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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Emergence of Boron, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium and Arsenic As Elements of Nutritional and Pharmacological Relevance

Author
item Nielsen, Forrest

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 2001
Publication Date: April 20, 2001
Citation: Nielsen, F.H. 2001. The emergence of boron, nickel, silicon, vanadium and arsenic as elements of nutritional and pharmacological relevance. First International Bio-Minerals Symposium: Trace Elements in Nutrition, Health and Disease Book of Abstracts. Section 3. Salt Lake City, UT. April 20, 2001.

Technical Abstract: Nutritionally relevant intakes of boron have been found to affect biochemical indicators in humans related to bone turnover, physiological indicators of psychomotor and cognitive function, and blood cellular composition. Recent research with animals has also shown that boron is needed in the early stages of life. Findings from animal experiments with nickel suggest it is beneficial to cardiovascular health. Recently it was found that nickel deprivation of rats increased blood pressure and exacerbated the response to a high salt intake. Biochemical changes in bone cause by silicon deprivation indicate that silicon influences bone formation by affecting cartilage composition, and ultimately the initiation of cartilage calcification and the regulation of bone crystal growth. Evidence is emerging suggesting that there are nutritionally relevant dietary silicon intakes that positively influence bone mineral density in postmenopausal women. Also, because silicon affects collagen formation, it may influence wound healing. On the basis of its functional roles in lower forms of life, vanadium possibly is important for some enzyme reactions in higher animals and humans. Vanadium is receiving much attention at present as an element that can be used therapeutically for diabetes. The responses of experimental animals to arsenic deprivation suggest that this element affects the utilization of labile methyl groups arising from methionine. Low arsenic intakes have been suggested to result in hypomethylation of DNA, which has been associated with an increase risk for some types of cancer. The aforementioned elements might be of more practical nutritional importance than the nutritional community acknowledges at present.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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