Trace Elements – The Chemical Molecules of Health

Traditional multivitamins contain all ten essential trace elements. However, they often do not include new candidates for the group of supporting minerals. Find out which substances they are, as well as whether your vitamins provide you with adequate doses of them.

Why “trace elements”?

Trace elements are minerals that are found in small, microscopic amounts in the body, without which, however, health is subjected to enormous tests. The original trace elements are cobalt, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, sulfur, and zinc. Sulfur was added to macronutrients because, according to many modern researchers, it has a key character in the athlete’s metabolism.

Boron, silicon, and vanadium are considered necessary for the overall (holistic and sports) diet of modern man but are not yet accepted in the family of trace elements.


Functions of boron:

The body needs micro-amounts of boron to maintain bone health and muscle growth because it promotes the formation of natural steroid molecules. The metabolism of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium is associated with the metabolism of boron, so its deficiency can disrupt the metabolism of macronutrients.

Boron stimulates the brain by improving its ability to draw energy from fats and sugars.

Sources of boron:

You can get boron from the following foods: leafy vegetables, nuts, grains, carrots, apples, pears, and grapes.

Recommended daily dose *:

Men: 2 to 3 mg/day
Women: 2 to 3 mg/day


Do not take more than 3 mg. of boron daily!


Functions of vanadium:

Vanadium is required for cellular metabolism and the formation of bones and teeth. It plays a role in the growth and reproduction of the organism. It has been shown to inhibit cholesterol synthesis and improve insulin utilization and thus improve glucose tolerance.

Vanadium is not easily absorbed by the body. The need for vanadium in athletes is increasing.

Sources of vanadium:

Sources of vanadium are meat, fish, vegetable oils, some legumes, whole grains, dill, olives, and radishes.

Recommended daily dose:

Men: 1.8 mg/day;
Women: 1.8 mg/day.


Vanadium and chromium are thought to interact. If you take both minerals, such as vanadium sulfate and chromium picolinate, take them at different times to fully absorb them.


Functions of germanium:

Germanium improves the function of oxidative processes in cells. Participates in the suppression of pain and helps to expel toxins and poisons from the body. It is believed to improve the activity of the immune system. Like hemoglobin, it helps enrich tissues with oxygen.

Sources of germanium:

Germanium is found in all organic matter, both of animal and plant origin. The highest concentration of germanium is in broccoli, celery, garlic, milk, onions, tomato juice, and sauerkraut.

Recommended daily dose:

Men: 150 mg/day;
Women: 150 mg/day.


It is best to take germanium with food.


Functions of iron:

The most important function of iron in the body is its participation in the structure of oxygen-carrying proteins: hemoglobin and myoglobin. Compared to other minerals, iron has the highest content in the blood.

It is necessary for the composition of many enzymes and is important for the growth of the organism. Iron is also important for the normal functioning of the immune system and energy production.

Sources of iron:

Iron is found in eggs, fish, liver, meat, poultry, green leafy vegetables, and whole grains.

Recommended daily dose:


14 to 18 years of age 11 mg/day;
18 to 70 years of age 8 mg/day;


14 to 18 years – 15 mg/day;
18 to 50 years – 18 mg/day;
50 and older – 8 mg/day.


Do not take additional doses of iron (above the prescribed) for a long period of time if you don’t have a medical diagnosis.


Functions of iodine:

Although needed in microquantities, iodine is needed for excess fat metabolism. It is an important factor in the physical and mental development of man. It is needed to maintain the normal functions of the thyroid gland. Iodine deficiency can suppress the production of thyroid hormone, which is associated with many negative health effects.

Sources of iodine:

Rich in iodine is iodized salt, seafood, saltwater fish, asparagus, garlic, sea salt, sesame seeds, and more.

Recommended daily dose:

Men: 150 mcg/day;
Women: 150 mcg/day.


Some foods block the absorption of iodine when taken raw and in large quantities. These are cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, potatoes, cauliflower, peaches, pears, spinach, and more.


Functions of manganese:

Microquantities of manganese are necessary for the metabolism of proteins and fats, for the normal functions of the immune and nervous systems, as well as for the regulation of blood glucose.

Manganese is involved in the processes that generate energy in the body. In addition, it is needed for bone growth and health, as well as for the reproductive system. Participates in the formation of cartilage and synovial fluid in the joints.

This trace element is needed for the utilization of vitamins B1 and E. A key element is in the production of enzymes needed for fat oxidation and purine metabolism. An example of this is the role of manganese in the production of the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.

Sources of manganese:

You can get the most manganese by eating whole grains, seeds, nuts, seafood, and last but not least, avocados.

Recommended daily dose:


14 to 18 years of age 2.2 mg/day;
18 to 70 years of age, 2.3 mg/day;


14 to 18 years – 1.6 mg/day;
18 to 50 years – 1.8 mg/day.


Functions of copper:

Along with its many functions, copper promotes the formation of hemoglobin, red blood cells, and bone tissue. In the body, the mineral maintains the necessary balance with the amounts of zinc and vitamin C, in the formation of the protein elastin, which gives the skin elasticity.

Copper is also involved in the processes of energy production, hair coloring, wound healing, skin coloring, and taste buds. It is also needed to maintain the health of joints and nerve cells.

