Functional changes appropriate for determining mineral element requirements

J Nutr. 1996 Sep;126(9 Suppl):2354S-2364S. doi: 10.1093/jn/126.suppl_9.2354S.


One factor limiting efforts to determine human requirements for dietary intakes of mineral elements has been the unavailability of acceptable standards for evaluating the effects of marginal and mild deficiencies. Traditional approaches, such as growth, longevity, chemical balance and measurement of concentrations of minerals in plasma or serum and cellular components of the blood, have not been sensitive indicators of mineral nutriture. One alternative that has been shown to be responsive to graded dietary mineral intake is the evaluation of functional responses to specific challenges or stressors. Aberrant responses, either exaggerated or attenuated, to controlled stressors have been observed in a variety of physiological, psychological and immunological parameters when mineral intakes have been suboptimal by conventional standards, compared with adequate responses. In comparison to static biochemical approaches for assessment of mineral nutritional status, functional tests may be sensitive and responsive to alterations in mineral intake in adult humans. Dynamic functional measures complement static biochemical measures and reflect the net effect of deficiencies on integrated biological systems. The application of some of these types of dynamic evaluations of function may be a useful and productive approach for proposing mineral element intakes to optimize human health and biological function and performance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Basal Metabolism
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Body Temperature Regulation
  • Copper / pharmacology
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minerals*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Nutritional Requirements*
  • Physical Exertion
  • Rats
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Trace Elements*
  • Zinc / metabolism


  • Minerals
  • Trace Elements
  • Copper
  • Zinc