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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 Relevance

Author
item Nielsen, Forrest

Submitted to: Biological Trace Element Research
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 27, 2001
Publication Date: July 19, 2001
Citation: Nielsen, F.H. 2001. The emergence of boron, nickel, silicon, vanadium and arsenic as elements of nutritional relevance. In: Antoniades, N., Schrauzer, G.N., Renard, N., Wozniak, J., editors. Trace Elements in Nutrition, Health and Disease. First International Bio-Minerals Symposium, April 19-21, 2001. Montreal, QC:Institut Rosell.

Interpretive Summary: Recent findings indicate that boron is needed or beneficial throughout the life cycle including for embryogenesis, bone growth and maintenance, immune function, vision, psychomotor skills and cognitive functions. Many of the findings support the hypothesis that boron has a role in cell membrane function or stability. Recent animal experiments have found that dietary nickel affects the urinary excretion of nitrate/nitrite, and the response to vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folic acid deficiencies. Nickel deprivation increased blood pressure and decreased epididymal sperm number and motility. The findings have led to the hypothesis that nickel is required for normal function of the nitric oxide-cyclic GMP, atrial naturetic peptide-cyclic GMP, and/or cyclic GMP-cyclic nucleotide-gated cation channel signal transduction systems. Emerging evidence suggests that there are nutritionally relevant dietary silicon intakes that influence bone mineral density in postmenopausal women, and possibly wound healing. The distribution of silicon in the body and biochemical changes caused by silicon deprivation indicate that silicon is involved in collagen formation and affects cartilage composition. 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 possibly results in hypomethylation of DNA, which has been associated with an increase in risk for some types of cancer. The most recent nutritionally related findings for vanadium suggest that this element has a biochemical role that affects thyroid and carbohydrate metabolism in higher animals. Boron, nickel, silicon, arsenic, and vanadium might be of more practical nutritional importance than currently acknowledged.

Technical Abstract: Recent findings indicate that boron is needed or beneficial throughout the life cycle including for embryogenesis, bone growth and maintenance, immune function, vision, psychomotor skills and cognitive functions. Many of the findings support the hypothesis that boron has a role in cell membrane function or stability. Recent animal experiments have found that dietary nickel affects the urinary excretion of nitrate/nitrite, and the response to vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folic acid deficiencies. Nickel deprivation increased blood pressure and decreased epididymal sperm number and motility. The findings have led to the hypothesis that nickel is required for normal function of the nitric oxide-cyclic GMP, atrial naturetic peptide-cyclic GMP, and/or cyclic GMP-cyclic nucleotide-gated cation channel signal transduction systems. Emerging evidence suggests that there are nutritionally relevant dietary silicon intakes that influence bone mineral density in postmenopausal women, and possibly wound healing. The distribution of silicon in the body and biochemical changes caused by silicon deprivation indicate that silicon is involved in collagen formation and affects cartilage composition. 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 possibly results in hypomethylation of DNA, which has been associated with an increase in risk for some types of cancer. The most recent nutritionally related findings for vanadium suggest that this element has a biochemical role that affects thyroid and carbohydrate metabolism in higher animals. Boron, nickel, silicon, arsenic, and vanadium might be of more practical nutritional importance than currently acknowledged.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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