a1 Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance (IUNA) at: Nutritional Sciences, Department of Food Science, Food Technology and Nutrition, University College, Cork, Republic of Ireland
a2 Department of Clinical Medicine, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, St James's Hospital, Dublin 8, Republic of Ireland
a3 Northern Ireland Centre for Diet and Health (NICHE), University of Ulster, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, BT52 ISA, Northern Ireland
Objective To measure mineral intakes and the contribution of different food groups to mineral intakes in adults aged 18–64 years in Ireland. Intakes are reported for Ca, Mg, P, Fe, Cu and Zn. The adequacy of mineral intakes in the population and the risk of occurrence of excessive intakes are also assessed.
Design Food consumption was estimated using a 7-day food diary for a representative sample (n = 1379; 662 men, 717 women) of 18–64-year-old adults in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland selected randomly from the electoral register. Mineral intakes (Ca, Mg, P, Fe, Cu and Zn) were estimated using tables of food composition.
Results Mean nutrient density of intakes was higher for women than men for Ca and Fe and increased with age for all minerals, except Ca for men and Fe for women. Meat and meat products were the major contributor to mean daily intakes of Zn (38%), P (23%), Fe (18%), Cu (15%) and Mg (13%); dairy products (milk, yoghurt and cheese) to Ca (44%), P (22%), Zn (14%) and Mg (11%); bread and rolls to Fe (21%), Cu (18%), Ca and Mg (17%), Zn (13%) and P (12%); potatoes and potato products to Cu (16%), Mg (14%) and Fe (10%); and breakfast cereals to Fe (13%). In women of all ages nutritional supplements contributed 7.6%, 4.4%, 3.6% and 2.2% of mean daily intake of Fe, Zn, Cu and Ca, respectively, while in men of all ages, nutritional supplements contributed 2.7%, 2.3%, 1.7% and 0.6%, respectively, to mean daily intakes of Fe, Zn, Cu and Ca. Adequacy of minerals intakes in population groups was assessed using the average requirement (AR) as a cut-off value. A significant prevalence of intakes below the AR was observed for Ca, Fe, Cu and Zn but not P. A higher proportion of women than men had intakes below the AR for all minerals. Almost 50% of 18–50-year-old females had intakes below the AR for Fe, while 23%, 23% and 15% of women of all ages had intakes below the AR for Ca, Cu and Zn, respectively. For men of all ages, 11%, 8% and 13% had intakes below the AR for Ca, Cu and Zn, respectively. There appears to be little risk of excessive intake of Ca, Mg, P, Cu or Zn in any age/sex category. However, 2.9% of women of all ages had intakes above the tolerable upper intake level for Fe (45 mg) due to supplement use.
Conclusion Almost 50% of women aged 18–50 years had Fe intakes below the AR and relatively high proportions of women of all ages had intakes below the AR for Ca, Cu and Zn. With the possible exception of iron intake from supplements in women, there appears to be little risk of excessive intake of minerals in the adult population. Meat and meat products, dairy products (milk, cheese and yoghurt), Keywords bread and rolls, potatoes and potato products and breakfast cereals are important Mineral intake sources of minerals; nutritional supplements make only a small contribution to Ireland mineral intakes in the population as a whole but may contribute significantly to Food consumption survey intakes among supplement users.