This study evaluated the relationships between dietary minerals and plasma lipids and glucose of forty-three adults, age 60 and above. Subjects self-selected diets averaged 33% of calories from fat, and 205 mg of cholesterol per day. Plasma total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose were determined enzymatically, and LDL-cholesterol was calculated. Plasma lipid values for subjects with dietary mineral intakes less than 2/3 of the RDA were compared to those with intakes greater than 2/3 of RDA. With lower copper intakes plasma triglycerides were elevated (p < or = 0.05). Both plasma total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol were elevated with lower zinc intakes (p < or = 0.05). LDL-cholesterol was elevated with lower calcium intakes (p < or = 0.05) and with lower magnesium intakes fasting glucose was elevated (p < or = 0.05). No significant differences were observed in plasma lipids due to dietary fat, saturated fat or cholesterol intakes. In these older adults, dietary mineral intakes showed more relationships to plasma lipid parameters than did amount or composition of dietary fat or cholesterol.