The Basics of Nutrition – Minerals


This is the final part of the three-part note on the basics of nutrition. This week, we’re looking at minerals within the category of micronutrients. Micronutrients are, as the name suggests, those needed by the body in smaller quantities.

As we did last week, we’ll be using the US Recommended Daily (or Dietary) Allowances (RDAs), for nutrients (Ref 1). These are established for each vitamin and mineral by the Food and Nutritional Board of the National Academy of Sciences and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Where the RDA column in the table has (AI) – this means “Adequate Intake”.

Recommended amounts differ for males and females and people of different ages. I have taken the higher of the recommendation for either males or females in the 19-65 age group. This is usually the figure for males. Pregnant women have even higher RDAs for certain nutrients and older or younger people sometimes have additional needs. However, the RDA for males or females aged 19-65 will cover the vast majority of the population and will serve well as an indication of the minimum amount of each nutrient that we require on a daily basis. The RDAs for males and females are invariably the same and any differences are small.


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