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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Trace Mineral Deficiencies

Author
item Nielsen, Forrest

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 26, 2000
Publication Date: April 1, 2002
Citation: Nielsen, F.H. 2002. Trace mineral deficiencies. In: Berdanier, C.D., editor. CRC Handbook of Nutrition and Foods. Boca Raton, FL:CRC Press. p.1463-1487.

Interpretive Summary: This review presents in tabular form the biological functions, signs of deficiency, pathological consequences of deficiency, recommended intakes and food sources of the essential trace elements boron, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc, and the essential ultratrace elements chromium, cobalt, iodine, molybdenum and selenium. The known essential biological functions in lower forms of life, possible biological functions in humans, deficiency signs in experimental animals, speculated importance for humans, postulated adequate intake for humans, and food sources are also tabulated for the possibly essential ultratrace elements for which there is strong circumstantial evidence for essentiality; these elements are arsenic, nickel, silicon and vanadium. A table is also included that lists reported deficiency signs in experimental animals, usual dietary intakes, and rich food sources of elements with more limited d circumstantial evidence for essentiality; these elements are aluminum, bromine, cadmium, fluorine, germanium, lead, lithium, rubidium and tin. The tables indicate that, except for iodine and iron, the full extent of the pathological consequences of marginal or deficient intakes of the trace and ultratrace elements has not been established, which makes it difficult to tabulate deficiency signs and symptoms, and to give dietary recommendations, for humans. Mineral elements probably are of more practical nutritional importance than currently recognized.

Technical Abstract: The impact of trace element deficiencies of human health and well-being is presented in an abridged form. The general biological roles, mechanisms involved in homeostasis, factors affecting the manifestation of deficiency signs, and treatments for deficiencies of trace mineral elements are described. In table form, the biological functions, signs of deficiency, pathological consequences of deficiency, predisposing factors for deficiency, recommended intakes and food sources of the essential trace elements boron, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc, and the ultratrace elements chromium, cobalt, iodine, molybdenum and selenium are presented. Tables for the possibly essential ultratrace elements arsenic, nickel, silicon and vanadium summarize their biological functions in lower forms of life, possible functions in humans, deficiency signs in experimental animals, speculated importance for humans, possible predisposing factors for deficiency, postulated adequate intake for humans, and food sources. One table summarizes the reported deficiency signs for experimental animals, usual daily dietary intakes and food sources for other elements with limited evidence for essentiality, including aluminum, bromine, cadmium, fluorine, germanium, lead, lithium, rubidium and tin. The material presented indicates that it is likely that not all the essential mineral elements for humans have been identified, some mineral elements in addition to fluoride and lithium have therapeutic value against disease, and some mineral elements are of more practical nutritional concern than currently acknowledged.

Last Modified: 8/29/2014
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