Essential Trace Minerals for Healthy Living
Essential trace minerals occur in extremely tiny amounts in the human body, but they are vital for good health and proper functioning of the various organs and systems of your body. These essential trace minerals are:
Recent studies of boron have shown that it affects energy and mineral metabolism. It seems to be important for the utilization of energy and maintenance of bone health. In animal studies, deficiencies of boron have been shown to result in an increase of calcium loss, interference with use of blood sugar, fat and insulin. No human cases of deficiency have been documented, but studies of volunteers indicate that low boron levels may exacerbate early stages of arthritis. The average adult intake of dietary boron is approximately 1 mg per day. Boron supplements are generally not needed as adequate levels of this essential trace mineral are available in the average diet. The main sources of this trace mineral are drinking water, milk, dairy products, juices and beverages. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, breads and cereals also contain boron. Meats, poultry and fish contain very little.
Copper is an essential trace mineral due to its presence in various bodily enzymes. It is especially important to the production, storage and metabolism of iron, and symptoms of deficiency are similar to those seen with deficiencies of iron. Copper is used by the cells in energy production and in the protection of those cells from damage by free radicals. It is also used in the enzyme that strengthens connective tissue and in the neurotransmitters in the brain. The average human body contains from 50 to 120 mg of copper, and most of that is stored in the liver. Experts recommend that adults consume 1.5-3.0 mg per day of copper, but recent surveys have indicated that most people consume 1 g or less of this essential trace mineral. Copper is found in foods like nuts, shellfish, organ meats and legumes. Grains and chocolate also contain measurable levels. Copper is generally supplemented as part of a quality daily multivitamin.
The fluoride present in the human body is almost entirely contained in the bones and teeth. Fluoride is best known as a catalyst for developing tooth enamel, and the presence of fluoride in the water has had great effects at reducing the levels of cavities and tooth decay in both children and adults. There is no Reference Daily Intake (RDI) established for fluoride, but most people probably consume about 1-2 mg of natural fluorides per day. It is easy to get this amount from normal diet and water supplies so supplementation is not necessary. The biggest source of this trace mineral is drinking water. In addition, seafood, certain teas, canned meats, hot dogs and lunch meat are also sources of fluoride. Most other foods are very low in fluoride.
Most iodide is stored in the thyroid gland, where it becomes an integral element in regulating cell activity and growth. An iodine deficiency will impair growth and brain development, and can result in brain damage. Today, the best protection against deficiency is provided by universal iodization of salt, and as a result iodine deficiencies are rarely seen. The Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for this trace mineral is 150 mcg for men. A balanced diet provides the necessary daily intake of iodine so supplementation is usually not required.
Lithium is an essential trace mineral that is best known for its pharmacological uses as an anti-manic psychiatric agent. No Reference Daily Intake (RDI) has been established but most people probably take in about 2 mg daily from their diets. Eggs, milk, processed meats, fish, milk, dairy products, potatoes and vegetables are all rich sources of lithium.
This essential trace mineral is found primarily in the bones, liver, brain and pancreas. Manganese is important in the function of several enzymes, including those involved in the formation of cartilage, bone and skin. Manganese is also an important antioxidant nutrient, and is very useful in the breakdown of amino acids and in the digestion of food and the transformation of that food into energy. It is also important as a catalyst in the breaking down of dietary fats and cholesterol, and in providing nourishment to the nerves and the brain.
There is no Reference Daily Intake (RDI) established for manganese but practitioners recommend approximately 3-5 mg daily. Pecans, peanuts and pineapples are all excellent sources of manganese. In addition, cereals such as shredded wheat, raisin bran and oatmeal are excellent sources of this trace mineral.
Molybdenum is an essential element for humans, with the highest concentrations found in the liver, kidneys, adrenal gland and bones. Molybdenum is a component of a number of enzymes involved in the metabolism of various amino acids (the building blocks of protein). Experts do not know a lot about this trace mineral so there is no Reference Daily Intake (RDI) established. It is usually added to multivitamins in the range of 100-300 mcg. Foods rich in molybdenum include legumes, cereals, and leafy vegetables. Molybdenum is generally a very easily absorbed nutrient.
Vanadium is an essential trace mineral that is found in very tiny levels in most plant and animal tissues. The highest concentrations of vanadium is found in the kidney, spleen, liver, bone, testes and lung. The total amount of vanadium contained in the average human body is thought to be around 0.1 to 1 mg. The role of vanadium in the human body has not yet been established, but research is ongoing into what makes it an essential trace mineral. It is believed that bones and teeth may use it as a building material. Vanadium may also play a role in blood sugar balance and cardiovascular function.
There is no Reference Daily Intake (RDI) established. The average person probably consumes 2-15 mg daily. The best dietary sources of vanadium include shellfish, mushrooms, dill, parsley and black pepper. Fresh fruits, legumes and dairy products generally contain very low levels of vanadium, but processing often increases the levels of such foods. For instance, dried milk powder and canned apple juice generally contain more vanadium than fresh milk or apples.