Your body needs minerals, inorganic compounds commonly called elements, to support essential functions like nerve transmission, muscle contraction
Your body needs minerals, inorganic compounds commonly called elements, to support essential functions like nerve transmission, muscle contraction and hormone production. Nutritionists use the term macromineral to describe the minerals your body needs in large amounts, such as calcium and magnesium. Minerals needed in only small amounts, generally less than 20 milligrams per day, are called trace minerals.
Adult men and postmenopausal women need 8 milligrams of iron per day, according to the Institute of Medicine. Women between the ages of 19 and 50 need more iron, approximately 18 milligrams, to support iron loss during menstruation. Iron is necessary to produce the proteins hemoglobin, found in red blood cells, and myoglobin, found in muscle cells. These proteins bind to oxygen and carry it to the cells throughout the body. Iron also supports brain development, immune function and temperature regulation.
Adult women require 8 milligrams of zinc per day, while adult men need 11 milligrams per day. Zinc promotes enzyme activity, supports immune function and aids in wound healing, DNA synthesis and cell division.
Your body needs manganese to produce connective tissues and bones. Manganese also supports the production of sex hormones, the regulation of blood sugar and the absorption of calcium. The proper breakdown of dietary fats and carbohydrates also requires adequate amounts of manganese. Women should consume 1.8 milligrams per day and men need 2.3 milligrams.
The Institute of Medicine sets the recommended intake of copper at 900 micrograms per day for adults. Your body uses copper to produce enzymes needed to facilitate the production of energy and produce the important neurotransmitters epinephrine, norepinephrine, histamine, serotonin and dopamine.
Although your body does not need fluoride to promote growth or sustain life, it fulfills an important purpose in preventing tooth decay. To keep your teeth healthy, women require 3 milligrams per day, while men should consume 4 milligrams per day.
Molybdenum, a less well known mineral found in legumes and grains, is necessary for the production of enzymes that support chemical reactions in the body. The Institute of Medicine recommends adults consume 45 micrograms per day.
Your thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, contains the only cells in your body that absorb iodine. The thyroid uses iodine to produce two thyroid hormones — triiodothyronine, referred to as T3, and thyroxine, called T4. Thyroid hormones regulate the functions of every cell. Although vital, your body needs only 150 micrograms of iodine a day.
The amount of chromium your body needs depends upon your age and gender. Adult men ages 19 to 50 need 35 micrograms, while those over the age of 50 need 30 micrograms per day. Women need slightly less — 25 micrograms for those age 19 to 50, and 20 micrograms over the age of 50. Chromium enhances the action of insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and protein.
Selenium combines with proteins in the body to form selenoproteins that act as antioxidants, compounds that protect cells from damage caused by negatively charged particles. Adults should consume 55 micrograms of selenium per day.
- Linus Pauling Institute: Iodine
- Endocrineweb: How Your Thyroid Works
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: Chromium
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: Selenium