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8.7: Trace Minerals

  • Page ID
    9790
  • [ "article:topic", "authorname:hawaiinutrition" ]

    Trace minerals are classified as minerals required in the diet each day in smaller amounts, specifically 100 milligrams or less. These include copper, zinc, selenium, iodine, chromium, fluoride, manganese, molybdenum, and others

    • Prelude to Trace Minerals
      Although trace minerals are needed in smaller amounts it is important to remember that a deficiency in a trace mineral can be just as detrimental to your health as a major mineral deficiency.
    • Iron
      Iron is needed for the production of other iron-containing proteins such as myoglobin. Myoglobin is a protein found in the muscle tissues that enhances the amount of available oxygen for muscle contraction. Iron is also a key component of hundreds of metabolic enzymes. Many of the proteins of the electron-transport chain contain iron–sulfur clusters involved in the transfer of high-energy electrons and ultimately ATP synthesis.
    • Copper
      Copper, like iron, assists in electron transfer in the electron-transport chain. Furthermore, copper is a cofactor of enzymes essential for iron absorption and transport. The other important function of copper is as an antioxidant. Symptoms of mild to moderate copper deficiency are rare. More severe copper deficiency can cause anemia from the lack of iron mobilization in the body for red blood cell synthesis.
    • Zinc
      Zinc is a cofactor for over two hundred enzymes in the human body and plays a direct role in RNA, DNA, and protein synthesis. Zinc also is a cofactor for enzymes involved in energy metabolism. As the result of its prominent roles in anabolic and energy metabolism, a zinc deficiency in infants and children blunts growth.
    • Iodine
      Iodine is essential for the synthesis of thyroid hormone, which regulates basal metabolism, growth, and development. Low iodine levels and consequently hypothyroidism has many signs and symptoms including fatigue, sensitivity to cold, constipation, weight gain, depression, and dry, itchy skin and paleness.
    • Chromium
      The functioning of chromium in the body is less understood than that of most other minerals. It enhances the actions of insulin so plays a role in carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. Currently, the results of scientific studies evaluating the usefulness of chromium supplementation in preventing and treating Type 2 diabetes are largely inconclusive. More research is needed to better determine if chromium is helpful in treating certain chronic diseases and, if so, at what doses.
    • Manganese
      Manganese is a cofactor for enzymes that are required for carbohydrate and cholesterol metabolism, bone formation, and the synthesis of urea. The recommended intake for manganese is 2.3 mg per day for adult males and 1.8 mg per day for adult females. Manganese deficiency is uncommon. The best food sources for manganese are whole grains, nuts, legumes, and green vegetables.
    • Molybdenum
      Molybdenum also acts as a cofactor that is required for the metabolism of sulfur-containing amino acids, nitrogen-containing compounds found in DNA and RNA, and various other functions. The recommended intake for molybdenum is 46 mcg per day for both adult males and females. The food sources of molybdenum is varies depending on the content in the soil in the specific region.
    • Fluoride
      Fluoride is known mostly as the mineral that combats tooth decay. It assists in tooth and bone development and maintenance.
    • Selenium
      Selenium is a cofactor of enzymes that release active thyroid hormone in cells and therefore low levels can cause similar signs and symptoms as iodine deficiency. The other important function of selenium is as an antioxidant.

    Thumbnail: A pile of iodized salt. Image used with permission (CC BY-SA 3.0; Drtony999)