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Example: selection of foods that are good sources of the mineral magnesium are

Minerals are essential inorganic nutrients that the organism cannot produce itself; they must be supplied to him with the food . The substances mentioned here concern only the human or animal organism; Plants, fungi and bacteria sometimes need different minerals.

Since the minerals are not organic and the elements are mostly present as ions or in the form of inorganic compounds, they are, unlike some vitamins , insensitive to most preparation methods. For example, they cannot be destroyed by heat or air. However, many of them can be released from the food by excessively long cooking and are thus lost if the cooking water is not consumed but rather thrown away. Minerals are chemical compounds that the body needs for its functions (calcium for bone structure, iodine for hormone production in the thyroid). They are dissolved in liquids or food or are contained in traces. Minerals, on the other hand, are solid, usually crystallized (exception: opal) and always naturally formed macroscopically visible aggregates in the earth's crust, which can also be rock-forming (such as quartz, calcite, feldspars). Rocks are made up of minerals of which about 4000 types are known.

The terms mineral and rock do not describe the same thing. Minerals are often referred to as minerals for short, but this use in everyday life is misleading.

Classification and overview

The minerals in the body are divided into two dimensions. Quantity or macro elements are represented with a concentration higher than 50 mg / kg body weight. A required concentration of less than 50 mg / kg body weight applies to trace or micro- elements. In contrast to this, iron is one of the trace elements, but is represented at around 60 mg / kg body weight. For a number of trace elements, it has not yet been clarified whether they are an accidental part of humans or whether they are essential and have a physiological function.

The correct dosage is decisive for the function in all cases: Both deficiency and overdosing can be dangerous. Examples of this are arsenic or selenium poisoning in the event of overdoses or copper storage disease.

Set elements

Trace elements

essential for humans

probably essential for humans

possibly essential for humans

H   Hey
Li Be   B. C. N O F. No
N / A Mg   Al Si P S. Cl Ar
K Approx Sc   Ti V Cr Mn Fe Co Ni Cu Zn Ga Ge As Se Br Kr
Rb Sr Y   Zr Nb Mon Tc Ru Rh Pd Ag CD In Sn Sb Te I. Xe
Cs Ba La * Hf Ta W. re Os Ir Pt Au Ed Tl Pb Bi Po At Marg
Fr. Ra Ac ** Rf Db Sg Bra Hs Mt Ds Rg
  * Ce Pr Nd Pm Sm Eu Gd Tb Dy Ho He Tm Yb Lu
  ** Th Pa U Np Pooh At the Cm Bk Cf It Fm Md No Lr
organic basic elements Set elements essential trace elements probably essential trace elements possibly essential trace elements

Functions in the organism

Some minerals are in a functional control loop and influence each other, for example sodium and potassium, which act as antagonists in nerve signal conduction. Some are components of hormones , such as iodine (iodine) in the thyroid hormone. Others, such as some mass elements, dissolved as electrolytes in the form of positively charged cations and negatively charged anions, ensure electroneutrality in the body fluids between the tissues and maintain the osmotic pressure . Minerals exist in different chemical compounds (see under the individual minerals listed above). In most cases, only certain compounds, such as sodium and chloride in the form of table salt or zinc in the form of zinc chelate, are easily or at all available to the organism .

Web links

Wiktionary: Mineral  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. MA Zoroddu, J. Aashet, G. Crisponi, p Medici, M. Peana, VM Nurchi: The essential metals for humans: a letter overview . In: Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry . 195, June 2019, pp. 120–129. doi : 10.1016 / j.jinorgbio.2019.03.013 . PMID 30939379 .