Essential information about the types of minerals in food


There are two types of minerals in food – macro minerals (alternatively called major minerals) and trace minerals (alternatively called trace elements). Main difference between the two groups is in the amount of the elements our bodies require. We need much higher amounts of macro minerals compared to the amounts of trace minerals.

Recommended daily amounts for the macro minerals are typically in the range of few hundred milligrams to grams, while for the trace minerals in the range of micrograms to tens of milligrams depending on the particular element. Human body contains more than 5 grams of any macro mineral at a given time, while the content of any micro mineral is less than 5 grams.

Importance in human body

Both macro minerals and trace minerals are important for the proper function of human body. Macro minerals like potassium, sodium or chloride are contained in higher quantities, thus only missing a significant quantity of several hundred milligrams will have noticeable effect on body function. On the other hand, missing just a few micrograms of trace mineral selenium may have significant effect as its total body content is much lower.

List of macro minerals

These minerals belong to the macro minerals group:

  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Sodium
  • Chloride
  • Iodine
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium

List of trace minerals with RDA

These are the basic trace minerals with determined recommended daily amount:

  • Iron
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Chromium
  • Molybdenum
  • Zinc
  • Fluoride

It is important to mention that there are other trace minerals with non-determined daily requirements. Impact of these substances on human body was not so heavily studied and they may be considered less important, thus the recommended daily amount was not established. You can find some of these elements in the following list.

List of trace minerals without RDA

Following are some of the trace minerals without determined RDA:

  • Arsenic
  • Boron
  • Silicon
  • Vanadium
  • Nickel
  • Gold

Now that you know some basics about the two types of minerals in food, you can go ahead and learn more about minerals and their recommended amounts in this article.