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The three biochemical roles of metals are:

  1. generation fo crosslinks in order to coordinate structure (Mg, Ca, Zn, Mn)
  2. accepting or donating electrons in biochemical (redox) reactions (Fe, Cu, Co)
  3. binding of oxygen (Fe, Cu, Mn)

For broad summaries of the biochemical involvement in metabolism of some minerals, see sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, zinc and selenium.