Trace Minerals part-1 - requirements, importance, food sources and deficiencies image

Trace Minerals Part-1 - Requirements, Importance, Food Sources And Deficiencies

Minerals are classified mainly into two categories:

1). Major Minerals,

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium
  • Chloride
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • sulfur

2). TraceMinerals

  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Iodine
  • Chromium
  • Fluoride
  • Manganese
  • molybdenum


Adequate dose :

The dietary recommended amount 

  • For men and women (above 17 years of age), 150 μg of iodine per day. 
  • During pregnancy and lactation, needs can go up to 200 μg per day.

Interesting Facts:

  • Iodine(I) is one type of Trace Element that our bodies need in minimal amounts to keep healthy. 
  • The human body needs iodine to synthesize thyroid hormones like Thyroid stimulating hormone(TSH), triiodothyronine(T3), and thyroxine (T4).
  • These hormones are fundamental for bone and brain development during pregnancy and infancy and control the body's metabolism and other functions like uplifting Immunity, heart, wellness, etc.
  • Most of the iodine content is found in the oceans as well as Marine species of fish and plants, such as Seafood and Algae, are usually rich sources of this mineral.
  • Iodine also prevents the conditions like hypothyroidism- an underactive thyroid gland, Goiter - the enlargement of the thyroid gland, thyroid cancers, and other autoimmune disorders like Graves' disease.

Food sources:

Iodine can be found in some natural food sources and drinking water.

But the richest sources of iodine are seafood, such as fish, shellfish, mollusks, and Seaweed.

Many countries add iodine to Salt (iodized Salt), which helps increase this mineral intake. In comparison, iodized Salt can be an excellent alternative to regular Salt.

Other sources are as follows: 

  • Dairy produce, including milk, yogurt, cheese
  • Eggs and Seafood
  • Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli,
  • Cabbage, cauliflower
  • Seaweed like Nori, kombu kelp, etc
  • Fruits consisting of dried plums like bananas 


Diets low in iodine lead to iodine deficiency, which impairs the normal functioning of our thyroid. This usually results in hypothyroidism, a health condition in which our bodies cannot produce enough thyroid hormones. The health consequences of hypothyroidism vary widely among individuals but commonly include weight gain, excessive tiredness, intolerance to Cold, and the swelling of our face and other body parts. 

  • Hypothyroidism ( Symptoms like Severe exhaustion, fatigue, and body weakness.)
  • Iodine deficiency can affect our health during pregnancy and childhood, so there are chances of impairment in children's brain and cognitive development.

Overstimulation of the thyroid gland hyperthyroidism can make it grow, causing swelling in the neck (Goiter).


Adequate dose :

The dietary recommended amount 

  • For children up to 18 years is 11-15mg daily
  • For Adult men above 18 years is 10-15mg daily
  • For pregnancy is 25-30mg daily 

Interesting Facts:

  • Iron is a Trace mineral. 
  • Iron is a part of hemoglobin. This protein transports oxygen(O2) from the lungs to the tissues and helps provide oxygen to muscles. 
  • Iron is essential for cell growth, development, and normal body functions. 
  • Iron also helps the body produce some hormones and connective tissue.

Food sources:

Iron(Fe) is found naturally in so many foods and is added to some fortified food products. 

Iron-rich Legumes

  • Dried or canned peas and beans (kidney, garbanzo, cannellini, soybeans, etc.).
  • Lentils.
  • Peas.
  • Tofu.
  • Tempeh

Iron-rich bread and cereal

  • Enriched white bread.
  • Wheat products.
  • Bran cereals.
  • Cornmeal.
  • Oat cereals.
  • Rye bread.
  • Enriched rice.
  • Whole wheat bread.

Iron-rich Fruit

  • Dates.
  • Raisins.
  • Figs.
  • Prunes and prune juice.

Iron-rich protein sources

  • Sardines.
  • Oysters.
  • Scallops.
  • Beef.
  • Chicken.
  • Clams.
  • Eggs.
  • Turkey.
  • Pork.
  • Liver.
  • Shrimp.
  • Tuna.

Iron-rich vegetables

  • Cabbage,
  • Brussels sprouts.
  • Broccoli.
  • String beans.
  • Dark leafy greens – Dandelion, collard, kale, spinach.
  • Potatoes.
  • Tomato paste and other products.

Other foods that are high in iron

  • Blackstrap, molasses.
  • Pumpkin Seeds.
  • Sesame Seeds.
  • Flax Seeds.
  • Almonds.
  • Cashews and pine Nuts.
  • Macadamia Nuts.
  • Hemp Seeds.


In iron-deficient food consumption, the body uses its stored iron in the muscles, liver, spleen, etc. But when these levels of iron stored in the body become very low, it induces Iron Deficiency Anemia

Signs/symptoms of this : 

  • Red blood cells(RBC) become smaller and contain less hemoglobin(Hg), so blood carries less amount of oxygen throughout the body).
  • GI upset, 
  • lack of energy
  • weakness, 
  • tiredness,
  • problems with concentration and memory
  • Uncontrol body temperature.


Adequate dose :

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) 

  • For men and women above 17 years of age is 55 mcg daily
  • Pregnant and lactating women need about 60 and 70 micrograms daily, respectively.

Interesting Facts:

  • Selenium is a Traceelement that is very crucial for DNA production, reproduction, and thyroid function. 
  • It also acts as an Antioxidant, protecting the body from damage by free radicals and infections.
  • Selenium is a vital component of various enzymes and proteins, called Selenoproteins; these proteins involve the metabolism and reproduction of thyroid hormones. 
  • Selenium(Se) and iodine(I) have a synergistic relationship, especially for a healthy thyroid. Iodine is a part of the thyroid hormone, and Selenium helps to convert it into its active form.
  • The soil throughout North America is generally rich in Selenium.

Food sources:

The amount of Selenium from the soil.

  • Brazil Nuts
  • Finfish and shellfish, and other seafood
  • Beef
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Fortified Cereals
  • Whole-wheat bread
  • Beans, lentils


Two conditions are associated with Severe Selenium deficiency : 

1) Keshan disease (it is a type of cardiomyopathy or disease of the heart muscle)

2) Kashin-Beck disease (it is a form of osteoarthritis).

Symptoms are as follows:

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Altered mental state, confusion
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Coma


Adequate dose :

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) 

  • Adults above 18 years are 11 mg daily for men and 8 mg for women.
  • Pregnancy and lactation require slightly more, i.e., 12 mg.

Interesting Facts:

  • Zinc is a Trace element.
  • It(Zinc) requires healthy Viruses
  • The body also requires Zincto to make almost 100 enzymes, proteins, and DNA (the genetic material) in all cells.
  • During pregnancy and childhood, the body properly needs Zincfor rapid growth and development. 
  • Zinc also helps in wound healing and is essential for our ability to taste and smell.

Food sources:

So many food sources are rich in Zinc, but some also contain phytates that can bind to this mineral and cause lowering its Absorption.

  • Nuts, Seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Shellfish: oysters, crab, lobster
  • Beef
  • Poultry
  • Pork
  • Legumes
  • Fortified breakfast Cereals


A Zinc deficiency is Seen mainly in people with digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel diseases or who have undergone gastrointestinal(GI) surgery. 

Excessive or prolonged Zinc deficiency.

Signs of deficiency include:

  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Poor appetite
  • Depressed mood
  • Decreased Immunity
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss


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