Trace Elements

Rowden January 2015

Trace elements, though required in only very small amounts, are vital for maintaining health.

Known also as micro-minerals they are a vital part of the enzymes, hormones and cells in the body. The lack of trace elements such as iron, iodine, fluoride, copper, zinc, chromium, selenium, manganese and molybdenum can result in serious health problems, ranging from weakness and vertigo to brain damage in newborn children.

Iron -- is a vital nutrient and one of the building blocks of hemoglobin which carries oxygen through the body. An iron deficiency, which tends to be found more often in women, is characterised by weakness, fatigue and vertigo and in children by developmental issues. Good sources of iron are as follows:
• Beef liver 6.5mg per 100grams = 36% of daily needs
• Pork liver (paté) 18mg per 100 grams = 100% of daily needs
• Clams 28mg per 100 grams = 155% of daily needs
• Oysters 12mg per 100 grams = 67% of daily needs
• Mussels 6.7mg per 100grams = 37% of daily needs
• Spirulina 4.3mg per 15grams = 24% of daily needs
• Soy Beans 9.3mg per 250 m/lit = 52% of daily needs
• Spinach 3.0mg per 85 grams = 17% of daily needs
• Lentils 7.0mg per 250grams = 39% of daily needs
• Ginger 3.4 mg per 30 grams = 19% of daily needs (Ginger Tea)
• Fortified Cereals (Often added Iron) = See labelling

Iodine -- is critical in the formation of thyroid hormones and an inadequate supply can cause an enlarged thyroid gland; a deficiency in pregnancy can lead to brain damage in the new-born. Sources are seafood, eggs and milk.

Fluoride -- has a role in strengthening teeth and in bone formation. Sources are fluoridated water, salt water fish, tea and coffee.

Copper -- Due to its antioxidant action it prevents damage to cells and helps in energy production from carbohydrates, protein and fats. It is essential in the formation of bone, connective tissues and red blood cells. It is present in organ meats, shellfish, chocolate, beans and wholegrain cereals.

Zinc -- improves the immune function, helps clot blood, maintains the senses of taste and smell, keeps skin healthy and enables normal growth and development. Sources are eggs, seafood, red meat, fortified cereals and whole grains.

Chromium and Selenium -- Chromium is necessary for normal insulin function, the hormone that maintains blood sugar levels. It is essential too for the metabolism of carbohydrates, protein and fats. Important sources are liver, processed meats, whole grains, cheese and nuts.
Selenium works as an antioxidant and prevents cell damage. It may prevent some cancers and is essential for normal thyroid function. Sources are meat, seafood, nuts and cereals.

Manganese and Molybdenum -- Manganese helps in the formation of enzymes and is necessary for their activation. It works as an antioxidant, helps develop bones and heals wounds by increasing collagen production. Sources are pineapple, nuts, whole grains and beans.
Molybdenum also helps activate some enzymes and enables normal cell function. Sources are milk, legumes, whole grain breads and nuts.