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Types of Minerals: Benefits, Deficiencies, & Sources

Each type of mineral offers different benefits for your health and supports your body to function optimally. Working together, it’s essential to understand the role of each type of mineral, the signs of deficiency, and how to boost your levels. Our guide to minerals walks you through the essential information you need to know.

Table of Contents:

The Importance of Minerals for Health 

Minerals are a vital component in keeping our bodies running healthily. They contribute to strong bones, energy levels, as well as heart and muscle health. When we suffer from mineral deficiencies we can suffer from weak bones, tiredness, and are at higher risk of illness and disease. 

Macrominerals vs Trace Minerals

There are two types of minerals that each individual element falls into: macrominerals or trace minerals. The two types refer to the amount of each mineral we need to support our health.

Macrominerals

Macrominerals are those that are needed by our bodies in large amounts. The macro types of minerals are:

  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Chlorine
  • Sulphur

Trace Minerals

Trace minerals are required in smaller amounts by our bodies. The trace minerals are:

  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Iodine
  • Fluoride

13 Types of Minerals 

In total there are 13 types of minerals that we need to aid the healthy function of our muscles, nervous system, and immune system.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a type of mineral that comes in at least 11 forms, including magnesium chloride and magnesium sulphate (otherwise known as epsom salts). 

Benefits of Magnesium 

Transdermal magnesium’s primary benefit is how it contributes to muscle function, helping muscles to relax after contracting. Here are the top benefits of magnesium:

  • Help with sleep
  • Boosts energy levels
  • Promotes exercise recovery
  • Maintains heart health
  • Improves mood

Magnesium Deficiency

If your magnesium dosage is not high enough, you may suffer from signs that you are lacking in this type of mineral. The magnesium deficiency signs you should look out for include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Heart palpitations

Sources of Magnesium 

Magnesium can be sourced from food and drink, however to ward off deficiencies using magnesium supplements, such as topical magnesium, is a great way to boost your levels. Here are some of the best source of this type of mineral:

Iron

Iron is vital in the process of moving oxygen around the body via red blood cells, having optimal iron levels is important for our muscles and energy.

Benefits of Iron

Boasting a wide range of roles in the body, from energy levels to immune support. The primary benefits of iron include:

  • Normal oxygen transportation
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Maintains stamina
  • Supports focus
  • Reduces bruising
  • Improves muscle endurance
  • Supports immune system

Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency, also known as anaemia, is one of the most common types of mineral deficiencies. Anaemia has many negative effects on the body and your health, signs to look out for include:

  • Tiredness/Lack of energy
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Noticeable heartbeat
  • Craving non-food items

Sources of Iron

Vegetarians and vegans are two of the most likely groups to suffer from low iron, due to their meatless diets. Whilst this type of mineral can be found in other food sources those worried about anaemia can take a food supplement. Top sources of iron:

  • Iron Supplements
  • Dark-green leafy vegetables
  • Cereals and fortified bread
  • Red meat
  • Dried fruit e.g. apricots and raisins
  • Pulses e.g. beans, peas, and lentils

Zinc

Zinc is a type of mineral that the body cannot make by itself, meaning we must intake required levels to experience its benefits.

Benefits of Zinc

Zinc plays an essential role in how our bodies grow, as well as being a type of mineral that supports the  immune system, helping our bodies fight against viruses. The benefits of zinc include:

  • Supports immune system
  • Aids wound healing
  • Supports enzyme reactions in the body
  • Helps growth and development
  • A Natural anti-inflammatory 

Zinc Deficiency

When your levels of this type of mineral are too low you may suffer from a zinc deficiency. If you think you’re not reaching the sufficient levels, these are the signs to look out for:

  • Mental tiredness
  • Wounds that don’t heal
  • Hair loss
  • Lack of taste or smell
  • Weight loss & loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea

Sources of Zinc

As the body can’t make zinc for itself, it requires regular intake to reach the recommended levels for each day. You can find this type of mineral in the following foods:

  • Zinc Supplements
  • Fortified cereals
  • Whole grains
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Red meat and poultry
  • Beans
  • Nuts

Selenium

Selenium is a trace type of mineral, meaning our bodies only need small amounts. As a non-reactive metal, selenium can be found in soil, water, and foods. 

