Skip to main content

About this free course

Become an OU student

Download this course

Share this free course

Nutrition: vitamins and minerals
Nutrition: vitamins and minerals

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

2.13 Key points about minerals

  1. Certain minerals are required in the body.

  2. Some minerals form essential structural components of tissues. For example, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium compounds are major components of bones and teeth. Fluoride is also important in protecting teeth from decay.

  3. Sodium, potassium, calcium and chloride ions are important in maintaining the correct composition of cells and of the tissue fluids around them (homeostasis). These same ions are also involved in communication between cells, in particular the rapid transfer of signals along nerve cells and in the brain. They also play a part in muscle contraction.

  4. Some minerals are essential components of important molecules such as hormones and enzymes. For example, the hormones produced by the thyroid gland contain iodine and many enzymes need magnesium, selenium or zinc to function. Sulfur is an essential component of some amino acids and iron is incorporated into haemoglobin and related proteins.

  5. The correct fluid balance is also essential for normal functioning of the body.

  6. Tapwater, and not just mineral water, contains minerals.