Depending upon a person's age, gender and lifestyle, he or she will need a different trace mineral supplement. There are a number of reputable over-the-counter vitamins and mineral supplements available to counter any trace mineral deficiency. Since the human body is unavailable to produce trace minerals, they must be ingested from either a food source or as a supplement. Trace minerals are necessary for essential biochemical reactions within the body.
Why Trace Minerals are Essential
Many vitamin supplements include a daily-recommended amount of trace minerals:
Researchers have discovered that when trace minerals are added to the diet, there is a measurable increase in the nutrient level in the blood for a greater period of time. This allows for better absorption of the food nutrients ingested. Trace minerals govern glucose and protein metabolism, oxygen intake, sexual and immune functions, cell growth, and body metabolic rate.
Trace Minerals and Vitamins Unite
Trace minerals and vitamins do not work independently, but rather by uniting together to enhance nutrient absorption in the body. The body absorbs more nutrients from the food with the presence of trace minerals than without their presence. This is especially true for the vitamin B-complex group and ascorbic acid, which are water-soluble nutrients. These nutrients are often eliminated from the body via urine soon after they are ingested. Acting as a catalyst, trace minerals allow these nutrients to remain in the body longer for use in processing the nutrients found in the food.
Positive Effects on the Body
The combination of vitamins and trace minerals increase energy levels and result in a lack of fatigue at typical hours during the day. Sharper cognitive response has also been reported, including quicker cognitive responses later in the day. In some case studies, improvement, or the cessation, of some minor physical complaints was reported in test subjects of all ages and backgrounds.
Zinc Trace Mineral
Zinc is vital for resistance to infection, is important for tissue repair, and has antioxidant effects. Naturally found in shellfish and red meats, zinc is also found in cheese, milk, beans, nuts and seeds. Zinc deficiency can result in growth retardation, an impaired immune system, and anemia. However, too much zinc can be toxic, especially for children, and can lead to copper deficiency. Vegetarians, pregnant women, and the elderly should take supplements for zinc. The recommended daily amount (RDA) is 8 mg for women and 11 mg for men.
Calcium and Magnesium
Calcium is an important trace mineral for maintaining strong bones. This is especially important for child-bearing-age women and the elderly. Pregnancies "rob" bones in order to maintain the growth of the child, so supplements containing calcium should be included in the diet.
Old age robs the bones of calcium, and so calcium supplements should be taken to prevent osteoporosis and broken bones. The RDA for adults under 50 is 1000 mg and for those over 50 is 1200 mg. Magnesium enhances the intercellular activity of calcium, sodium, and potassium and should be supplemented as well. The RDA is 320 mg for women and 420 for men.
Copper, Iron, and Iodine
Copper and Iron are essential in helping the body maintain oxygen levels in the body. They should be supplemented for those who suffer from anemia or fatigue. Iodine is essential in preventing thyroid deficiency, which is also known as goiter. The RDA for copper is 1.5 to 3 mg; for iodine is 150 mcg (175 mcg for pregnant women); and for iron is 10 mg: 15 mg for premenstrual women and 30 mg for pregnant women.
A doctor should be consulted before starting any nutritional supplement. It is also important to read the information on the supplement box for the RDA ratings.