Benefits of Selenium

Vital to your body’s natural function, selenium boasts a number of key benefits. The benefits for this type of mineral include:

  • Supports the immune system
  • Helps turn food into energy
  • Maintains normal hair and nails
  • Protects cells against oxidative stress
  • Reduces inflammation 

Selenium Deficiency

Selenium deficiency affects between 500 million and 1 billion people worldwide. Spotting the signs can help you to boost your levels and experience the benefits of this type of mineral:

  • Fatigue
  • Weak immune system
  • Infertility in both men and women
  • Weak muscles
  • Hair loss
  • Mental fog

Sources of Selenium

Understanding the main sources of selenium can help you adjust your diet and supplements to ensure you maintain optimum levels of this type of mineral.

  • Selenium Supplements
  • Brazil nuts
  • Fish and seafood
  • Meats
  • Cereals and other grains
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs

Calcium

Calcium is well-known for its importance for strong bones, with 99% of this type of mineral in the body being stored in the bones and teeth.  

Benefits of Calcium

As well as supporting children’s growing bones, this type of mineral also helps to maintain bone density as we age - which is why it’s especially important in menopause supplements. Bone health is not the only benefit of calcium:

  • Support bone health
  • Aids muscle contraction
  • Support blood clotting
  • Aids healthy blood pressure

Calcium Deficiency

Those suffering from a calcium deficiency may find they experience the following symptoms:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness in hands or feet
  • Fatigue
  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Weak bones
  • Dry skin

Sources of Calcium

The most well-known source of calcium is dairy, but those suffering from low levels can find many other sources for this vital type of mineral:

  • Bone Supplements 
  • BetterYou’s Magnesium + Calcium Lotion
  • Dairy milks and fortified plant-based milk
  • Cheese
  • Yoghurt
  • Edamame
  • Salmon
  • Almonds

Iodine

Iodine is especially important as a pregnancy supplement to support healthy brain development of your baby.

Benefits of Iodine

The primary health benefits of this type of mineral include:

  • Promotes thyroid health
  • Supports neurodevelopment in pregnancy
  • Improves cognitive function

Iodine Deficiency

It’s believed that up to ⅓ of people worldwide suffer from iodine deficiency. These are the top signs of low levels of this type of mineral to look out for:

  • Neck swelling
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Feeling cold
  • Dry skin

Sources of Iodine

Iodine has a very small number of good sources, which is why many turn to vitamins to ensure their levels are high enough.

  • Multivitamins
  • Seaweed
  • Cod
  • Yoghurt
  • Iodized salt
  • Eggs
  • Shrimp and tuna

Phosphorous

Phosphorus levels in the body are maintained by vitamin D, which helps the intestines and kidneys to absorb this type of mineral. 

Benefits of Phosphorus

Phosphorus plays an important role in many of the body’s systems, with key benefits for this type of mineral including:

  • Supports strong bones and teeth
  • Helps muscles contract
  • Aids muscle recovery
  • Filters waste from kidneys
  • Promotes healthy nervous system
  • Supports energy in the body

Phosphorous Deficiency

If you’re concerned that you may have a phosphorous deficiency, keep a lookout for these signs:

  • Irritability
  • Increased levels of anxiety
  • Tiredness
  • Irregular breathing
  • Stiffness in the joints
  • Changes to weight

Sources of Phosphorus 

Phosphorus can be acquired through a healthy and balanced diet. Foods that contain this type of mineral include:

  • Meats and fish
  • Milk and dairy
  • Beans e.g. kidney, pinto, and soy
  • Grains
  • Nuts and seeds

Sodium

Sodium is a well known type of mineral, with the most common form being sodium chloride - also known as salt. It is an essential part of many of the systems in our bodies. As a macromineral we need larger amounts of sodium than other types of minerals.

Benefits of Sodium

Sodium can be taken as a sports supplement due to its vital role in muscle function. The primary benefits of this mineral type include:

  • Contributes to healthy nerve impulses
  • Helps muscles contract and relax
  • Maintains balance between water and minerals

Sodium Deficiency 

Sodium deficiency, also known as hyponatremia, can cause many dangerous symptoms. These are the signs of low sodium to look out for:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Muscle weakness or spasms
  • Confusion

Ensuring optimum levels of this type of mineral is essential to avoid these symptoms, however too much sodium can also have a detrimental effect on the body. You could experience high blood pressure, swelling, increased urination, and thirst.

Sources of Sodium

Increasing your levels of sodium can be done easily with many common foods containing this type of mineral:

  • Cold cuts or cured meats e.g. bacon or sardines
  • Salted nuts
  • Cheese
  • Eggs 
  • Bread

Potassium

Potassium is both a type of mineral and an electrolyte. As an electrolyte it can conduct electricity which is vital for many processes in the body. Potassium is also the third most abundant mineral in the body. 

