Merck Manual

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Minerals

Minerals

Mineral

Good Sources

Main Functions

Recommended Dietary Allowance for Adults*

Safe Upper Limit

Milk and milk products, meat, fish eaten with the bones (such as sardines), eggs, and fortified cereal products

Required for the formation of bone and teeth, for blood clotting, for normal muscle function, for the normal functioning of many enzymes, and for normal heart rhythm

1,000 milligrams

1,200 milligrams for people over 50

2,500 milligrams

Chloride

Salt, beef, pork, sardines, cheese, green olives, corn bread, potato chips, sauerkraut, and processed or canned foods (usually as salt)

Involved in electrolyte balance

1,000 milligrams

Liver, processed meats, whole-grain cereals, and nuts

Enables insulin to function ( insulin controls blood sugar levels)

Helps in the processing (metabolism) and storage of carbohydrates, protein, and fat

35 micrograms for men aged 50 and younger

25 micrograms for women aged 50 and younger

30 micrograms for men over 50

20 micrograms for women over 50

Organ meats, shellfish, cocoa, mushrooms, nuts, dried legumes, dried fruits, peas, tomato products, and whole-grain cereals

Is a component of many enzymes that are necessary for energy production, for antioxidant action†, and for formation of red blood cells, bone, and connective tissue

900 micrograms

10,000 micrograms

Seafood, tea, and fluoridated water

Required for the formation of bone and teeth

3 milligrams for women

4 milligrams for men

10 milligrams

Seafood, iodized salt, eggs, yogurt, milk, and drinking water (in amounts that vary by the iodine content of local soil)

Required for the formation of thyroid hormones

150 micrograms

1,100 micrograms

As heme‡iron:

Beef, poultry, fish, kidneys, and liver

As nonheme iron: Soybean flour, beans, molasses, spinach, clams, and fortified grains and cereals

Required for the formation of many enzymes in the body

Heme iron is an important component of muscle cells and of hemoglobin, which enables red blood cells to carry oxygen and deliver it to the body's tissues

8 milligrams for women over 50 and for men

18 milligrams for women aged 50 and younger (premenopause)

27 milligrams for pregnant women

9 milligrams for breastfeeding women

45 milligrams

Leafy green vegetables, nuts, cereal grains, beans, and tomato paste

Required for the formation of bone and teeth, for normal nerve and muscle function, and for the activation of enzymes

320 milligrams for women

420 milligrams for men

Manganese

Whole-grain cereals, pineapple, nuts, tea, beans, and tomato paste

Required for the formation of bone and the formation and activation of certain enzymes

2.3 milligrams for men

1.8 milligrams for women

11 milligrams

Molybdenum

Milk, legumes, whole-grain breads and cereals, and dark green vegetables

Required for metabolism of nitrogen, the activation of certain enzymes, and normal cell function

Helps break down sulfites (present in foods naturally and added as preservatives)

45 micrograms

2,000 micrograms

Dairy products, meat, poultry, fish, cereals, nuts, and legumes

Required for the formation of bone and teeth and for energy production

Used to form nucleic acids, including DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)

700 milligrams

4,000 milligrams

Whole and skim milk, bananas, tomatoes, oranges, melons, potatoes, sweet potatoes, prunes, raisins, spinach, turnip greens, collard greens, kale, other green leafy vegetables, most peas and beans, and salt substitutes (potassium chloride)

Required for normal nerve and muscle function

Involved in electrolyte balance

3.5 grams

Meats, seafood, nuts, and cereals (depending on the selenium content of soil where grains were grown)

Acts as an antioxidant† with vitamin E

Required for thyroid gland function

55 micrograms

400 micrograms

Salt, beef, pork, sardines, cheese, green olives, corn bread, potato chips, sauerkraut, and processed or canned foods (usually as salt)

Required for normal nerve and muscle function

Helps the body maintain a normal electrolyte and fluid balance

1,000 milligrams

2,400 milligrams

Meat, liver, oysters, seafood, peanuts, fortified cereals, and whole grains (depending on the zinc content of soil where grains were grown)

Used to form many enzymes and insulin

Required for healthy skin, healing of wounds, and growth

11 milligrams for men and 8 milligrams for women

40 milligrams

* Recommended dietary allowances for minerals and other nutrients are periodically published by The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences–National Research Council and the United States Department of Agriculture. These allowances are intended to meet the needs of healthy people and may vary for pregnant women and children.

† Antioxidants protect cells against damage due to reactive by-products of normal cell activity called free radicals.

‡ The body absorbs heme iron better than nonheme iron.