Minerals are very important for your body’s daily functioning. They help your body carry out its daily functions and processes in the most efficient and beneficial way possible. When your body doesn’t get enough, or gets too much, of any of those important nutrients, there is chance you may increase the risk of disease or other medical problems. Some of them particularly sodium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur and calcium are minerals that you may be familiar with most. They can have a great impact on weight management, blood pressure, cancer, depression, pain, PMS, digestion, etc. But there are the trace minerals that are essential for our body, though we need them in much smaller amounts. These trace minerals include iron, chromium, copper, zinc, iodine, manganese and selenium, etc.
Actually, trace minerals (inorganic micronutrients) are essential minerals found in a large variety of animal and plant foods. They help your body do regulatory and structural functions. Here the word trace refers to the low amount of these minerals that your body needs and the required amounts might be less than 100 mg per day. Recent studies suggest that there is a connection between trace elements and cognitive function in older adults.
Trace minerals are associated with a lot of health benefits. They serve as reinforcement for bones, cartilage, and other bodily tissue. Some of them specifically calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium are among the primary minerals that keep bones healthy and strong. Trace minerals improve your cognition, energy production, immunity, nerve and muscle function, and many more. They also help produce red blood cells (also known as erythrocytes) that deliver oxygen throughout the body for energy production. These red blood cells specifically need iron to transport oxygen.
Trace minerals are also required by your muscles and central nervous system to ease nerve impulses. They help activate the muscles in your heart, cause your brain to function properly, and your organs and body cause to move or flex. Moreover, your immune system requires minerals such as zinc to combat infections, heal wounds, and repair damaged cells. Again, one of the minerals, selenium further supports the body’s ability to ward off heart problems and even protect against the formation of cancer cells.
The common health benefits of trace minerals include:
- Improve cognitive function
- Help reduce chronic diseases including cancer, coronary heart disease, anemia, osteoporosis, etc. 
- Regulate cardiovascular function 
- Have antioxidant properties 
- Improve proper functioning of the immune system 
- Help with infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS 
- Help patients with cancer 
- Improve growth and development 
- Help with diabetes 
- Improve memory and learning 
- Improve gastrointestinal blood loss 
- May affect hemoglobin levels 
- Improve neural development and functioning 
- Increase fertility 
- Improve sexual development 
Trace minerals must have a lot of health benefits. They are essential for our growth and development. You may be more familiar with minerals like iron, zinc, fluoride, and iodine, but other trace minerals are copper, selenium, molybdenum, chromium, and manganese. All of the trace minerals are necessary for the body, particularly the ones listed above.
How it works
Trace minerals are crucial building blocks for hundreds of enzymes. They facilitate a multitude of biochemical reactions. They may be a requirement for normal growth and development as well as neurological functions. They also serve as anti-oxidants and support the blood system. They are necessary for certain hormones and they are required for normal gonadal development. Here is a short description of some of the functions of some of the trace minerals.
Iron is a vital element in the formation of red blood cells and lean muscle. Chromium may help with insulin functions and glucose metabolism. Copper is a constituent in many enzymes involved in such key functions as energy production, iron metabolism, healthy connective tissue, neurotransmission, and the making of hemoglobin. Zinc is essential for normal growth and development in children, proper functioning of the immune system, many neurological functions and reproduction. Iodine is a familiar key element of the thyroid hormone. Very small amount of iodine in drinking water and nutrition can lead to a slowed metabolism, weight gain, abnormal lipid profile and mental sluggishness. Manganese is another component that facilitates in many enzymes that have anti-oxidant benefits for a multitude of metabolic functions, support bone development and wound healing. Selenium is the part of the amino acid selenocysteine that happens in 25 different seleno proteins which can play important roles in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis, and protection from oxidative damage and infection.
Certain mineral elements are essential for the development and function of the brain. Of the macroelements (those present in the body in large amounts), sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium are essential for electrophysiological function. Deficiencies or excesses of these elements can result in severe neuropsychological abnormalities. The functions of vitamins and macro-elements in the nervous system have been reviewed elsewhere. Certain trace elements (elements present in the body in kg/g amounts) are essential for brain growth and function. Though all the trace minerals are important, from a human health standpoint, the elements of greatest importance are iodine, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, mercury and lead.
A very small amount of trace minerals can help turn food into energy, assist with growth, carry oxygen to cells and build your immune system. Trace minerals supplements are generally safe. However, though it is rare, they may come with some negative side effects like gastric upset, nausea, vomiting, cramping and diarrhea. Overdose may also cause some adverse effects. Too much manganese supplementation may affect your neurological system the toxicity may cause psychiatric symptoms, tremors, muscle spasms and trouble walking. Excessively zinc may decrease the effectiveness of your immune system, which makes you more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections. Too much zinc can cause headaches. High levels of iodine can cause thyroid gland and thyroid hormone problems.
Therefore, you should remember that trace mineral supplementation can only be prescribed and monitored by your doctor. Consult your doctor first before using trace minerals supplements.
Generally, you need a very small amount of each trace mineral daily, although specific amounts depend on your age and sex. But remember, though small in amount, they are vital to your health because each mineral provides a unique benefit. However, you are recommended to consult your doctor for an appropriate dose for you.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI, for short), for the most important trace minerals can be as follows.
Chromium – 25 mcg for women and 35 mcg for men
Copper – 900 mcg for both men and women
Iodine – 150 mcg for both men and women
Iron – 18 mg for women and 8 mg for men
Manganese – 1.8 mg for women and 2.3 mg for men
Molybdenum – 45 mcg for women and men
Selenium – 55 mcg for both women and men
Zinc – 8 mg for women and 11 mg for men