Basic Science

Sources, Functions and Deficiencies of Mineral Salts (Macro-nutrients)

len Alfred Ajibola - Thu, 15th August, 2019 @ 14:07: PM

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Academic Questions in Basic Science

Please check out our Test Your Knowledge page to see all Questions and Answers

Which of the following statement is FALSE concerning mass and weight?

  • A. Mass is the amount of matter in a body

  • B. The element hydrogen has the smallest mass

  • C. You will weigh more on planet jupiter than earth

  • D. Weight is a function of gravity

  • E. Mass and Weight have different Standard International (S.I) Units

  • F. None of the above

Which of the following statement is FALSE concerning matter?

  • A. Anything considered as matter must either have mass or occupy space

  • B. Air is an example of matter

  • C. Plasma is a state of matter

  • D. Chemistry is considered as the study of matter and the changes they undergo

  • E. Vacuum is a space completely void of matter

  • F. Matter will always take up space no matter how small or invincible it is to the eyes

Which of the following is NOT matter?

  • A. Atom

  • B. Molecule

  • C. Ion

  • D. Bacterium

  • E. Virus

  • F. None of the above

The ultimate source of energy is _____.

  1. Plant
  2. Sun
  3. Food
  4. Water
  5. Air
  6. Earth

The speed of wind is measured with a wind vane.


The nutrient majorly found in the liver is _____.

  • A. Carbohydrate
  • B. Starch
  • C. Protein
  • D. Fats
  • E. Oil
  • F. Lipids

A body at rest possess _____ energy.

  • A. Kinetic
  • B. Potential
  • C. Mechanical
  • D. Chemical



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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, Food Wen and Food Pyramid here.

Note: Minerals are also present in nature as 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 so as 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 if they are to function properly.

In total, they account for approximately 4% - 6% of the total body mass in humans. (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 their various food substances, 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 Macro-nutrients, their Sources, Functions and Deficiency Symptoms:



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.



Sources: Table Salt, Fish, Sea foods and Fruits.


Deficiency Symptoms

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



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 (Brain) here.
  3. Heart palpitations.
  4. Difficulty in breathing.
  5. Digestive problems.



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.



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.



Sources: Meat, Milk and Egg.


Deficiency Symptoms

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



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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Alfred Ajibola is a Medical Biochemist, a passionate Academician with over 7 years of experience, a Versatile Writer, a Web Developer, a Cisco Certified Network Associate and a Cisco CyberOps Associate.

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The eyebrow is an area of dense, delicate hair just above the eye.

Eyebrows perform two main functions:

  1. Protects our eyes against sweat, rain, dirt and other atmospheric contaminants.
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Note: Eyebrows can also be modified to enhance beauty.

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Weight can be defined as the force of gravity acting on an object.

If you traveled to space, you would be weightless because there isn't any force of gravity acting there. We all have weight on earth becasue the force of gravity acts here.

Weight is measured in Newton

Please read on the concept of Mass and Weight here

Mass is the amount or quantity of matter (substance) contained in a body. For instance, everything you are composed of, both from within and outside will make up your mass.

Mass is constant throughout the universe. You will have the same mass on earth and moon respectively.

Mass is measured in gram or kilogram and it's quite different from weight.

Matter is anything that has mass and occupy space.

Matter can exist in four states namely:

  • Solid
  • Liquid
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