Mineral Summary*


Major Functions

Specified Deficiency Symptoms

Major Interrelationships and Toxicities

Calcium (Ca)

Bone and teeth formation; blood coagulation; muscle contraction; nerve function; cell permeability; milk production

Bone abnormalities - rickets (young) and osteomalacia (adults)

Vitamin D involved in absorption and bone deposition; excess PO4 decreases absorption; excess Mg decreases absorption, replaces Ca in bone and increases Ca excretion; Ca:P ratio should be 1:1 to 2:1

Phosphorus (P)

Bone and teeth formation; phosphorylation; high energy phosphate bonds; PO4 chief anion radical of intracellular fluid; PO4 important in acid-base balance

Bone abnormalities - rickets (young) and osteomalacia (adults)

Vitamin D involved in renal reabsorption and bone deposition; excess Ca and Mg causes decrease in absorption; Ca:P ratio should be 1:1 to 2:1; in male ruminants, excess P may cause urinary calculi

Sodium (Na)

Major cation of extracellular fluid where it is involved in osmotic pressure and acid-base equilibrium; preservation of normal muscle cell irritability; cell permeability

Reduced growth; eye disturbances with corneal lesions; reproduction impairment (infertility in males, delayed sexual maturity in females)

Staggering gait, blindness, nervous disorders and hypertension

Chlorine (Cl)

Major anion involved in osmotic pressure and acid-base balance (chlorine shift); hydrochloric acid in digestion

Hypochloremic alkalosis (usually due to physiological disturbance such as vomiting rather than deficiency); reduced growth

Toxicity unlikely

Magnesium (Mg)

Enzyme activator primarily in glycolytic system; bone formation

Vasodilation; hyperirritability with convulsions, loss of equilibrium and trembling

Excess upsets Ca and P metabolism; toxicity not unlikely

Potassium (K)

Major cation of intracellular fluid where it is involved in osmotic pressure and acid-base balance; muscle activity

Hypokalemia; lethargic condition with high incidence of comas and death; diarrhea, distended abdomen and untidy appearance, muscle weakness, stiffness, poor growth

Excess reduces Mg absorption; Mg deficiency reduces K retention leading to K deficiency

Sulfur (S)

Sulfur-containing amino acids; sulphydryl (SH) group function in tissue respiration; component of the vitamins, biotin and thiamine; abundant in the keratin-rich appendages, hoof, hair

Primarily reduced growth effect due to sulfur amino acid requirement for protein synthesis

Toxicity unlikely

Iron (Fe)

Cellular respiration (hemoglobin, cytochromes, myoglobin)

Less than normal amount of hemoglobin and fewer red cells; respiratory distress

Ca-P ratio influences absorption; Cu required for proper metabolism; pyridoxine deficiency decreases absorption

Copper (Cu)

Cofactor in several oxidation-reduction enzyme systems; hemoglobin synthesis; bone formation; maintenance of myelin of nerves; hair pigmentation

Fading hair coat; nervous symptoms or ataxia; lameness, swelling of joints and fragility of bones; anemia

Excess Mo, Zn inhibit its utilization and storage; toxicity occurs at levels 250 ppm with much the same symptoms as deficiency

Zinc (Zn)

Component or cofactor of several enzyme systems including peptidases and carbonic anhydrase; needed for bone development

Poor hair development; rough and thickened skin

High Ca phytate ties up Zn; excess Zn interferes with Cu metabolism and may cause anemia

Manganese (Mn)

Thought to be an activator of enzyme systems involved in oxidative phyosphorylation, amino acid metabolism, fatty acid synthesis and cholesterol metabolism; bone formation; growth and reproduction

Poor growth; shortened long bones; impaired reproduction (testicular degeneration of males, defective ovulation of females); impair immunity and central nervous system

Excess Ca and P decreases absorption; toxicity unlikely

Cobalt (Co)

Component of vitamin B12; needed by rumen bacteria for growth and B12 synthesis

Anemia; reduced appetite; reduced growth and body weight and eventually death

Related in vitamin B12; toxicity unlikely

Iodine (I)

Thyroxine formation (hormone in the thyroid gland) which controls development of fetus

Goiter; stillbirths; hairless at birth

Long-term intake of high amounts of I reduces thyroid uptake of I

Selenium (Se)

Not completely known but thought to be involved in vitamin E absorption and/or retention

Muscular degeneration

Chronic toxicity yields blind staggers at 10-20 ppm; acute toxicity occurs at 20 ppm and above; sudden death; SO4 protector against toxicity

Molybdenum (Mo)

Purine metabolism; stimulates microbial activity in rumen

Lack of conversion of xanthine to uric acid but not likely to be deficient in natural diet

Excess interferes with Cu activation of enzymes; causes anemia and diarrhea; SO4 protects against toxicity

Fluorine (F)

Traces protect against tooth decay

Excesses of F are of more concern than deficiencies in livestock production

Levels above 5-10 ppm block vital oxidative enzymes by interfering with Mn; causes bone deformities, enamel defects and organ degeneration; Ca and Al salts protect against toxicity; F is a cumulative poison so toxicity may not be noted for some time

* This table was re-produced from the text, Animal Feeding and Nutrition by Marshall H. Jurgens. It is important to note that these functions and interrelationships refer to ruminants in general and were compiled with traditional farm animals in mind (i.e. cattle and sheep). They are not specific to reindeer but they do provide a good overview and appreciation of minerals and their relationships with one another.

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Page Last Modified: 05/15/15 1:36 pm by: dsblodgett@alaska.edu