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Minerals are elements with a crystalline structure (they cannot be further broken down) that are essential for the proper functioning of our body (essential). They can be macro- or microelements. Macronutrients are minerals whose daily intake exceeds 100 mg. So we can consume hundreds of mg or even several grams of these minerals per day. These include:

  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Chlorine
  • Sulphur

Microelements (also known as trace elements), minerals whose daily intake does not exceed 100 mg. They include:

  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Iodine
  • Zinc
  • Cobalt
  • Fluorine
  • Selenium
  • Chromium

The above list does not include all minerals, it does not include trace elements that are supposedly essential (not produced in the body) such as nickel, tin, etc., or trace elements with unknown functions such as mercury, gold, etc. All of these minerals enter the body (think of the negligible amount of mercury in tuna), but not all of them are known to play a role (or even have a role).

Minerals play many different roles in our bodies. Among other things, they influence biological reactions, enzymes, are involved in cell-cell interactions and affect hormone levels.

To give you a couple of examples, in order for two nerve cells to communicate electrically, you need sodium, chlorine, calcium, potassium and, if the nerve cell is connected to a muscle, magnesium and sulphur.

To get the sugar from the blood into the cells via insulin, you need chromium, magnesium, zinc, manganese, selenium, molybdenum and probably vanadium.

So the minerals work together to produce an impressively broad spectrum of effects. That's why they are essential for anyone who exercises regularly, has a higher inflammation factor or is suffering from a disease. In such cases, supplementation with certain minerals is key. 

If you are regularly tired, or suffer from depression, or even if you are often cold, you may need these naturally occurring elements.