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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Ultratrace Elements Physiology (306)

Author
item Nielsen, Forrest

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 30, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: For humans, the term ultratrace elements often is used to indicate a mineral element with an established, estimated or suspected requirement of less than l mg/day or generally indicated by ug/day. At least 18 elements could be considered ultratrace elements; aluminum, arsenic, boron, bromide, cadmium, chromium, fluoride, germanium, iodide, lead, lithium, molybdenum, nickel, rubidium, selenium, silicon, tin and vanadium. Because chromium, iodide, and selenium are reviewed elsewhere in the treatise in which this review will appear, they are not discussed. The quality of experimental evidence for nutritional essentiality varies widely for the ultratrace elements. The absorption, transport, storage, metabolism, excretion, requirements and dietary sources of one element with known biochemical functions, molybdenum; five elements with strong circumstantial evidence for essentiality, arsenic, boron, nickel, silicon and vanadium; two elements with known beneficial pharmacologic properties fluoride and lithium; and seven elements with limited evidence for essentiality, aluminum, bromine, cadmium, germanium, lead, rubidium and tin are presented. Some of the ultratrace minerals may be more important in human nutrition than currently acknowledged. Most all ultratrace elements requirements should be met if a person consumes a diet based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Pyramid.

Technical Abstract: For humans, the term ultratrace elements often is used to indicate a mineral element with an established, estimated or suspected requirement of less than l mg/day or generally indicated by ug/day. At least 18 elements could be considered ultratrace elements; aluminum, arsenic, boron, bromide, cadmium, chromium, fluoride, germanium, iodide, lead, lithium, molybdenum, nickel, rubidium, selenium, silicon, tin and vanadium. Because chromium, iodide, and selenium are reviewed elsewhere in the treatise in which this review will appear, they are not discussed. The quality of experimental evidence for nutritional essentiality varies widely for the ultratrace elements. The absorption, transport, storage, metabolism, excretion, requirements and dietary sources of one element with known biochemical functions, molybdenum; five elements with strong circumstantial evidence for essentiality, arsenic, boron, nickel, silicon and vanadium; two elements with known beneficial pharmacologic properties fluoride and lithium; and seven elements with limited evidence for essentiality, aluminum, bromine, cadmium, germanium, lead, rubidium and tin are presented. Some of the ultratrace minerals may be more important in human nutrition than currently acknowledged. Most all ultratrace elements requirements should be met if a person consumes a diet based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Pyramid.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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