The iconic Got Milk? campaign has been spreading the word on calcium for strong bones since the 1990s. Over the last few years, countless news articles have shared just how critical zinc is to the immune system. Now, magnesium is having a moment on TikTok, with users posting daily about its role in relaxation. We know that minerals matter for overall health and well-being. But are we getting enough? Perhaps surprisingly, despite the reminders and information out there about their importance, the research says no.
So let’s take a deep dive into minerals. In addition to defining what they are, we’ll share the different types of minerals, uncover common mineral deficiencies, and explore mineral supplements and their benefits to help you determine if they’re right for you and your routine. The end goal? To help you better find nutritional wellness.
What Are Minerals?
A quick and easy minerals definition: Substances our bodies need to work as it should. To get a bit more specific, minerals are inorganic elements present in soil and water.
There are two different types of minerals: macrominerals and trace minerals. As their names indicate, you need larger amounts of the first and smaller amounts of the latter. But that doesn’t mean those categorized as trace minerals are any less vital to wellness. In fact, many trace minerals are considered essential for health alongside their macromineral counterparts.
The list of essential minerals includes calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur (macrominerals), along with cobalt, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, selenium, and zinc (trace minerals).
The Difference Between Vitamins and Minerals
Both vitamins and minerals are nutrients, micronutrients to be exact. Nutrients nourish us. They support our growth and development and keep us alive and well. Vitamins and minerals are considered micronutrients, because the body needs less of them than macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) to function.
But there are differences between vitamins and minerals. Without getting too scientific, as mentioned above, minerals are inorganic substances in soil and water; they maintain their chemical structure when exposed to the elements. Vitamins, on the other hand, are organic substances made by plants or animals. When exposed to heat, air, or light, for example, vitamins can be broken down.
Sources of Minerals
Because minerals are found in soil and water, they get absorbed by plants and consumed by animals—and are thus present in the foods we eat. We can get many of the essential minerals we need by eating a healthy, varied diet.
Foods rich in essential minerals include nuts and seeds, shellfish, meats (especially organ meats), eggs, and cruciferous vegetables from broccoli to brussels sprouts. In particular, Brazil nuts are famed for their concentration of selenium—just one nut can contain between 68 and 91 mcg, more than the daily recommended amount.1 Per serving, oysters contain more zinc than any other food.2 Of course, calcium is found in high amounts in dairy products, as well as salmon and leafy greens. And red meat is a rich source of iron.
You can also get essential and other minerals (such as boron, chromium, and strontium) from mineral supplements. Keep reading for more on minerals from supplements.
Common Mineral Deficiencies & Insufficiencies
Even though everyday foods are good sources, research suggests micronutrient inadequacies abound, with around 90% of us not getting enough minerals or vitamins from food alone.3 We all try to do our best to eat healthily, but the reality of our standard diet and our daily lives means we aren’t always able to carry out our well-intentioned plans. Sometimes, food is not enough.
For example, surveys suggest more than half of Americans don’t get enough magnesium from their diet, and around 44% don’t get enough calcium—some researchers speculate that number could be as high as 60%. Remarkably, data suggests nearly everyone doesn’t get adequate intake or meet the Estimated Average Requirement of potassium from food sources. Though the numbers are not as high, surveys also show many people aren’t consuming enough zinc, iron, or copper.3,4
Mineral Supplement Benefits: Should You Take Them?
Of course, mineral supplements can’t take the place of quality fruits and veggies. But they can be an important addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle. They work in tandem with food to help you better find nutritional balance and stay feeling your best.*
What’s more, smart supplementation can help sustain nutrient levels required for peak performance. The FDA established the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) and Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) to help us attain a minimum level of nutrition to support basic physiology. We want to ensure we are meeting these levels, and supplements can help close any gaps we may be experiencing. But for our bodies to function at their peak, studies support higher levels of some minerals and vitamins.
If you aren’t getting enough minerals from your diet or want to get more of a particular nutrient than can be consumed through food, a mineral supplement could be the right choice for you. Mineral supplements can be single-nutrient or multimineral formulas. Often, minerals are combined with vitamins to create multivitamin/multimineral supplements. These are the most frequently used supplements on the market today—research indicates up to half of all adults in the US take them.5
Solaray Mineral Supplements
We’re proud to offer different types of mineral supplements, with various mineral forms and in an array of formats to meet your needs. Like all of our products, our mineral supplements are some of the most efficacious and highest quality available, triple tested at our state-of-the-art lab in the heart of Utah.
To help illustrate just how powerful they are, for our Food Is Not Enough campaign, we calculated how much of a particular food you’d have to consume to get the same amount of nutrients found in some of our best-selling supplements.
- You would need to eat 50 cups of kale, 61 figs, or 5 cups of red quinoa to get the same relaxation, bone, and muscle support packed into one serving of Solaray Magnesium Glycinate 350 mg.*
- To get the same amount of zinc in just one capsule of our Zinc 50 mg, you would need to eat 5 cups of pumpkin seeds or 10 medium oysters.
We offer magnesium, zinc, calcium, and other single-nutrient formulas. If you’re looking for a multimineral supplement, customer favorites include Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc and our Mega Multi Mineral. And you’ll find a variety of minerals in our Liposomal Multivitamins as well, for the ultimate vitamin and mineral combination.
In total, we offer more than 40 mineral supplements. Shop our entire Minerals Collection.
Make Room for Minerals—On Your Plate & In Your Routine
Minerals are quintessential to health and well-being. A balanced diet is the foundation for overall wellness, and many foods are great sources of the essential minerals our bodies need to carry out a range of important functions. However, not all of us get adequate amounts of minerals from our diet. And that’s when mineral supplements come in: They can offer the assurance we need, by aiding us in closing any nutrient gaps we may be experiencing. Solaray is here to help you cover your nutritional bases with mineral supplements you can count on.
1. “Selenium Fact Sheet for Consumers,” National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-Consumer.
- “Zinc Fact Sheet for Health Professionals,” National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional.
- What America’s Missing, A 2011 Report on the Nation’s Nutrient Gap, based on National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Data.
- “Micronutrient Inadequacies in the US Population: An Overview,” Oregon State University, https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/micronutrient-inadequacies/overview.
- “Vitamins and Minerals,” National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/vitamins-and-minerals.