Supplements Metals

While most people take great care to make sure that they take a multivitamin along with their daily food intake, many don’t stop to think about metal supplements or other supplements. Some people don’t even realize that certain metal elements are necessary for the human body to function correctly.

Trace Elements

Many metal elements that the body needs are needed only in extremely small amounts. These are called trace elements. [LINK: trace-elements.php]

Some trace elements are found in the food we eat every day. Seafood contains 72 of the trace elements that are needed for proper health and nutrition. Some trace elements that are important to body processes are:

  • aluminium
  • barium
  • copper
  • cobalt
  • iodine
  • iron
  • zinc.

Metal Supplement Benefits

Getting enough of the right types of metals in your diet or through supplements can greatly benefit your health, while any deficiencies in metals can cause health problems. Some of the benefits of certain metals include:

  • adequate creation of DNA cells
  • the ability to maintain healthy nerve cells
  • the ability to maintain healthy red blood cells.

Signs and symptoms of metal deficiencies include:

  • anemia
  • balance problems
  • confusion
  • constipation
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • memory problems
  • numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • sore mouth
  • sore tongue
  • weakness
  • weight loss.

One of the most important metals in our body is vitamin B12, which contains cobalt.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is one of the few metal elements that the body needs in more than just a miniscule amount. In fact, while large doses of vitamin B12 are not recommended, there have been no reports of vitamin B12 overdoses.

Deficiencies of vitamin B12 can cause:

  • anemia
  • high levels of homocysteine in the blood (This has been associated with heart attacks and strokes.)
  • impaired bone marrow production
  • neurological damage.

This is not an exhaustive list. Vitamin B12 deficiencies can negatively affect the body in a number of other ways.

Vitamin B12 is found in a number of foods, including:

  • beef
  • cheese
  • chicken
  • eggs
  • fish
  • fortified cereals
  • milk
  • shellfish
  • turkey
  • yogurt.

Because many, if not all, of these foods are avoided by people who practice strict vegetarian or vegan diets, some people may need to take a vitamin supplement that contains vitamin B12 to avoid becoming deficient.

People with certain stomach conditions or diseases may also be at risk for developing a vitamin B12 deficit, as certain enzymes in the stomach are required to process vitamin B12. Talk to your doctor if you suspect that you may be at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency.

Additionally, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers must ensure that they get enough vitamin B12, as their child will be getting the vitamin through them. Others that may need a vitamin B12 supplement include the elderly, people who suffer from anemia and people who have gastrointestinal disorders or other intestinal complications, as these can affect how the body absorbs vitamin B12.

Talk to your doctor before taking any vitamin supplement. He can recommend the amount and type of vitamin supplements that will best benefit you.

Resources

MedicineNet (2007). Vitamins and Calcium Supplements. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from the MedicineNet Web site: http://www.medicinenet.com/vitamins_and_calcium_supplements/page7.htm.

Office of Dietary Supplements (2007). Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from the Office of Dietary Supplements Web site: http://dietary-supplements.info.nih.gov/factsheets/vitaminb12.asp.