Appropriate intake levels of each dietary mineral must be sustained to maintain physical health. Excessive intake of a dietary mineral may either directly lead to illness or indirectly because of the competitive nature between mineral levels in the body. For example, large does of zinc are not really harmful unto themselves, but will lead to copper deficiency.
Soils in different geographic areas contain varying quantities of minerals.
In human nutrition, the most important dietary minerals include (in alphabetical order):
Secondary dietary minerals, not all of which have been definitively established as essential to human nutrition, include:
Calcium and sodium are not generally considered trace minerals, as they are needed in larger quantities. Aluminium is an essential trace mineral, but is toxic in higher doses; due to the extensive use of aluminium in food packaging today, one is more likely to receive too much rather than too little. Iron and potassium are needed in larger quantities than the other listed minerals and are sometimes included, sometimes not.