Mineral Salts: What They Are and Where to Find Them

04 March, 2021
In addition to having important internal consequences, a mineral salt defiency can also be perceived from the outside, with drier skin or fragile nails.

On more than one occasion, you’ve probably heard about the importance of mineral salts. They constitute about 4% of our body mass and, along with other nutrients, are decisive for bodily vital functions. What exactly are they? Where to find them?

What are mineral salts?

According to the data published in “Biosphere Project: Biology and Geology Resources”, mineral salts are called inorganic molecules that, in living organisms, appear precipitated, ionized, or associated with any molecule.

  • Those that appear as precipitates form hard structures that protect those that possess it. They also perform regulatory functions.
  • In the case of ionized minerals, when dissolved in water, they become either positively or negatively charged. This helps in reducing the shock of pH changes, for example.
  • Finally, salts that are associated with a molecule are made to perform a specific function that couldn’t do so on its own.

We recommend you read: 5 Benefits of Himalayan Salt Lamps

Why are mineral salts important?

mineral salts

The function of mineral salts is centered on the growth and health of the human body in general. It’s main goal is to make certain chemical process possible and form some structures that your body needs.

According to information from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, mineral salts are responsible for human tissue formation, hormone production and, in addition, they regulate some organic functions.

Among them, the most well-known ones are:

  • Sodium
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus

Mineral salts, like vitamins, don’t have caloriesHowever, this doesn’t mean you don’t need to watch how much of them you take in. On the contrary, you need to regulate their portions.

Most important mineral salt functions

Below, you’ll see the most important functions of each of these mineral salts and how, according to what was reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), this can affect your body.

Sodium

Sodium

Sodium helps to keep the liquids in your body balanced, both inside and outside of your cells, according to a study in Advances in Nutrition. It helps transmit and generate nervous impulses and the correct response in muscular stimulus.

It plays a role in the acid-base balance. Its deficiency can induce fatigue and its excess is related to an increased risk of high blood pressure. This is due to its ability to regulate blood pressure and blood volume.

Calcium

This mineral salt exercises diverse functions in the human body. According to the journal Nutrients, it forms part of your bones and teeth and keeps them healthy. Additionally, its presence is very important to properly clot your blood.

  • Not taking in enough calcium can make your hair and nails fragile, as well as cause memory loss and an increased risk of osteoporosis.

Iron

Iron

A review published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences notes that iron enables hemoglobin production. This is a protein that red blood cells contain and that allows oxygen transportation to the tissues. It constitutes 65% of the iron in the body.

Iron is also necessary for myoglobin production, which is the protein responsible for transporting oxygen to the muscles. It’s similar to hemoglobin, and its function is to store oxygen. It’s mainly in skeletal muscle and heart muscle, which require the most energy.

Magnesium

Magnesium plays a role in nerve transmission and muscle relaxation, maintaining the acid-base balance. The Clinical Kidney Journal reported that some of the consequences of a magnesium deficiency include:

  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • General fatigue.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Anxiety.

Potassium

Potassium

Potassium is a basic mineral salt for your body, due to the functions that they perform. For example, as Advances in Nutrition states, it regulates the water inside and outside of your cells, along with sodium, which is essential for proper human growth.

The consequences of a potassium deficiency are:

  • Dry skin
  • A sensation of continuous thirst
  • Overall weakness

Also see: Foods that Provide The Most Potassium

Phosphorus

Another publication in Advances in Nutrition states that phosphorus is one of the main components in charge of the formation of bones and teeth. Therefore, it plays an important role, as it determines the way your body uses carbohydrates and fats.

A phosphorus deficiency could make you suffer from:

  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Nervousness

Foods that are rich in mineral salts

The best way to get mineral salts is through food. Although they’re available in supplement form, you should only take them when necessary.

Calcium

Calcium is mostly found in dairy products like yogurts, cheeses, and milk.

Potassium

Potassium is in fruits. Since potassium is useful for muscle activity, banana is a great help for cramps. You can also find it in legumes, meats, fish, and even in chocolate.

Iron

Offal, shellfish, cocoa, legumes, egg yolks, or cereals in general contain iron.

Magnesium

Magnesium is in some of the foods we already mentioned: it’s present in cereal germ, nuts, legumes, chocolate, and whole wheat bread.

Phosphorus

You can get phosphorus from any lipid, such as meat or fish.

Mineral salts are necessary for proper bodily functioning. Like vitamins, you must take them every day.

Their contribution varies depending on the person who takes them. Analyze your daily diet and, if you don’t eat the foods we recommended here, incorporate them to reap their benefits.

  • National Research Council (US) Committee on Diet and Health. Diet and Health: Implications for Reducing Chronic Disease Risk. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1989. 13, Minerals. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK218735/
  • Mitchell, Helen. (2014). Be Smart with Mineral Salts. Innovations in Food Technology.
  • FAO. (2015). Macronutrientes y micronutrientes. Organización de Las Naciones Unidas Para La Alimentación y La Agricultura. https://doi.org/10.1186/1477-7827-8-112
  • Strazzullo P, Leclercq C. Sodium. Adv Nutr. 2014;5(2):188–190. Published 2014 Mar 1. doi:10.3945/an.113.005215
  • Cormick G, Belizán JM. Calcium Intake and Health. Nutrients. 2019;11(7):1606. Published 2019 Jul 15. doi:10.3390/nu11071606
  • Abbaspour N, Hurrell R, Kelishadi R. Review on iron and its importance for human health. J Res Med Sci. 2014;19(2):164–174.
  • Jahnen-Dechent W, Ketteler M. Magnesium basics. Clin Kidney J. 2012;5(Suppl 1):i3–i14. doi:10.1093/ndtplus/sfr163
  • Calvo MS, Lamberg-Allardt CJ. Phosphorus. Adv Nutr. 2015;6(6):860–862. Published 2015 Nov 13. doi:10.3945/an.115.008516