Posted by: Chelsea Hampton | July 19, 2012

The Vast (and often confusing) World of Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements – Part II

  • Minerals – Iodine, Sodium, Manganese and Zinc, minerals are more complex than you’d think!

Just as there are essential vitamins, there are also minerals needed by the body for optimal functioning and health. These nutrients are divided into the categories of macrominerals and trace minerals. Macrominerals are needed by the body in larger amounts, and trace minerals are required in smaller amounts. The following is a list of both types of minerals and a brief description of their purpose in bodily functions:


Calcium – The most common and abundant mineral in the body, this nutrient is a primary agent in developing and maintaining healthy bones and teeth.

Phosphorous – This mineral also plays a role in the formation of bones and teeth, and also helps the body utilize carbohydrates, fats and protein.

Magnesium – This nutrient serves several purposes including aiding in the production of protein, aiding in muscle movement, and energy production and transport.

Sodium – Helps maintain the balance of fluids in the body and aids in the functioning of nerves and muscles.

Potassium – This mineral is an important electrolyte and is essential to functioning of the heart, as well as skeletal, digestive and muscle function.

Chloride – Just like sodium, chloride also helps keep a proper balance of fluids in the body.

Sulfur – Sulfur compounds have protective properties and other nutrients depend on sulfur in order to operate within the body.

Trace Minerals

Iron – Essential for creating hemoglobin for red blood cells.

Copper – Also aids in the formation of red blood cells and helps to keep bones, immune system, nerves and blood vessels healthy.

Manganese – Aids metabolism and the formation of connective-tissue and bones, and also helps with brain and nerve functioning.

Iodine – Required for cell metabolism and normal thyroid functioning.

Zinc – Essential for optimal functioning of the immune system, as well as for taste and smell.

Cobalt – Cobalt is important for making red blood cells and is part of the vitamin B12.

Flouride – Primarily associated with dental care, this mineral helps prevent tooth decay.

Selenium – Helps in preventing cell damage and promotes immune system functioning.

Again, this is merely a brief overview of the major minerals needed by the body for optimal functioning. Many of these minerals perform multiple functions and operate in conjunction with other nutrients in the body. Also, just as a nutrient deficiency can be detrimental to one’s health, so can having too much of a certain mineral! Do your own research utilizing reputable data, and consult a physician about your personal health needs. For more resources on Dietary Reference Intakes (RDIs) and Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), visit the Nutrition.Gov website at:

Information obtained and adapted from the following sources:

-Medline Plus: Minerals.

-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nutrition for Everyone: Vitamins and Minerals.

-Live Strong. Diet & Nutrition.

This information is provided courtesy of the Wyoming AgrAbility Project. For more information, visit our website or call toll-free at 866-395-4986.


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