Multivitamins typically contain all or most essential minerals, although dosages vary depending on the specific kind of supplement.
For example, some lack iron or calcium, since these can be hard to tolerate in supplement form and needs differ depending on someone’s age and health.
If you’re low in one particular mineral, such as calcium or magnesium, it can be helpful to take a supplement to boost your intake. It’s best to discuss specific mineral supplements with your doctor if you’re deficient.
Among the most popular and best supplements for increasing your mineral intake include magnesium, zinc, and iron supplements. These help support things like digestion, fertility, and circulation.
Calcium supplements, when consumed when other key nutrients like vitamin D and magnesium, are somewhat controversial but may help offer protection against issues like heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes. Ideally, choose foods-based supplements whenever possible, which means that the nutrients are easier to digest.
Dosages and Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA):
Below are some of the minerals that are needed in our diets in the highest amounts to maintain general health:
- Magnesium: RDA of 350 to 420 milligrams/day.
- Sodium: RDA of no more than 2,300 milligrams/day (should be consumed in moderation to balance other minerals).
- Potassium: RDA of 4,700 milligrams/day.
- Calcium: RDA of 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams/day.
- Phosphorus: RDA of 1,250 milligrams/day.
- Iron: RDA of 8 to 18 mg/day (more for pregnant women and premenopausal women)/
- Zinc: RDA of 8 to 11 mg/day.
- Iodine: RDA of 150 to 200 micrograms/day.
- Selenium: RDA of 55 to 70 micrograms/day.
Signs of Deficiency
When you don’t acquire enough minerals from foods, it’s possible to develop a deficiency. Symptoms of mineral deficiency can vary based on which mineral you’re lacking.
Among the most important minerals that the body needs on a consistent basis are electrolytes, which are macrominerals that carry either a positive or negative charge when dissolved in water. These minerals include magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium, chloride, and phosphorus.
Because we need them in greater amounts than trace minerals, deficiencies in these nutrients tend to be more common.
It’s critical to consume foods with electrolytes often because you lose these minerals every day in your blood, sweat, and urine. You may also lose them at an accelerated pace if you’re very active, stressed, or sick.
You’re most likely to suffer from a nutrient deficiency if you don’t eat a nutritious variety of foods. Eating a poor diet, experiencing dehydration or fluid loss caused by excessive sweating or diarrhea, or having a health condition such as kidney or heart disease can also lead to mineral deficiencies.
People who are most likely to be deficient in key minerals include:
- The elderly, who often have a reduced appetite and a hard time absorbing some nutrients.
- Those who consume a large number of processed foods, sugar, refined grains, and hydrogenated vegetable oils.
- People eating calorie-restrictive diets.
- Those with malabsorption/gut issues.
- People who consume high amounts of alcohol or smoke.
- Those under a lot of mental/physical stress.
- Endurance athletes or people who are very active.
- Pregnant women who have higher calorie and nutrient needs.
- People exposed to various environmental pollutants.
- Those on a vegan diet or vegetarian diet that doesn’t include any animal or many animal products.
Some symptoms you may experience if you’re deficient in certain minerals can include:
- Muscle weakness
- Brain fog
- Pale or yellow-looking skin
- Bruising easily
- Poor immune function and susceptibility to infections
- Impaired fertility
- Weight gain
- Acne and other skin problems
- Fluid retention, edema/swelling
- High blood pressure
- Poor-quality sleep
- Thinning hair
- Irregular or heavy periods
- Greater risk for health problems such as stroke, heart disease, and cognitive impairment
Risks and Side Effects
Can you consume too many minerals? It’s possible if you take supplements, however food sources of minerals are not likely to lead to toxicity.
Supplements are most likely to cause side effects when they are taken in high doses or in combination with prescribed medicines.
Some supplements can interact with prescription drugs in ways that might cause problems or make the drugs less effective. This means that you shouldn’t take supplements in place of, or in combination with, prescribed medications without talking to your doctor first.
Be especially careful about taking new supplements if you’re taking medications like blood thinners, antidepressants, birth control pills, or chemotherapy drugs to treat cancer — or if you’re pregnant.
- Minerals are the types of nutrients we get from a balanced diet. They are found in the soil and earth and then consumed by plants and animals, which we can eat to increase our own intake.
- What are mineral examples? There are 13 different types that are “essential,” meaning we must obtain them from foods. These include minerals like calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, potassium, and zinc, among others.
- It’s important to meet your mineral needs to support functions like heart health, immunity, maintenance of bone density, skin health, cognitive functioning, fertility, and much more.
- You get minerals from foods such as meat, poultry, fish and shellfish, nuts, seeds, legumes, seaweed, eggs, and milk. The best way to prevent a deficiency is to eat a varied diet filled with whole, unprocessed foods.