Basic Science

Mineral Salts: Sources, functions and deficiencies of macronutrients

len Alfred Ajibola - Thu, 15th August, 2019 @ 2:07 PM

Topics in Basic Science

What is science? Qualities of a scientist Resources from living things Resources from animals Importance of immunization Types of Carbohydrates: Monosaccharides and Polysaccharides Carbohydrates: Disaccharides and Oligosaccharides Len Academy Examination Questions for Basic Science, JSS2, 2nd Term Len Academy Examination Questions for Basic Science, JSS3, 3rd Term Len Academy Examination Questions for Basic Science, JSS3, 2nd Term Primates: Characteristics of Primates Effects of improper waste management Waste Management: Causes of waste in the society Concept of mass and weight Mineral Salts: Sources, functions and deficiencies of macronutrients Sources, functions and deficiencies of micronutrients Len Academy questions for Basic Science JSS1 Len Academy mid-term test questions for Basic Science JSS1, 2nd Term Microorganisms causing food, water and air borne diseases Vector borne organisms and the diseases they cause Bones of the Human Skeleton

Academic Questions in Basic Science

Please click here to see all Questions and Answers

Which of the following diseases is associated with river blindness?

  • A. Anthrax

  • B. Lawnmower Disease

  • C. Onchocerciasis

  • D. Devil's Crunch

  • E. Trypanosomiasis

  • F. Tularemia

The vector for yellow fever is _____.

  • A. Aedes Mosquito

  • B. Female Anopheles Mosquito

  • C. Plasmodium

  • D. Flavivirus

  • E. Black Fly

  • F. Bacillus Anthracis

The bones of the head and face make up the skull. These bones are _____ in number.

  • A. 12

  • B. 14

  • C. 16

  • D. 18

  • E. 20

  • F. 22

Bacteria are not a constituent of our environment.

  • A. True

  • B. False

Below are types of drugs. Which of these is considered as pain killers?

  • A. Stimulants

  • B. Depressants

  • C. Opiods and Morphine Derivatives

  • D. Hallucinogens

  • E. Anabolic Steroids

  • F. Cannabinoids

Which of the following statement is false concerning drugs?

  • A. Drugs can be inhaled

  • B. Drugs can be injected directly into the bloodstream 

  • C. Drugs can be eaten

  • D. Drugs exist exclusively in the forms of tablets and syrups

  • E. Drugs can be placed under the tongue

  • F. Drugs can be taken with water or another liquid

Vaccination involves a process of introducing pathogens or germs into a person in order to prevent such person from the diseases they cause.

  • A. True

  • B. False

With regards to the human health, foreign bodies are best regarded as _____.

  • A. International bodies

  • B. Antilators

  • C. Antibodies

  • D. Antigens

  • E. Antibiotics

  • F. Antidotes

What are Mineral Salts?

Mineral salts are one of the classes of food alongside carbohydrates, protein, fats and oils, vitamins and water.

Minerals are inorganic substances (that is, they don't contain carbon); and are present in every form of food chain (from the producers -> consumers -> decomposers).

As an instance, plants absorb minerals from fertilizers and soil nutrients. Animals ingest these minerals when they eat plants and other animals.

Please read more on food chain here.

It is noteworthy to state that minerals are also present in nature since they move through cycles, for instance, nitrogen cycle.

Our bodies are unable to synthesize mineral salts. As a result, we must get them from the food we eat. Interestingly, they are present in most of our food; and it is recommended we eat a varied diet in order to get all the different elements that make them up.

Mineral salts are always eliminated in metabolic waste products like sweat and urine. They are also lost in feces, although feces isn’t a metabolic waste product.

Mineral salts are essential nutrients required by organisms to function properly. In total, they account for approximately 4% - 6% of the total body mass in humans. Meanwhile, understand that calcium accounts for most of this value.

Minerals salts are generally classified into two types based on the amount required by the body (on a daily basis). These are:

  • Macronutrients: They are also referred to as macro elements.
  • Macronutrients are needed in a relatively large amount (more than 100mg per day).

    Examples of macronutrients are calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chlorine, phosphorus and sulphur.

  • Micronutrients: They are also referred to as micro elements or trace elements.
  • The micronutrients are needed in small to moderate amounts (less than 100mg per day).

    Examples of micronutrients are iodine, iron, zinc, copper, fluorine, selenium, manganese, chromium, molybdenum and cobalt.

    Please read on the sources, functions and deficiencies of micronutrients here

Plants and animals require mineral salts for the proper functioning of their internal systems.

Animals are required to take some of these mineral salts in minute or small quantities via various food substances or even as drugs, although a few can be eaten directly; for instance iron and sodium chloride (common salt).

Lack of mineral salts in the body system will lead to deficiency diseases. A deficiency disease is a disease caused by the lack of an element in the diet; usually relating to a vitamin or mineral.

Examples of deficiency diseases include scurvy, beriberi, rickets, osteomalacia, pellagra, xerophthalmia and hypocalcemia.


Sources, Functions and Deficiency Symptoms of Macronutrients

Below are the macronutrients, their sources, functions and deficiency symptoms:


  • Calcium

Sources: Bones, milk, cheese, egg, fish, vegetables, carrot, orange and dairy products.


Deficiency Symptoms:

  1. Rickets (improper bone formation).
  2. Osteoporosis (weakness and brittleness of bones).
  3. Osteomalacia (soft bones).
    Please read on the types of bone here.
  4. Tooth Decay.


