Trace elements (micronutrients) are the most important substances on which the vital activity of organisms depends.
Not a source of energy, but responsible for vital chemical reactions. Needed in very small amounts (daily allowance is measured in milligrams and micrograms, less than 200 mg).
If the human body is subjected to a thorough analysis, it becomes clear: we consist of different types of chemical compounds, 30 of which are trace elements. They are responsible for the optimal functioning of the human body, and their deficiency has an extremely negative impact on the health of adults and the development of children.
Micronutrients: what are they
The group of micronutrients in science is usually divided into 2 categories: essential substances (vital); conditionally essential (important for the body, but rarely in short supply).
Essential microsubstances are: iron (Fe); copper (Cu); iodine (I); zinc (Zn); cobalt (Co); chromium (Cr); molybdenum (Mo); selenium (Se); manganese (Mn).
Conditionally essential micronutrients: boron (B) ; bromine (Br); fluorine (F); lithium (Li); nickel (Ni); silicon (Si); vanadium(V).
According to another classification, trace elements are divided into 3 categories:
- stable elements: Cu, Zn, Mn, Co, B, Si, F, I (available in an amount of about 0.05%);
- 20 elements that are present in concentrations below 0.001%;
- a subgroup of pollutants whose stable excess leads to diseases (Mn, He, Ar, Hg, Tl, Bi, Al, Cr, Cd).
Benefits of trace elements for humans
Almost all biochemical processes depend on the balance trace elements. And although their required amount is determined by micrograms, the role of these nutrients is huge. In particular, the qualitative process of metabolism, the synthesis of enzymes, hormones and vitamins in the body depends on microelements. These microsubstances strengthen the immune system, promote hematopoiesis, proper development and growth of bone tissue. The balance of alkali and acids, the performance of the reproductive system depend on them. At the cell level, they support the functionality of membranes; in tissues, they contribute to oxygen exchange.
Scientists say that the chemical composition of the fluid in the cells of the human body resembles the formula of sea water in the prehistoric era. This is achieved by combining important trace elements. And when the body experiences a shortage of a particular substance, it begins to “suck” them out of itself (from the tissues where nutrients have accumulated).
Deficiency and overdose of micronutrients
Any disharmony of microelements is almost always the development of many diseases and pathological changes in the body.
And as some studies show, an imbalance of microsubstances of varying intensity is diagnosed in every third inhabitant of the planet.
Among the reasons causing shortage or excess of useful elements, most often are:
- bad ecology;
- psychological stress, stressful situations;
- poor nutrition;
- long-term use of certain drugs.
It is possible to understand what microelements a person lacks, as well as to find out the exact level of deficiency, only in laboratory conditions, by donating blood for biochemical analysis. But the imbalance of nutrients can also be considered by some external signs.
Most likely, a person experiences a lack of nutrients if:
- is often exposed to viral diseases;
- evidence of immunosuppression is evident;
- the condition of hair, nails, skin worsened (acne, rash appeared);
- became irritable, prone to depression.
Conditions caused by micronutrient deficiencies
In addition, by carefully analyzing the state of one's health, even without laboratory tests, one can sometimes determine which micronutrient the body needs, what he lacks at this time:
- Overweight - lack of substances such as chromium, zinc, manganese.
- Digestive problems - deficiency of zinc, chromium.
- Dysbacteriosis - not enough zinc.
- Food allergy - lack of zinc.
- Prostate dysfunction - zinc deficiency.
- Increased plasma sugar levels - lack of magnesium, chromium, manganese, zinc.
- Brittle nails - not enough silicon and selenium.
- Slow growth of nails and hair - reduced levels of selenium, zinc, magnesium, silicon.
- Hair falls out - silicon, selenium, zinc are deficient.
- Pigmented spots on the skin - lack of copper, manganese, selenium.
- Irritations and inflammations on the skin are a signal of a lack of zinc, selenium, and silicon.
- Acne - deficiency of chromium, selenium, zinc.
- Allergic rash - not enough selenium or zinc.
