What You Need to Know About Trace Elements
Do you know that apart from fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and fiber, your body needs a lot more! These are called trace minerals. They are called trace elements because the body needs less than 100 mg a day. Though they are in fewer quantities, the body needs these to perform all its functions.
The deficiency of even one can lead to serious health problems. Sometimes you may not know that your health problems are because of the deficiency of a trace mineral because it leads to a cascading effect. The symptoms that you may have could be totally different from the known symptoms. To ensure that you don’t have deficiencies it is advisable that you get tested every 6 months.
So what are the minerals that you need? There are a total of 21 essential minerals out of which 5 are required in larger quantities (calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and sodium) and the rest of the 16 are required in very few quantities (8mg -11mg per day). The body can’t manufacture these minerals on its own that’s why you need these from a balanced diet.
You don’t need to worry about the deficiency of most of these minerals because your body gets these from your diet. It is only in very rare cases or a rare disorder that you may have a deficiency in some of these. Some minerals are more deficient in the diet and you may need to take supplements to replenish your body’s needs
Let us look at some of the minerals that are most likely to be deficient.
1. Calcium -Trace Elements
99% of the total calcium in the body is in the bones and teeth. It is also needed for the functions of the muscles and the heart. It also plays a vital role in blood clotting and healing of wounds. The cells of the body work through osmosis, which means that they transfer minerals through their cell walls. Calcium keeps the cell walls healthy.
The deficiency of calcium causes bones to weaken. It also slows down nervous functions and makes muscles sensitive. Women need 1000mg of calcium per day below the age of 50 and 1200mg after. For men, the healthy quantity is set at 1000mg before the age of 70 and 1200 mg after 71. As the body ages, it needs more calcium to replenish bones and make them stronger.
We lose calcium through bodily excretions. This makes it even more important that you get your daily dose of calcium. When the body doesn’t have enough calcium it takes it from the bones. This isn’t too alarming if it happens once in a while. But when it happens regularly then you run the risk of your bones weakening.
Get your daily dose of calcium from green leafy vegetables, broccoli, nuts, seeds, and fruits.
2. Iodine – Trace Elements
Recently Americans have been facing a rise in iodine deficiency. Iodine is most important to stimulate the thyroid gland. The thyroid is the second most important gland in the body. It regulates metabolism, the breakdown of fats and carbs into energy. If the hormones secreted by the gland are not in the prescribed limits, you could face an abnormal weight fluctuation. People with hypothyroid suffer from depression too because, in turn, it affects the other hormones which regulate mood. Sometimes because of the cascading effect, it is difficult to put your finger on the actual reason. Doctors advise that you get yourself tested for deficiencies even if you feel fit. Prevention is better than cure after all. Dr. Todd Watts from Microbe Formulas explains in the article 5 Bonus Benefits of Iodine that taking iodine is a natural and efficient way to increase your energy and metabolism.
Get your daily dose from dry fruits, green leafy vegetables and fruits like bananas and watermelon.
Even though iron is a trace element, it is very important and sometimes the body needs more. Iron is needed by the body to maintain oxygen levels in the entire body and organs. It is required to maintain the shape and size of red blood cells which carry oxygen to all the parts of the body. When you have a deficiency of iron, your hemoglobin count goes down which means that the level of oxygen in the body goes down, which in turn affects the entire functioning of the body. If you are feeling fatigued, have restless legs, and trembling extremities, you could be deficient in iron.
Cereals, green leafy vegetables, and meat are good sources of iron. Sometimes the body needs more than what it gets from your diet. If you’re deficient, you may need to take supplements. Women are more prone to iron deficiencies than men because of their different body functions.