Dietary Minerals


Dietary minerals are the chemical elements required by the human body, other than the four organic basic elements:

  • Carbon
  • Hydrogen
  • Nitrogen
  • Oxygen

Dietary minerals are often categorized into macrominerals and mircominerals. This categorization is based on the abundance of the meinerals in the human body.

There are 8 macrominerals that have been identified and that are required for biological activity in the human body. They include:

  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Sulfur
  • Sodium
  • Chlorine
  • Magnesium
  • Silicone

There are about 19 microminerals or trace minerals that have known biological activity in the human body.

There are 8 microminerals that are considered the most important for the human body.  They  include:

  • Iron
  • Cobalt
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Molybdenum
  • Iodine
  • Selenium

The other 11 microminerals that have biological activity in the human body with less importance include:

  • Barium
  • Boron
  • Chromium
  • Fluoride
  • Germanium
  • Lithium         
  • Nickel
  • Rubidium
  • Strontium
  • Tin
  • Vanadium

All other minerals that are claimed to be trace minerals have no known native biological role in the human body. A partial list of such non-biological minerals include the following:

Aluminum, Antimony, Beryllium, Bismuth, Bromine, Cadmium, Cerium, Cesium, Dysprosium, Erbium, Europium, Gadolinium, Gallium, Hafnium, Holmium, Indium, Iridium, Lanthanum, Lutetium, Neodymium, Niobium, Osmium, Palladium, Platinum, Praseodymium, Rhenium, Rhodium, Rubidium, Ruthenium, Samarium, Scandium, Silver, Tantalum, Tellurium, Terbium ,Thallium, Thorium, Thulium, Titanium, Tungsten, Ytterbium, Yttrium, Zirconium.

The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has published Recommended Dietary Allowances and Adequate Intakes for Elements (Minerals). 

Download:  Recommended Dietary Allowances and Adequate Intakes, Elements (Institute of Medicine)  (PDF)

The following Tables illustrates the Macrominerals and Microminerals and their quantity in an average human body as well as the RDA for a male and female age 31-50 years.  The Recommended Dietary Allowances and Adequate Intakes, Elements document lists the RDA for other age groups as well as pregnant women, lactation, infants and children.

Macrominerals (Quantity in body and RDA)

MacromineralQuantity present in average (70 kg/154.4lbs) personRDA (mg) 31-50 year MaleRDA (mg) 31-50 year Female
Calcium1.1 kg1000 mg1000 mg
Chlorine199 g2300 mg2300 mg
Magnesium35 g420 mg320 mg
Phosphorus750 g700 mg700 mg
Potassium225 g4700 mg4700 mg
Sulfur150 gNo RDANo RDA
Sodium90 g1500 mg1500 mg
Silicone30 gNo RDANo RDA

Microminerals (Quantity in body and RDA)

MicromineralQuantity present in average (70 kg/154.4lbs) personRDA (mg) 31-50 year MaleRDA (mg) 31-50 year Female
Barium22 mgnonenone
Chromium6 mg50 to 200mcg50 to 200mcg
Cobalt20 mgnonenone
Copper90 mg0.900 mg0.900 mg
Fluoride2600 mg3.8 mg3.1 mg
Iodine15 mg0.150 mg0.150 mg
Iron4200 mg8 mg8 mg
Lithium2.5 mg1 mg1 mg
Manganese13 mg2.3 mg2.3 mg
Molybdenum8 mg0.045 mg0.045 mg
Nickel11 mgnonenone
Rubidium350 mgnonenone
Selenium15 mg0.055 mg0.055 mg
Strontium320 mgnonenone
Tin15 mgNoneNone
Vanadium20 mgNoneNone
Zinc2400 mg11 mg11 mg

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