Institut Kirchhoff Berlin GmbH


Date: March 2016

Background and toxicological classification

The alkaline metals (sodium, potassium) and earth alkaline metals (calcium, magnesium) belong to the inorganic nutrients that are most essential to human life. They belong to the bulk elements that are present in the human body by more than 50 mg per kg body weight. In a balanced diet, the body is supplied with enough of them. Deficiencies can be offset by dietary supplements. Not just deficiencies but also overdosages can lead to severe clinical consequences.

Daily requirementDeficiencyOverdosage
Sodium550 mgCramps, circulatory failureTiredness, dizziness, increased blood pressure
Potassium2000 mgMuscle weakness, impaired cardiac activity, bowel paralysisGastrointestinal complaints, circulatory collapse
Calcium800 mgOsteoporosis, rickets, muscle weaknessHindered iron intake
Magnesium375 mgCramps, heart rhythm disturbances, gastrointestinal problemsDiarrhoea, increased muscle tension

Legal classification

  • Directive (EC) 1924/2006 (Health claims directive): Na, call for enhancement with minerals, see LMIV for reference amount
  • Directive (EU) 1169/2011 (LIMV) Appendix XIII Reference amounts for the daily addition of minerals: Ca, Mg
  • German Drinking Water Ordinance 2001 – Enclosure 3 Limit value sodium 200 mg/L
  • German Mineral Water and Bottled Water Ordinance – Quality requirements with minimum and maximum contents of sodium, magnesium and calcium


After an acidic microwave digestion, the samples, at a suitable dilution, are atomised and ionised in an inductively coupled argon plasma. The sample’s positively charged ions are drawn from the plasma using a system of perforated sheets, then separated and detected using mass spectometry. Quantification occurs by means of an external calibration.

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