  • Sodium

Sources: Table salt, fish, sea foods and fruits.


Deficiency Symptoms:

  1. Dehydration and excessive water loss.
  2. Muscle cramps.


  • Potassium

Sources: Tomatoes, avocados, dried apricots and meat.


  • Proper functioning of the muscles (muscular contractions).
  • Controls blood osmotic pressure.
  • Transmission of nervous impulses.

Deficiency Symptoms:

  1. Muscle paralysis and stiffness.
  2. Nervous disorders.
    Please read on the uniqueness of man here.
  3. Heart palpitations.
  4. Difficulty in breathing.
  5. Digestive problems.


  • Phosphorus

Sources: Egg, wheat, cheese, milk, fish and diets high in protein.


Deficiency Symptoms:

  1. Rickets (improper bone formation).
  2. Osteoporosis (weakness and brittleness of bones).
  3. Osteomalacia (soft bones).
  4. Tooth Decay.


  • Magnesium

Sources: Green vegetables, dairy products, whole grains cereals, and meat.


  • Muscle contraction.
  • Catalyst for the utilization of iron.
  • Needed in teeth and bone formation.

Deficiency Symptoms:

  1. Nervous disorder.
  2. Improper muscle contractions.


  • Sulphur

Sources: Meat, milk and egg.


Deficiency Symptoms:

  1. Cell damage.
  2. Joint pains.
  3. Reduced protein synthesis.


  • Chlorine

Sources: Table salt, fish and fruits.


  • Transmission of nerve impulses.
  • Maintenance of the osmotic balance in the body fluids. (Blood pressure and pH control).

Deficiency Symptoms:

  1. Dehydration, diarrhea and vomiting.
  2. Muscle cramps.

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Amazing facts in Basic Science

According to scientific research, if the first tear drop comes from the right eye, it’s tears of joy. If it comes from the left eye, then it is as a result of pain

Dentistry is the oldest profession in the world. This is considered true because a research conducted by the University of Bologna, Italy on a 14,000-year-old skull found that one rotten tooth in the jaw had been deliberately scoured and scraped with a dental tool

Scientific research has it that the human nose can distinguish more than a trillion different odors

Tiger fur and skin - Len Academy

Tigers have striped fur. So also is their skin

Red-Billed Quelea - Len Academy

The most common wild bird in the world is native to Africa, and it's the red-billed quelea with a population estimated to be around 1.5 billion

Of all animals, mosquitoes hold the record of killing most humans annually. They are responsible for the deaths of 725,000 - 1,000,000 persons yearly

Antibiotics fights and kills bacteria. However, they do nothing to a virus

All insects have six legs. However, dragonfly has six legs but can't walk

The chin is defined as the protruding part of the face below the mouth, formed by the apex of the lower lip. It is shown below:

Chin - Len Academy

Interestingly, humans are the only animals with chin

Cranberries - Len Academy

Ripe cranberries will bounce like a ball. For this reason, they are nicknamed 'bounceberries'. They will also float in water

Notable points in Basic Science

We have six classes of food. These are:

  1. Carbohydrates

  2. Proteins

  3. Fats and Oils

  4. Vitamins

  5. Mineral Salts

  6. Water

In humans, roughages are not classified as one of the classes of food. This is so because they aren't digested. Instead, roughages facilitate the movement of bowels in the large intestine (colon); and for this reason, they can become useful in treating constipation.

Food refers to anything that is ingested by living organisms, giving them nutrients and thus enabling them to stay alive.

As an instance, 99% of a panda's diet is bamboo. In this case, bamboo is considered as food to a panda since it provides a source of nutrient and keeps it alive. This is shown in the image below:

Panda eating bamboo - Len Academy

Please read more on food here

The only process in nature that actively enriches our atmosphere with oxygen is photosynthesis. Every other process like respiration, burning and combustion takes away oxygen from it. In addition, they introduce carbon(IV)oxide (CO2) into the atmosphere.

Photosynthesis is also the only process that takes away carbon(IV)oxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.

Photosynthesis is defined as a process by which green plants manufacture food by utilizing carbon(IV)oxide and water in the presence of sunlight.

Oxygen is given off as a by-product of photosynthesis. In regards to this, it is recommended that each person plants a tree.

Matter is composed of particles which can be:

  1. Tightly packed together (as seen in solids).

  2. Loosely packed together (as seen in liquids).

  3. Completely separated (as seen in gases).

The movement of the particles of matter is a function of the overall kinetic energy present in them. You can think of kinetic energy as energy in motion.

An increase in the particles' vibrational, rotational or translational motion will imply an increase in temperature while a decrease in the particles motion (vibrational, rotational and translational) will mean a decrease in temperature. Based on this knowledge, we can therefore define temperature as the measure of the average kinetic energy possessed by the particles of matter.

You can read on the concept of matter here

Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is a score derived from a set of standardized tests developed to measure a person's cognitive abilities in relation to their age group.

IQ may also be defined as the ratio of mental age (MA) to chronological age (CA) multiplied by 100.

Below are some formulas pertaining Intelligence Quotient:

  • IQ = MA x 100 ÷ CA

  • MA = Mental age

  • CA = Chronological age

  • IQ above 100 = Brilliance

  • IQ that equals 100 = Average

  • IQ below 100 = Below Average