Supplements Trace Elements

While many people feel they’re doing a lot for their health by simply taking multivitamins and supplements, a great number of people don’t take the time to think about other supplements, such as trace elements.

What are trace elements? Trace elements are required by the human body for proper functioning, but, unlike most vitamins and minerals that our bodies need, trace elements are needed only in extremely low quantities.

Trace Elements in the Human Body

The human body needs about 72 trace elements for normal functioning. About eight of those trace elements are commonly found in agricultural soils, though all 72 can be found in many types of seafood.

Those who don’t eat seafood can still get their necessary trace elements from vitamin supplements or other sources. Most of the time people will acquire trace elements from their environments and from foods without realizing it, as the quantity needed is so low.

Common Trace Elements

Here’s a list of the most widely known trace elements and the purposes they serve for the human body:

  • Boron: Deficiencies of boron can contribute to osteoporosis.
  • Copper: Deficiencies of copper can cause premature hair graying, sterility and premature wrinkling of the skin.
  • Iodine: Deficiencies of iodine can cause a thyroid imbalance or reduced fertility.
  • Selenium: Deficiencies of selenium can cause people to age prematurely or to have slower than normal recovery from illnesses.
  • Zinc: Deficiencies of zinc can cause sterility, impotence and even depression.

Manganese, cobalt and molybdenum are also common trace elements found in most diets.

Trace Element Effects

While getting a sufficient amount of trace elements will contribute to overall health and wellness, deficiency of any single trace element can cause a host of problems for a person’s health. Some trace element deficiencies are even to blame for mood shifts and mood swings.

Trace elements’ effects are so far-reaching that they can even affect a person’s life expectancy.

Sadly, modern methods of cooking, preserving and farming often remove trace elements and other essential minerals from the foods we eat. This is why supplements are often necessary for us to receive all vital trace elements.

Existing Trace Elements

While some trace elements are still being discovered and their effects are still being studied, researchers have determined that these trace elements are vital to the health and well-being of people, animals and organisms alike:

  • aluminum
  • antimony
  • barium
  • beryllium
  • bismuth
  • boron
  • bromine
  • cadmium
  • caesium
  • cerium
  • chromium
  • cobalt
  • copper
  • gallium
  • germanium
  • gold
  • indium
  • iodine
  • iridium
  • iron
  • lanthanum
  • lead
  • lithium
  • magnesium
  • manganese
  • mercury
  • molybdenum
  • nickel
  • niobium
  • osmium
  • palladium
  • platinum
  • radium
  • rubidium
  • selenium
  • silicon
  • silver
  • strontium
  • tellurium
  • thallium
  • thorium
  • tin
  • titanium
  • tungsten
  • vanadium
  • zinc
  • zirconium.

However, this is not an exhaustive list. More trace elements that are also vital to health can be found in seafood and in other parts of a person’s diet.

Despite the fact that these elements are needed in only small quantities, they are as important as other vitamins and minerals to our health.

Talk to your doctor or nutritionist about trace elements. Based on your diet and particular needs, a medical professional can recommend any necessary supplements to add to your diet. This will ensure that you are getting all necessary trace elements, as well as other vitamins and minerals.


Medline Plus (2007). Trace Elements. Retrieved November 14, 2007, from the Medline Pluse Web site: server=vsearch4