Minerals and their natural sources
Minerals are elements that our bodies need in small quantities, and which have to be taken orally as the body cannot synthesize them, and this is why they are considered as essential nutrients. Minerals take part in the structure of the human body; they are important components of bodily fluids and are necessary for overall normal functioning. Our body needs numerous minerals, and the fact that some of them are needed in very small quantities doesn’t make them any less important.
The body needs different amounts of any individual mineral, as each of them performs a different set of functions. Requirements differ depending on age, gender, physiological condition (e.g. pregnancy or lactation), degree of physical activity (sweating), as well as overall health.
The essential minerals needed by the body can be secured from natural sources, and by proper choices of food and water we consume, so it is always a good idea to improve one’s diet before starting to take supplements. The mineral requirements of the majority of the population can, in most cases, be met through proper diet, and that’s what we should strive for, because supplements are not a replacement for a proper diet.
Natural mineral waters contain numerous ingredients in various concentrations and ratios, which mostly depends on the composition of the rocks through which they flow. Most often the main dissolved components are the cations of calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+), sodium (Na+), and potassium (K+), and anions, hydrogen carbonate/bicarbonate (HCO3-), sulphate (SO42-) and chloride (Cl-). Predominant minerals and their quantities are always listed on the label of the natural mineral water. In terms of total mineralisation, it is possible to distinguish between those with a low total quantity of minerals – up to 500 mg/l, and waters rich in minerals, which contain more than 1.5 g of minerals per litre. They can contribute to the total daily intake of certain minerals and can be an important factor in the realisation of a balanced diet.
|Mineral||Daily reference intake for adults||Functions in the body||Sources in diet|
|Potassium||2000 mg||Contributes to the normal function of muscles, nerves, and the maintenance of normal blood pressure levels||dried apricots and plums, dried grapes, pumpkins, potatoes, vetches, bananas, tomatoes, oranges|
|Sodium||not determined; 2000 mg is considered adequate||Involved in muscle and nerve function, regulation and balancing of bodily fluids, electrolytes and blood pressure, the transport of nutrients through the membranes||Table salt (sodium chloride) and the food items it is added to, natural mineral water that naturally contains sodium|
|Chloride||800 mg||Contributes to normal digestion by creating stomach acid||Table salt (sodium chloride) and the food items it is added to, natural mineral water that naturally contains chloride|
|Calcium||800 mg||Needed for the growth and development of bones in children, the maintenance of the normal function of bones and teeth, muscle function and neurotransmission, the function of digestive enzymes, the creation of energy, blood coagulation||Milk, yoghurt, cheese, sardines with bones (canned), chard, kale, broccoli, dried figs, oranges, natural mineral water that naturally contains calcium|
|Phosphorus||700 mg||Needed for the growth and development of bones in children, the maintenance of the normal function of bones and teeth, the creation of energy, normal function of cell membranes||Yoghurt, milk, cheese, chicken breast, potatoes, lentils, beans|
|Magnesium||375 mg||Helps reduce fatigue and exhaustion, creation of energy, normal function of nerves and muscles including the heart, normal psychological functioning, protein synthesis, electrolytes balance, maintenance of the normal function of bones and teeth, cell division||Natural mineral water than naturally contains magnesium, seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower), nuts (almonds), whole grains, vetches, dark green leafy vegetables|
|Iron||14 mg||Contributes to the normal creation of red blood cells and haemoglobin, transport of oxygen through the body, creation of energy, reducing fatigue, cognitive function, immune||system Liver (chicken, beef), baby beef, turkey, lamb, tuna, eggs, dried grapes, vetches, whole grains, spinach|
|Zinc||10 mg||Contributes to normal cognitive function, the maintenance of acid-alkaline balance, immune system, protection of the cells from oxidative stress, fertility, protein synthesis, maintenance of normal vision, bones, skin, hair, nails, cell division||Oysters, crabs, lobster, baby beef, pork, chicken, vetches, seeds (pumpkin)|
|Fluoride||3,5 mg||Contributes to the maintenance of teeth mineralisation||Oral hygiene products with added fluoride, potable water (if it contains any), Natural mineral water that naturally contains fluoride|
|Manganese||2 mg||Contributes to normal energy creation, protection of the cells from oxidative stress, the maintenance of normal bone function and normal forming of connective tissue||Shellfish, nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts), whole grains, vetches, spinach, pineapple|
|Copper||1 mg||Contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system and the protection of cells from oxidative stress, nerve function, creation of energy, maintenance of the normal function of the connective tissue, hair and skin pigmentation||Beef liver, oysters, dark chocolate, skin cooked potatoes, sunflower seeds, dried figs|
|Iodine||150 μg||Contributes to the normal synthesis of thyroid hormones and its normal function, creation of energy, nervous system function, cognitive function, skin maintenance, normal growth in children||Iodised table salt, fish, milk, yoghurt, eggs, natural mineral water that naturally contains iodine|
|Selenium||55 μg||Contributes to normal thyroid function, immune system function and the protection of cells from oxidative stress, normal spermatogenesis, maintenance of hair and nails||Brazil nuts, tuna, sardines (canned), ham, baby beef, turkey, fresh cow cheese, milk, yoghurt|
|Molybdenum||50 μg||Contributes to the normal metabolism of amino acids||Beef liver, yoghurt, milk, skin baked potatoes, bananas, peanuts, eggs, spinach|
|Chromium||40 μg||Contributes to the maintenance of normal levels of blood glucose and the metabolism of macronutrients||Broccoli, grape juice, garlic (dried, in granules), potatoes|
mg= miligram; μg= microgram
EFSA NDA Panel. Scientific Opinion on the dietary reference values for sodium. EFSA Journal 2019;17(9):5778, 191 pp.
Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the provision of food information to consumers.
Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on nutrition and health claims made on foods
NIH National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets.