The basis of MINERALS

Hello, in this post, I would like to discuss the chemistry of minerals. From a chemical standpoint, dietary minerals are inorganic molecules that do not contain any carbon atoms. This sets them apart from vitamins, which are all organic molecules defined by the presence of carbon atoms. 

Our food contains various minerals, some desired and others unwanted. But when does a mineral become a dietary mineral? The group of dietary minerals consists of chemical elements that are essential for the human body. In fact, a more suitable term for dietary minerals would be "dietary elements," although this phrase is not commonly used. Out of the 118 known chemical elements listed in the periodic table, only 21 are essential components of our diet. Once we exclude the four elements found in common organic molecules (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen), we are left with 17 chemical elements that make up the dietary minerals. 

Based on their abundance in our body, dietary minerals are further categorized as major minerals and trace minerals or trace elements. A dietary mineral is classified as a major mineral when it is present in the body in amounts exceeding 5 grams. These major minerals include (in order of abundance): calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chloride, and magnesium. The trace elements consist of; iron, zinc, copper, manganese, molybdenum, fluoride, cobalt, iodine, selenium, and chromium. As for boron and silicon, they may be essential minerals, but their status is not yet fully established.

The remaining nearly 100 chemical elements in the periodic table are non-essential for the body, ranging from relatively harmless (e.g., helium) to extremely toxic (e.g., polonium, plutonium). It's important to note that even essential elements can be toxic when consumed in excessive amounts, as emphasized by Paracelsus' law.

In summary, dietary minerals are minerals that our body requires as essential components. They can be classified as major minerals or trace elements.


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