Sources of copper:

Copper is contained in mushrooms, nuts, seafood, broccoli, avocado, beans, beets, oats, lentils, liver, oranges, raisins, salmon, soy and green leafy vegetables.

Recommended daily dose:

Men: 0.9 mg/day (0.89 mg/day for adolescents);
Women: 0.9 mg/day (0.89 mg/day for adolescents).


In the body, the level of copper is related to the levels of zinc and vitamin C in inverse proportion. Consuming more zinc/vitamin C will reduce copper levels and vice versa.


Functions of molybdenum:

Although it is needed in minimal quantities, molybdenum is important for nitrogen metabolism. It is involved in the final stages of the conversion of purines to uric acid.

Molybdenum promotes the normal functioning of nerve cells and is a component of the metabolic enzyme xanthine oxidase. You can find molybdenum in a person’s liver, bones, and kidneys. This trace element supports bone growth and strengthens teeth.

Sources of molybdenum:

You can get molybdenum by eating grains, legumes, peas, and dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, sorrel, etc.).

Recommended daily dose:

Men: 45 mcg/day (43 mcg/day for adolescents);
Women: 45 mcg/day (43 mcg/day for adolescents).


Heat and moisture alter the operation of the mineral molybdenum. Consumption of large amounts of sulfur lowers molybdenum levels in the body. Excessive consumption of molybdenum impairs copper metabolism.


Functions of selenium:

The most important function of selenium is its participation in the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which inhibits fat oxidation. This enzyme is vital and works in sync with vitamin E. The two substances work synergistically in the production of antibodies and help maintain good heart and liver health.

Selenium is necessary for the proper functioning of the pancreas and for tissue elasticity. It protects the immune system by preventing the formation of free radicals that damage healthy tissues.

Sources of selenium:

Selenium is contained in cereals according to their level in the soil where they grew. It accumulates in the meat and lungs of animals and birds fed selenium-rich grains. The same goes for animal by-products: milk and eggs. You can also get selenium from seafood, garlic, onions, seaweed, brewer’s yeast, broccoli, and brown rice.

Recommended daily dose:

Men: 55 mcg. (microgram) / day;
Women: 55 mcg. (microgram) / day.


Doses up to 200 mcg. selenium/day is considered safe. You should not take more than 40 mcg. selenium daily in case you are pregnant.


Functions of silicon:

Silicon is an extremely widespread element on the planet. In terms of distribution, only oxygen is ahead of it. In the human body, however, it is a micro participant. It is necessary for the formation of collagen for connective tissue and bones, to maintain the normal condition of hair, nails, and skin.

It is needed for calcium absorption during growth in children and adolescents. It plays an important role in maintaining the elasticity of the arteries, so it is used in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Silicon neutralizes the effects of aluminum on the body and is used in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis. Suppresses aging and stimulates the immune system. The level of silicon in the body decreases with age, so the elderly need higher doses.

Sources of silicon:

You can get silicon from alfalfa sprouts, brown rice, peppers, green olives, soy, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables.

Recommended daily dose:

There is no consensus on whether silicon is an essential mineral for humans. There is no established daily dose. Recommendations vary widely between health organizations, so I wrote the lowest recommended value below.

Men: 10 to 40 mg/day;
Women: 10 to 40 mg/day.


Functions of chromium:

Due to its involvement in glucose metabolism, chromium is also called the glucose tolerance factor (GTF). This essential mineral maintains stable blood glucose levels and improves insulin function.

It is necessary for the production of energy in the body and is vital for the synthesis of cholesterol, proteins, and fats.

Sources of chromium:

You can find chromium in the following food sources: brewer’s yeast, brown rice, cheese, meat, whole grains, liver, eggs, mushrooms, seaweed, and more.

Recommended daily dose:


14 to 50 years at 35 mcg/day;
50 years and older 30 mcg/day.


14 to 18 years of age at 24 mcg/day;
19 to 50 years 25 mcg/day;
50 years and older at 20 mcg/day.


Do not take doses higher than 200 mcg/day, because of the risk of intoxication.


Functions of zinc:

This essential mineral is important for the growth of the reproductive organs and the functions of the prostate gland. Regulates the activity of sebaceous glands and helps prevent acne. Needed for protein synthesis, including that of the skin protein collagen.

Helps heal wounds and overall immune system functions. Zinc improves taste and smell. It also protects the liver from damage and participates in the formation of bone tissue.

Zinc is a component of insulin as well as a number of vital enzymes, including the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. The mineral suppresses the formation of free radicals.

Zinc is important for maintaining a normal concentration of vitamin E in the blood and for increasing the absorption of vitamin A. To maintain good health, it is desirable to maintain a ratio of 1:10 between the levels of copper and zinc in the body.

Sources of zinc:

If you want to get zinc from food, focus on the following foods and food groups: fish, seaweed, legumes, meat, liver, poultry, seafood, whole grains, and more.

Recommended daily dose:


14 years and older 11 mg/day.


14 to 18 years of age 9 mg/day;
19 years and older 8 mg/day.


A significant amount of zinc is lost through sweating;

If you take supplements containing zinc and iron, take them at different times to avoid binding and thus reduce their absorption.

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