.

This major mineral is needed for energy production and storage. It is necessary for storage and transmission of genetic material. Phosphorus activates enzymes, hormones and cell-signaling molecules. It helps carry oxygen to tissues and maintain normal acid-base balance by acting as a buffer.

Phosphorus is needed for healthy cells.
Phosphorus is needed for healthy cells. | Source

Potassium

This macronutrient is necessary for heart health. It's primary function is to serve as an electrolyte. It is important for maintaining fluid balance. It is required for nerve impulse function and muscle contraction. It promotes a strong and healthy skeletal system. Include potassium rich food items like banana in your diet.

Potassium promotes a healthy muscular system.
Potassium promotes a healthy muscular system. | Source

Chloride

Chloride maintains the balance of various body fluids. This major mineral is an integral part of hydrochloric acid, which plays a critical role in digestion. This macromineral is necessary for maintenance of acid-base balance in the body.

Chloride is necessary for digestion.
Chloride is necessary for digestion. | Source

Sulfur

Sulfur is an integral part of many amino acids, which are building blocks of various proteins. This macromineral keeps the blood clean and healthy. It promotes a healthy immune system. It protects the protoplasm of cells. It is needed for various enzyme reactions.

Sulfur keeps the blood healthy.
Sulfur keeps the blood healthy. | Source

Sodium

Sodium promotes a healthy blood pressure. It is necessary for the normal functioning of the nervous system. This major mineral keeps your muscles strong and healthy. Sodium facilitates removal of extra fluids from the body.

Sodium promotes a healthy nervous system.
Sodium promotes a healthy nervous system. | Source

Macromineral Requirement and Natural Sources

Macromineral
Daily Intake
Natural Source
Calcium
Age 1-3: 700 mg/day Age 4-8: 1,000 mg/day Age 9-18: 1,300 mg/day Age 19-50: 1,000 mg/day Women age 51+: 1,200 mg/day Men age 71+: 1,200 mg/day
Dark leafy greens
Magnesium
Men age 19-30: 400 mg/day Men age 31 and up: 420 mg/day Women age 19-30: 310 mg/day Women age 31 and up: 320 mg/day
Nuts
Phosphorus
700 mg/day
Beans
Potassium
Adults over the age of 19, adolescents between 14 and 18 years old and pregnant women should consume 4,700 milligrams of potassium each day, says the Food and Nutrition Board. Nursing women over the age of 14 need more: 5,100 milligrams daily.
Potatoes
Chloride
Age 19-50: 2,300 mg/day Age 50-70: 2,000 mg/day Age 70 and older: 1,800 mg/day
Tomatoes
Sulfur
800-900 mg
Legumes
Sodium
Age 19-50: 1,500 mg/day Age 51-70: 1,300 mg/day Age 71 and up: 1,200 mg/day
Beets

Summary

  • Major minerals are also known as macrominerals.
  • Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body.
  • Magnesium keeps the heart beating steadily.
  • Phosphorus is necessary for healthy formation of bones.
  • Potassium serves as an electrolyte.

I believe that parents need to make nutrition education a priority in their home environment. It's crucial for good health and longevity to instill in your children sound eating habits from an early age.

— Cat Cora

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