The human body requires minerals and trace minerals for its proper function. They are, for example, constituents of essential body fluids and materials of teeth and bones. Since they cannot be produced by the body, they must be consumed. Minerals are inorganic components of food which cannot be made by the human body. Minerals are essential and are vital components of all living cells and are involved in the metabolism. Trace minerals in turn belong to the minerals, but only in very small amounts exist in our bodies. Despite the small amounts of some trace minerals they are still vitally important. A lack of such essential trace minerals leads to deficiency symptoms. An iron deficiency can result in anemia. An iron deficiency can lead to metabolic disorders. And so on. There are numerous problems related to deficiencies of specific minerals. To prevent deficiencies, a certain minimum daily intake (EU RDA) is recommended. If this amount is not included in the diet, then the shortfall should preferably be met by way of supplementation. As with taking any type of dietary supplementation, regardless of how natural it is, you should always seek the advice of your doctor before doing so as every individual is different and specific individual circumstances may need to be taken into consideration to do so safely. Research in the USA showed that despite consumption of natural and whole foods, all the vitamins and minerals needed by the body may still not be met. The reasons are obvious: Immature crops, crops grown in soil depleted of its minerals, long transport routes, industrial processing, and food additives.
The Purpose of Trace Minerals & Minerals in the Body
- Construction of teeth and bones
- Minerals, in dissolved form, are electrolytes (electrically charged molecules used by the cells) which are vital properties of body fluids
- Minerals are essential elements of organic compounds in the body
Essential trace elements
These include chromium, iron, cobalt, fluorine, copper, iodine, cobalt, manganese, nickel, molybdenum, selenium, vanadium, tin and zinc.
Iron – Important for metabolism, a deficiency can lead to anemia. Symptoms of iron deficiency are pallor, fatigue, anorexia, dyspnoea, mouth sores, loss of pigment in skin and hair, reduced ability to concentrate. Excessive consumption can lead to liver cancer or atherosclerosis.
Fluorine – Important for stability of bones and teeth. Considered an aid to preventing tooth decay. In large amounts, fluoride is toxic.
Folic acid – Folic acid, also called vitamin B9 is a water soluble vitamin of the B complex. It’s good for the blood, liver and glands. Found in liver, whole grains, salmon, green leafy vegetables, spinach, broccoli, carrots, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, egg yolks and nuts. There are small amounts of it also in fruit and meat. A lack of folic acid in the body particularly affects the blood and can lead to birth defects and premature birth in pregnant women in the embryo.
Iodine – Important for the formation of the thyroid hormones thyroxin and triiodothyronine, as well as for regulation of energy balance. Iodine deficiency is particularly dangerous for pregnant women as it may cause harm to the child. During pregnancy iodine will help the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system.
Copper – Copper is part of the immune cells and regulates the incorporation of iron in the red cells. A deficiency leads to weakness, fatigue, skin pigment destruction, decreased immune function (frequent infections), joint inflammation, poor heart circulation and thyroid disorders. Copper can be found in nuts, legumes, raisins, seafood and soy. A toxic effect occurs at about 7 mg per day and leads to abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and liver damage.
Vanadium – Important for bones, teeth, blood fats and blood sugar lowering. Vanadium can be found in soybean, maize germ, sunflower and peanut oil and oyster.
Manganese – Manganese helps increase resistance to mental stress, aids muscle reflexes, helps protect the liver. It is responsible for building bone structure and connective tissue, plays a role in carbohydrate metabolism. A Manganese deficiency can lead to insufficient calcium in the bones, allergies, asthma, epilepsy, diabetes and rheumatism. A deficiency is very rare since it is found in many foods. Manganese can be found in wheat bran, oatmeal, hazelnuts, cereals, legumes, spinach, soybeans and bananas.
Selenium – Selenium acts as an antioxidant. It improves the immune system and aids the detoxification functions of the body. A deficiency can lead to increased chance of infections, possible cancer susceptibility, high blood pressure, heart attack risk, rheumatism, liver dysfunction, premature aging. Selenium can be found in nuts, wheat germ, cereals, fish and other marine animals, offal and eggs.
Silicon – Important for skin, nails, hair and teeth. Can be found in millet, oats and barley.
Zinc – Zinc improves insulin production and sugar utilization and also strengthens the immune system. It is important for the skin, hair, nails, and in coping with stressful situations. A deficiency can lead to diabetes, skin diseases, brittle nails. Can be found in whole grains, dairy products, meat, fish.