By the way, an interesting fact about hair. It is by their structure that it is easiest to determine the deficiency of trace elements. Usually, hair contains from 20 to 30 microsubstances, while a blood or urine test will show the level of content in the body of no more than 10 useful substances.
How to keep the balance
There are several rules for restoring the balance of trace elements. There is nothing complicated or new in them, but in the modern rhythm of life we sometimes forget about these doctors' advice.
First of all, it is important to monitor the health of the nervous system, regularly go to fresh air and eat right.
After all, the best source of most trace elements is natural, environmentally friendly food.
By the way, if we talk about food sources, most micronutrients are found in plant foods. The leader among products of animal origin could be called milk, which contains 22 trace elements. Meanwhile, the concentration of nutrients in it is so low that it is not necessary to talk about milk as a product that can provide a balance of substances. Therefore, nutritionists insist on the importance of a balanced and varied diet.
But according to biologists, it would be a mistake to think that, for example, all the tomatoes in the world have an identical set of trace elements. And even if the product contains the same nutrients, their amount can vary significantly. These indicators are influenced by soil quality, plant variety and rainfall frequency. Sometimes even vegetables of the same variety harvested from the same garden can differ significantly in their chemical composition.
Reasons for micronutrient deficiencies:
- poor ecology, which affects the mineral-salt composition of water;
- improper heat treatment of products (leads to almost 100% loss of nutrients);
- diseases of the digestive system (prevent proper absorption of micro-substances);
- irrational nutrition (monodiets).
|Microelement||Benefits for the body||Consequences of deficiency||Sources|
|Iron||Necessary for blood circulation and maintaining the health of the nervous system.||Anemia.||Beef meat, liver, fish roe, apples, buckwheat, cereals, peaches, apricots, blueberries.|
|Copper||Promotes the formation of red blood cells, iron absorption, maintains skin elasticity.||Anemia, pigmentation on the skin, mental disorders, pathological decrease in body temperature.||Seafood, nuts.|
|Zinc||Important for the production of insulin, takes part in the synthesis of hormones, strengthens the immune system.||Reduced immunity, development of depression, hair loss.||Buckwheat, nuts, cereals, seeds ( pumpkins ), beans, bananas.|
|Iodine||Supports the functioning of the thyroid gland and nerve cells, antimicrobial substance.||Goiter, retarded development (mental) in children.||Seaweed, walnuts.|
|Manganese||Promotes fatty acid metabolism, regulates cholesterol levels.||Atherosclerosis, increased cholesterol.||Nuts, beans, cereals.|
|Cobalt||Activates the production of insulin, promotes the formation of proteins.||Wrong metabolism.||Berries strawberries, strawberries, legumes, beets.|
|Selenium||Antioxidant, prevents the development of cancer cells, delays aging, strengthens the immune system.||Shortness of breath, arrhythmia, weakened immune system, frequent infections.||Seafood, mushrooms, different varieties of grapes.|
|Fluorine||Strengthens bones, teeth, maintains healthy enamel.||Fluorosis, gum and tooth diseases.||All vegetarian food, water.|
|Chromium||Participates in the processing of carbohydrates and the production of insulin.||Increased blood sugar, development of diabetes, improper absorption of glucose.||Mushrooms, whole grains.|
|Molybdenum||Activates metabolism, promotes the breakdown of lipids.||Impaired metabolism, disruption of the digestive system.||Spinach, different varieties of cabbage, blackcurrant, gooseberry.|
|Bromine||Has sedative properties, strengthens the body in case of cardiovascular, gastrointestinal diseases, relieves convulsions.||Growth retardation in children, decrease in hemoglobin, insomnia, miscarriages at various stages of pregnancy.||Nuts, legumes, cereals, algae, marine fish.|
Trace elements are essential useful substances for humans. The processes of metabolism, the development and growth of the child, the functioning of all systems (including reproductive), the maintenance of working capacity and immunity depend on them. And since the body is not able to synthesize micronutrients on its own, it is important to take care of a rational and balanced diet in order to replenish the stocks of necessary elements daily.