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What do we need it for

Where is it in

Recommended quantity/day  Consequences of shortages

-strength skeleton and teeth
-good functioning muscles
-stimulus conduction nerves
-Blood coagulation
-cell growth
-Hormone metabolism
-energy supply

mainly in dairy products such as milk, yoghurt, quark and cheese.

adults between 19-50 years ± 950 mg, between
50 -70 years 1100 mg and from 70 years 1200 mg.

-in infants: muscle cramp
-in the elderly: osteoporosis
-osteomalacia (osteoporosis) if calcium absorption is insufficient due to vit. D deficiency


-haemoglobin component
-oxygen supply cells
-immune system
-energy supply

heme-iron is mainly found in animal products such as meat.
non-heme iron is found in vegetable products, such as potatoes, bread and vegetables.

adult men 11 mg,

adult women 15 mg.

-reduced focus


-good insulin action
-Enforcement of blood-sugar-fat metabolism

Grain products with a lot of bran contain a lot of chromium. It is unclear whether chromium can be properly absorbed. In addition, chromium mainly occurs in brewer's yeast, wholemeal bread, vegetables, cane molasses, meat and liver. Meat, poultry and fish contain between 1 and 2 micrograms of chromium per portion. Vitamin C improves the absorption of chromium.

No recommended amounts of chromium are known. There are indications that supplements containing chromium may have a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels and insulin release in patients with diabetes (type 2),

It is only in cases of severe malnutrition that deficiency can occur. This can lead to an increased concentration of glucose in the blood, increased cholesterol levels in the blood and weight loss.


-skeleton stiffness
-energy supply,
-DNA carbohydrate-,
-fat and protein metabolism

Phosphorus occurs in almost all foods. Milk, fish, meat and bread contain relatively large amounts of phosphorus. Phosphorus is also added to foods in the form of phosphate salt as a binding agent.

Adult men and women (22-50 years of age) need 700-1400 mg per day. The absorption of phosphorus is reduced by gastric acid medicines containing aluminium and by high doses of calcium carbonate (chalk). Calcium carbonate is found in calcium supplements.

A deficiency is almost non-existent because it is present in almost all food. A shortage of phosphorus can lead to anorexia, anaemia, bone pain, incorrect bone formation during growth in children or increased susceptibility to infections.


-moisture balance
-muscle contraction
-conducting nerve impulses
-regulation of blood pressure together with potassium

Sodium is an important component of table salt (sodium chloride). Sodium is present in almost all foods. In some foods, sodium occurs naturally.

It is assumed that no more than 500 mg of sodium or 1.5 g of table salt per day is required to meet the requirement. It is advised not to use more than 6 grams of table salt (2000 mg sodium) per day.

A deficit is almost non-existent. Sometimes it can cause dehydration in top athletes if they sweat too much. Too much sodium can cause cardiovascular disease.


-antioxidant-good resistance
-sperm cell formation
-healthy hair

Selenium is present in almost all food. The content of selenium in vegetable products depends on the amount of selenium in the soil. Cereals are generally richer in selenium than vegetables. Organic meat (such as liver and kidney), fish and shellfish also contain a lot of selenium.

Adult men and women (22-50 years) need 50-150 micrograms per day

If there is a shortage of selenium, there may be a disturbance in the functioning of the heart muscle.


-build-up of proteins
-important for the growth and renewal of tissues
-healthy bones, hair and skin
-good memory
Carbohydrate build-up and breakdown
-Part of insulin
-defence system

Zinc can be found in meat, fish, herring, brown bread, legumes and rice. Dietary fibres and phosphorus have an inhibiting effect on the absorption of zinc.

The recommended amount for adult males (22-50 years) is 10 milligrams per day and for females at 9 milligrams per day.


