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

The ultimate source of energy is _____.

  1. plants
  2. sun
  3. food
  4. water
  5. air
  6. earth

The speed of wind is measured with a wind vane.

TRUE or FALSE

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

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 (do not 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:

1. 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.

2. 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:

 

1. CALCIUM

Sources: Bones, Milk, Cheese, Egg, Fish, Vegetables, Carrot, Orange and Dairy products.

Functions

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.

 

2. SODIUM

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

Functions

Deficiency Symptoms

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

 

3. POTASSIUM

Sources: Tomatoes, Avocados, Dried apricots and Meat.

Functions

  • 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.

 

4. PHOSPHORUS

Sources: Egg, Wheat,  Cheese, Milk, Fish and Diets high in protein.

Functions

Deficiency Symptoms

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

 

5. MAGNESIUM

Sources: Green vegetables, Dairy products, Whole grains cereals, and Meat.

Functions

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

Deficiency Symptoms

  1. Nervous disorder.
  2. Improper muscle contractions.

 

6. SULPHUR

Sources: Meat, Milk and Egg.

Functions

Deficiency Symptoms

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

 

7. CHLORINE

Sources: Table Salt, Fish and Fruits.

Functions

  • 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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len

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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