Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Boron, Manganese, Molybdenum and Other Trace Elements

Author
item Nielsen, Forrest

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 24, 2000
Publication Date: November 1, 2001
Citation: Nielsen, F.H. 2001. Boron, manganese, molybdenum and other trace elements. In: Bowman, B.A., Russell, R.M., editors. Present Knowledge in Nutrition, Eighth Edition. Washington DC:ILSI Press. p.384-400.

Interpretive Summary: The basis for essentiality, biochemical function, deficiency signs, absorption, transport, storage, turnover, and dietary guidance are reviewed for mineral elements whose nutritional importance apparently is limited, has not been definitively established, or is speculative; these include elements known to be essential and with strong circumstantial evidence for essentiality. Based on the premise that if dietary lack can not be shown to cause death or interrupt the life cycle an element can be considered essential only if it has a defined biochemical function, only three elements in this review can be considered essential; these are manganese and molybdenum, which are known enzyme co-factors, and boron, whose dietary lack interrupts the life cycle of some vertebrates. Strong circumstantial evidence exists for essentiality of arsenic, nickel, silicon, and vanadium. Because fluoride has a well established beneficial function in humans, it is reviewed similarly to the preceding elements. Only limited circumstantial evidence exists for the essentiality of aluminum, bromine, cadmium, germanium, lead, lithium, rubidium, and tin; thus these elements are only briefly reviewed in a table that gives reported deficiency signs, other apparent beneficial or physiological actions, typical human daily dietary intakes, and dietary sources for humans. The information provided should help in providing current knowledge about the nutritional importance of elements that might come to the attention of the general public because of promotion via the popular media, infomercials, health books, and newsletters with the objective of financial gain by taking advantage of people's desire to "live better and to live longer."

Technical Abstract: The basis for essentiality, biochemical function, deficiency signs, absorption, transport, storage, turnover, and dietary guidance are reviewed for mineral elements whose nutritional importance apparently is limited, has not been definitively established, or is speculative; these include elements known to be essential and with strong circumstantial evidence for essentiality. Based on the premise that if dietary lack can not be shown to cause death or interrupt the life cycle an element can be considered essential only if it has a defined biochemical function, only three elements in this review can be considered essential; these are manganese and molybdenum, which are known enzyme co-factors, and boron, whose dietary lack interrupts the life cycle of some vertebrates. Strong circumstantial evidence exists for essentiality of arsenic, nickel, silicon, and vanadium. Because fluoride has a well established beneficial function in humans, it is reviewed similarly to the preceding elements. Only limited circumstantial evidence exists for the essentiality of aluminum, bromine, cadmium, germanium, lead, lithium, rubidium, and tin; thus these elements are only briefly reviewed in a table that gives reported deficiency signs, other apparent beneficial or physiological actions, typical human daily dietary intakes, and dietary sources for humans. The information provided should help in providing current knowledge about the nutritional importance of elements that might come to the attention of the general public because of promotion via the popular media, infomercials, health books, and newsletters with the objective of financial gain by taking advantage of people's desire to "live better and to live longer."

Last Modified: 4/20/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page