Present in trace amounts in our body and in our diet, trace elements are nevertheless essential for good daily health .
What exactly are trace elements? What are the benefits of these trace elements?
What are trace elements?
The term trace element comes from the Greek “oligo” which can be translated as “not very abundant” or “small quantity”.
Trace elements are therefore mineral substances present in very small quantities in the human body (content less than 1 mg/kg of body weight).
This is the case for copper, iodine, iron, fluorine, molybdenum, chromium, selenium, boron, manganese and even cobalt.
Present in trace amounts, these nutrients are nevertheless essential for being fit and in good health. Indeed, these come into play in many vital functions such as:
- metabolic or enzymatic reactions;
- the expression of certain hormonal signals;
- the proper functioning of the immune system;
- strengthening the strength of certain tissues such as bones and teeth.
Essential and non-essential trace elements: what’s the difference?
Substances present in trace amounts in the human body are classified into two groups, essential trace elements and non-essential trace elements.
What is the difference between both ?
What is an essential trace element?
Certain trace elements are called essential because they play an important role in numerous metabolic mechanisms or reactions. They are present naturally in the human body.
A deficiency in essential trace elements can then have more or less serious repercussions on the health of the individual (metabolic imbalances, functional disorders, etc.).
Essential trace elements are also divided into two groups:
- Those at risk of deficiency demonstrated in humans: these are iron, iodine, fluorine, selenium, copper, molybdenum, chromium and zinc;
- Those who are at low risk of deficiency: this means that a deficiency has not been shown to cause a health problem. This is the case for cobalt, manganese, nickel, silicon, vanadium and tin.
What is a non-essential trace element?
Conversely, non-essential trace elements are not naturally present in our body.
As is the case with silver, gold or lithium, they can, however, have pharmacological properties. These are very useful in supporting certain disorders.
What are the health benefits of trace elements?
The benefits of trace elements on health and fitness are numerous, both alone and in synergy with others:
- silver (Ag): silver has an interesting anti-infectious and antiviral action in strengthening immunity. This trace element also helps in healing and reducing certain skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. Silver is recommended to combat fatigue;
- bismuth (Bi) : bismuth has long been used for its anti-infectious action in the throat and upper digestive tract. It is particularly recommended for the treatment of sore throats, angina, pharyngitis or laryngitis;
- Calcium (Ca) plays an essential role in the strength of bones and teeth. It is also involved in muscle contraction and has a preventive effect on high blood pressure;
- chromium (Cr) promotes the metabolism of lipids. It reduces cholesterol, contributes to better blood sugar levels and regulates appetite. This is why it can be recommended for weight control;
- cobalt (Co) is not naturally present in our body. However, the benefits of this trace element are numerous. First of all, it is closely linked to the metabolism of vitamin B12. Furthermore, it is a hypotensive, hypoglycemic and vasodilator. It is therefore recommended for migraine conditions or in cases of fatigue;
- copper (Cu) has a very useful anti-infectious action to prevent and fight against flu conditions and other viral infections during the winter. It is also effective against joint pain and certain skin problems;
- fluorine (F) : the benefits of this trace element have been known for a long time. Fluoride contributes in particular to the strengthening of bone tissues and teeth;
- iron (Fe) : iron is an essential element because it is notably involved in the metabolism of hemoglobin. In fact, it contributes indirectly to good oxygenation of tissues, particularly during exercise;
- iodine (I) : this trace element is essential for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. The latter influence numerous functions, notably cardiac, muscular, digestive and even linked to the nervous system;
- lithium (Li) : involved in the regulation of the nervous system, lithium helps to alleviate sleep disorders, depression and anxiety;
- magnesium (Mg) : cardiac and immune system stimulant, magnesium is also indicated against sleep disorders, fatigue, stress and migraine;
- manganese (Mn) : the benefits of this trace element are well documented. It is first of all an anti-allergic recommended as a preventative measure against allergies. It stimulates the immune response and has interesting antioxidant properties;
- molybdenum (Mo) : recommended for people suffering from Crohn's disease, molybdenum is involved in numerous metabolic reactions. Its consumption requires scrupulous compliance with the recommended dosages;
- nickel (Ni) : nickel is essential in carbohydrate metabolism and iron absorption. It facilitates the regulation of the pancreas. So many essential functions for controlling diabetes, excess weight and even pancreas and liver conditions;
- gold (Au) : no trace of gold is found in the body in its natural state. However, this trace element can be of interest in stimulating the immune system, against rheumatism or in cases of fatigue. Combined with other trace elements such as copper, it allows for faster recovery following an infection;
- phosphorus (P) : from a physiological point of view, phosphorus is a regulator of calcium metabolism. It plays an important role in bones, particularly in cases of osteoarthritis or osteoporosis. It is also a diuretic and an antispasmodic;
- Potassium (K) is involved in the regulation of heart rate and the transmission of nerve impulses. Potassium can be recommended in cases of heart problems and hypertension. These are not the only benefits of this trace element since it has a diuretic function and is involved in muscle contraction;
- selenium (Se): the benefits of this trace element are essential for good health. Indeed, it is an anti-infective, but also an antioxidant. It protects against cell aging under the effect of free radicals. In addition, selenium facilitates the excretion of heavy metals toxic to the body;
- silicon (Si) is essential for the synthesis of connective tissue. This trace element stimulates cell growth. It is also a remineralizer. In fact, it is indicated in particular to strengthen bones or in cases of decalcification or osteoarthritis;
- sulfur (S) is involved in key metabolic reactions such as the synthesis of amino acids. It is also involved in the regulation of respiratory mucous membranes. It is in fact recommended in case of allergy. Detoxification, cardiovascular disorders, rheumatism, it is an important trace element for good daily health;
- vanadium (V): vanadium is essentially involved in lipid metabolism;
- zinc (Zn): this mineral participates in many functions of the human body. Among these, the regulation of the hormonal and nervous system, an antioxidant effect, an anti-infectious action. It is also recommended against hair loss and against brittle nails. Combined with other trace elements, it can also be a source of benefits for weight control, allergies and recovery after exercise.
- boron (Zn): it is a trace element whose role in human physiology is still unknown. However, American studies have shown a lower incidence of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis in regions where boron intakes were greater than 3 mg/day. Boron is involved in bone metabolism in combination with vitamin D and Calcium (although the mechanism is not well known).
Trace elements in food supplements?
Our body is unable to synthesize the trace elements it needs. The one and only source therefore comes from the plate and a balanced and varied diet. However, this is not always enough.
Using food supplements can therefore represent an interesting alternative.
This is the reason why our Multivitamin and Mineral food supplement is rich in trace elements. It contains 100% of the recommended daily intake (RDA) for the following trace elements: Iodine, Selenium, Chromium and Molibdene. In addition, it also allows a contribution of 25% of the RDI of magnesium.
Many of our formulas also contain trace elements. This is the case for our Iron food supplement , our Vitamin B12 + Iodine and Selenium formula, or even Vegakid , a formula designed to secure vitamin and mineral intake for children.
Fatigue, cramps, stress, sleep problems, flu, concentration problems, these food supplements help you overcome small declines in form throughout the year.
- The role of Calcium:
- Calcium carbonate:
The importance of boron for healthy bones and joints ' Newnham team Nov 1994 www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov
Health Canada: www.hc-sc.gc.ca