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any naturally occurring nonorganic homogeneous solid substance. There are 19 or more that form the mineral composition of the body; at least 13 are essential to health. These must be supplied in the diet and generally can be supplied by a varied or mixed diet of animal and vegetable products that meet energy and protein needs. For the recommended dietary allowances of common minerals in the United States and Canada, see Appendices 4 and 5. Calcium, iron, and iodine are the ones most frequently missing in the diet. Zinc, copper, magnesium, and potassium are minerals that are frequently involved in disturbances of metabolism. Other essential minerals include selenium, phosphorus, manganese, fluoride, chromium, and molybdenum. Minerals are either electropositive or electronegative; combinations of electropositive and electronegative elements lead to the formation of salts such as sodium chloride and calcium phosphate.
mineral oil a mixture of liquid hydrocarbons from petroleum, available in both light grade (light liquid petrolatum) and heavier grades (liquid or heavy liquid petrolatum). Light mineral oil is used chiefly as a vehicle for drugs, but it may also be used as a cathartic and skin emollient and cleansing agent. Heavy mineral oil is used as a cathartic, solvent, and oleaginous vehicle. Prolonged use of mineral oil as a cathartic should be avoided because it prevents absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins. Lipid pneumonia caused by aspiration of the oil has been shown to occur in those who habitually take it, especially the elderly.
min·er·al oil (MO),(min'ĕr-ăl oyl),
A mixture of liquid hydrocarbons obtained from petroleum, used as a vehicle in pharmaceutical preparations; occasionally used as an intestinal lubricant; can interfere with absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
1. Any of various light hydrocarbon oils, especially a distillate of petroleum.
2. A refined distillate of petroleum, used as a laxative.