In infants: growth retardation and malnutrition
In addition:-growth retardation-reduced odour and taste skin defects-night blindness


-energy metabolism
-Transmission of nerve impulses
-good functioning and muscle building
-skeleton stiffness

Magnesium is found in almost all foods. Soy beans and nuts contain more than 100 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams. Green vegetables and unpeeled grains are also rich in magnesium. Furthermore, drinking water can make an important contribution to the intake of magnesium. This depends on the magnesium content of the drinking water.

The recommended daily allowance for adult men (19-50 years of age) is 300-350 mg and for adult women 250-350 mg.

In the event of a prolonged shortage of magnesium, complaints occur:
-Irritation of the nerves in the muscles
-Cardiac arrhythmias
-stomach cramps and fatigue.


-Thyroid hormone formation
-growth and metabolism
-nervous system
-energy supply

Seafish and vegetables contain iodine from (sea) water. Furthermore, milk products, bread and bread substitutes, meat products, cooking salt and kitchen salt substitutes may be enriched with iodine.

In the Netherlands we stick to the American recommended daily quantities. Adults need 150 micrograms per day. During pregnancy 220 micrograms are recommended. Women who are breastfeeding require an RDA of 290 micrograms per day.

-Struma; this causes the thyroid gland to swell.
-In children, this results in retarded physical and mental growth.
-In adults, the reactions slow down, the tissues retain moisture and reduce the ability to think.


-oxygen transport (ensures that iron is captured in haemoglobin)
-pigmentation skin and hair
-Connective tissue and bone formation
-energy supply

Copper is mainly found in offal, sea fish, crustaceans, nuts and cereal products. Furthermore, fruit and vegetables and cocoa products are sources of copper. The absorption of copper is inhibited by zinc and at a dose of more than 1500 mg of vitamin C per day.

The recommended daily allowance for adults (22-50 years) is 1.5 - 3.5 mg.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women need extra copper

A shortage of copper is rare. The risk of a shortage is greater in the case of newborn children, premature babies and children who have been malnourished.
Symptoms that often occur are anaemia, reduction of the immune system and bone abnormalities, such as osteoporosis (osteoporosis).


-nerve prick guidance
-maintaining normal blood pressure
-muscle contraction
-energy muscles

Potassium is found in almost all foods. Important sources of potassium are potatoes, bread, dairy, meat(s) and vegetables.
When potatoes and vegetables are boiled with a lot of water, more potassium is lost.

In the Netherlands, there is no recommended daily allowance for potassium. Recommendations in Europe are in the order of 3.1 - 3.5 grams of potassium per day for adults.

Potassium is found in many foods, so a deficiency is rare. A deficiency can occur as a result of an increased loss of potassium due to prolonged diarrhoea or vomiting. Potassium deficiency can also occur due to the use of laxatives or diuretics. Symptoms of potassium deficiency include muscle weakness and a disturbed heart function. Psychological disorders such as depression and confusion can also be a result of potassium deficiency.


-formation of bone tissue
-metabolism amino acids, cholesterol and carbohydrates
-protection against oxidative stress
-energy supply

Manganese is found in grains, rice, nuts, leafy vegetables, fruit, meat, fish and tea.

There is no known recommended daily intake of manganese.

Nothing is known about the consequences of shortages of manganese.



-moisture balance together with sodium and potassium
-Formation of heartburn (hydrochloric acid)

Salt, which consists of sodium and chloride, is the main source of chloride. Chloride, like sodium, is therefore found in almost all foods.

There is no recommended daily allowance for chloride. It is assumed that no more than 1.5 g of cooking salt is required per day to meet the requirement.

A shortage of chloride will not occur quickly in the Netherlands because chloride is present in almost all food. As a result, people who follow a low-salt diet still consume enough chloride.


-is part of enzymes involved in protein synthesis and degradation

Molybdenum is found in legumes, grains and nuts. Other sources of molybdenum are offal, milk and eggs.

There is no recommended daily allowance for molybdenum.

Negative effects of molybdenum deficiency in humans have not been found to date.