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Trace Minerals – are you getting enough?

Ask yourself this: Are you getting enough trace minerals? If the word “trace” didn’t precede “minerals”, then you might be more self-assured in your answer. But the word is there for a reason: trace minerals refer to vital minerals that are needed in small amounts. These trace elements are absolutely vital to the upkeep of our biological functions, yet we need less than 20 mg of these in a single day. Although some vitamins can be synthesized in the body in tiny amounts, trace minerals can only come from the diet. Anyone who wants to be at their healthiest needs to take into account information on the following trace minerals:

  • Zinc (Zn): Zinc is considered the “champion” trace mineral. An absence of zinc results in a compromised immune system, stunted growth, insufficient liver function, and poor eyesight, among many other possible health issues. Zinc has been compared to an essential amino acid in terms of its nutrient value
  • Iron (Fe) The trace element iron is needed for the production of haemoglobin. Copper helps in iron assimilation. Caffeine in tea and coffee interferes with iron absorption in the body. No more than 10mgs of iron is recommended daily. If too much iron is consumed people can begin to have seizures, a decrease in blood sugar levels and a fever. After a couple of days, of too much iron, it can build up in the liver and cause liver damage. Symptoms of this liver damage can include bleeding and jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin and white portion of the eyes.
  • Copper (Cu) Copper is involved in vitamin C metabolism and the synthesis of collagen – a major structural protein. It is therefore needed to maintain healthy bones, cartilage, hair and skin – especially their elasticity. In fact, if vitamin C intakes are optimal, copper deficiency can quickly occur if dietary intakes are limited. The risk of copper deficiency is greater when zinc intakes are high. The ideal dietary ratio of copper to zinc is 1:10. . Reduced zinc and copper occurs in the retinal pigment epithelium and choroid in age-related macular degeneration.
  • Manganese (Mn): As a nutrient essential to proper enzyme function, manganese performs a variety of roles for the human body. From nourishing skin and hair to facilitating calcium absorption and even helping with the breaking down of carbohydrates and dietary fats, this mineral assist many vital functions in the body.
  • Selenium (Se): The ideal partner of vitamin E. Together with selenium, these two nutrients work as antioxidants that help protect cells from free radical damage. Selenium accomplishes this by participating in glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme function that decreases peroxide concentrations in cells and subsequently blocks free radical production. What makes selenium unique among other trace minerals is how harmful it can become: too little selenium can cause muscle weakness and pain, while too much selenium can cause hair loss. Getting the right amount of selenium is the key to getting the most out of this trace mineral.

Knowing this, can you now answer the earlier question: ‘Are you getting enough trace minerals’? Remember all trace elements are toxic if consumed at sufficiently high levels for long enough periods.



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Last update on July 1, 11:27 am by Greg Gibson.
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