Without the trace — minerals that is, you cannot maintain a healthy life. Also referred to as microminerals, this area of nutrition science is growing at a rapid rate. Although the importance of iron has been known for centuries, it is only within the last 50 years that scientists recognized the significance of other trace minerals. Even though only 100 milligrams or less of each of these minerals are required daily, they are as essential as major minerals for good health. (5)
This article provides a general overview of trace minerals. Discover additional key facts and findings including rich sources of specific trace minerals in this next series of articles.
The Mystery Uncovered
The importance of each micromineral is like following a good mystery, and still, evidence continues to unfold.
- Scientists found a rare type of heart disease in a remote area of China. This disease was linked to a deficiency in selenium.
- In 1961 other research scientists linked a zinc deficiency to dwarfism, prevalent among Middle Eastern villagers.
- In the latter part of the 1960’s and early 1970’s synthetic formulas for intravenous feeding omitted some trace minerals. When recipients of these intravenous feedings showed symptoms of deficiencies, it led to the identification of these trace minerals. (1) (2)
The Difficulty in Identifying Trace Minerals
The difficulty lies in the ability to define precisely what our trace mineral needs are since only minuscule amounts are needed. In order to measure these minute amounts in both body tissues and food, highly complex technology is required.
Although the mystery continues to unfold, we are aware of iron, iodide, zinc, selenium, copper, fluoride, chromium, manganese, and molybdenum. In the next article, we will see how foods rich in vitamin C increases the absorption of minerals, and iron in particular, a trace mineral commonly found deficient in a large percent of the world’s population. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)