Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements and Dietary Minerals

Periodic Table and the Chemical Compounds of the Human Body

The human body contains chemical compounds, such as water, carbohydrates (sugar, starch, and fiber), amino acids (in proteins), fatty acids (in lipids), and nucleic acids (DNA/RNA).

These compounds from the periodic table, in turn, consist of elements such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, manganese, and so on.

All of these chemical compounds and elements occur in various forms and combinations (e.g. hormones/vitamins, phospholipids, hydroxyapatite), both in the human body and in organisms (e.g. plants, animals) that humans eat.

The elements and compounds are ingested, digested, absorbed, and circulated through the bloodstream.

List of essential nutrients

  • Essential substances often not considered to be nutrients:
    • Oxygen
    • Water
    • Sunlight

Dietary minerals are the chemical elements required by living organisms, other than the four elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen which are present in common organic molecules.

Classified as "macromineral" dietary minerals are required in relatively large amounts. Conversely "microminerals" or "trace minerals" are required relatively in minute amounts. There is no universally accepted definition of the difference between "large" and "small" amounts.

Essential minerals from the periodic table

At least seven minerals are required to support biochemical processes, many playing a role as electrolytes or in cell structure and function. Dietary Reference Intake from the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences recommends for human nutrition, the dietary bulk "mineral elements" > 200 mg/day.

These are in alphabetical order as follow:

Calcium (Ca)for muscle, heart and digestive system health, builds bone, neutralizes acidity, supports synthesis and function of blood cells
Chloride (Cl)for production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and in cellular pump functions
Magnesium (Mg)is required for processing ATP and related reactions (health, builds bone, increases alkalinity)
Phosphorus (P)is a component of bones and energy processing and many other functions (bone mineralization)
Potassium (K)is a systemic electrolyte and is essential in coregulating ATP with sodium
Sodium (Na) is a systemic electrolyte and is essential in coregulating ATP with potassium

The Trace Minerals from the periodic table

A variety of elements are required in trace amounts, unusually because they play a role in catalysis in enzymes. Dietary Reference Intake from the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences recommends for some trace mineral elements < 200 mg/day.

These are in alphabetical order as follow:

Cobalt (Co)is required for biosynthesis of vitamin B12 family of coenzymes
Copper (Cu)is required component of many redox enzymes, including cytochrome c oxidase
Fluorine (F)participates in formation of tooth enamel which contains fluoroapatite
Iodine (I)is required for the biosynthesis of thyroxine
Iron (Fe)is required for many proteins and enzymes, notably hemoglobin
Manganese (Mn)is a cofactor in function of antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase
Molybdenum (Mo)is required for xanthine oxidase and related oxidases
Nickel (Ni)is present in urease
Selenium (Se)is required for peroxidase (antioxidant proteins)
Sulfur (S)is an essential component of cysteine and methionine amino acids and participates as an enzyme cofactor
Zinc (Zn)is pervasive and required for several enzymes such as carboxypeptidase, liver alcohol dehydrogenase, carbonic anhydrase

Other trace minerals from the periodic table

Many elements have been suggested as required in human nutrition, but such claims have usually not been scientifically proven.

One problem with identifying efficacy is because many elements are harmless at low concentrations, so proof of efficacy is lacking.

Definitive evidence for efficacy comes from characterization of a biomolecule with an identifiable and testable function. Of the many trace elements still lacking solid proof, chromium is often cited. Chromium (III) is implicated in sugar metabolism in humans, leading to a market for chromium picolinate.

  • Vanadium (V) There is no established RDA for vanadium. No specific biochemical function has been identified for it in humans, although vanadium is found in other organisms

The body's requirements vary widely. At one extreme a 70 kg human contains 1.0 kg of calcium but only 3 mg of cobalt.

Food sources

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