Benefits of Potassium

As one of the most important types of mineral in the body potassium has lots of benefits, including:

  • Regulating fluid balance in the body
  • Aiding muscle contraction
  • Supporting nerve signals
  • Reducing blood pressure

Potassium Deficiency

Potassium deficiency usually occurs from poor diet, diarrhoea or vomiting. The signs you could be suffering from low potassium include:

  • Constipation
  • Weak muscles
  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure

Sources of Potassium 

The most well known source of potassium is bananas, but you can find this vital type of mineral in many other food sources:

  • Dried fruits e.g. apricots
  • Beans
  • Green vegetables e.g. broccoli and spinach
  • Avocado
  • Dairy and plant milks
  • Chicken and salmon

Sulphur

Sulphur is present in all living tissues and plays a key role in protecting our cells from damage. 

Benefits of Sulphur

As a macromineral sulphur has lots of benefits for the body, and is often taken as a skin supplement, including:

  • Builds and fixes DNA
  • Helps metabolise food
  • Supports healthy skin

Sulphur Deficiency

If you have low levels of this type of mineral, you could see the following symptoms:

  • Acne
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Itchy skin or scalp
  • Headaches
  • Rashes
  • Slow wound healing

Sources of Sulphur

There are lots of easy ways to introduce more sulphur into your diet. Whether you’re following a meat-based or plant-based diet, these are the foods you should consume:

  • White and red meat
  • Fish
  • Nuts, seeds, and grains
  • Chickpeas, lentils, and oats
  • Leafy green vegetables

Manganese

Manganese is a trace type of mineral that has antioxidant properties that can help reduce the risk of disease.

Benefits of Manganese

With the optimum levels of manganese you could see the following benefits:

  • Reduce inflammation 
  • Supports bone health
  • Reduces blood sugar
  • Aids wound healing

Manganese Deficiency

If you are concerned you may suffer from a manganese deficiency, keep an eye out for these symptoms:

  • Poor bone strength
  • Impaired fertility
  • Abnormal metabolism

Those struggling with fertility problems could benefit from conception supplements that include all the types of vitamins and minerals needed to support fertility.

Sources of Manganese

Manganese can be found in numerous foods, including:

  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Muscles and oysters
  • Whole grains
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Coffee and tea

Copper 

Copper plays an important role as an energy supplement, as well as being a vital mineral type to the connective tissues and blood vessels. 

Benefits of Copper

With the ideal levels of copper you could expect to see these benefits:

  • Helps form red blood cells
  • Maintains healthy bones, blood vessels, and nerves
  • Supports the immune system
  • Can help prevent cardiovascular disease

Copper Deficiency 

If your body doesn’t have enough copper, the following signs of deficiency may occur:

  • Low body temperature
  • Anaemia
  • Weak bones
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Pale skin

Sources of Copper

As an essential type of mineral for your health it’s important to know the sources of copper. The following foods can help you reach optimum levels of this mineral:

  • Oysters, crab, and lobster
  • Fish
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Beans
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Dark chocolate

Fluoride 

Fluoride is most well known for its ability to prevent tooth decay and its common presence in toothpaste and mouthwashes. 

Benefits of Fluoride

The primary benefits of fluoride all centre around oral health:

  • Rebuilds weak tooth enamel
  • Slows down mineral loss from enamel
  • Can reverse early signs of tooth decay
  • Prevents growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth

Fluoride Deficiency 

The two main signs of fluoride deficiency are:

  • Tooth cavities 
  • Weak bones

When focusing on tooth and mouth health, opting for taking your different types of minerals and vitamins as oral sprays can be a tooth-friendly option!

Sources of Fluoride

To increase the levels of fluoride in your body, including the following products and foods into your healthy lifestyle could help:

  • Dental products e.g. toothpaste and mouthwash
  • Tea
  • Spinach
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Potatoes

BetterYou’s Award Winning Types of Minerals

Our supplements contain a range of different types of minerals including zinc, iron, selenium, and magnesium. All of these minerals are essential at every stage of life, which is why our collection caters for children’s vitamins, as well as women’s health supplements, and men’s health supplements

BetterYou’s Innovative Supplements

Innovating oral sprays and transdermal magnesium, our collection of vitamins and minerals supports your wellbeing. Boost your levels with vitamin D supplements, vitamin B supplements, and vitamin K supplements.
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