Nutrition: vitamins and minerals
Nutrition: vitamins and minerals

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Nutrition: vitamins and minerals

2.6 Trace elements

The trace elements (also known as minor minerals or microminerals) are those that occur in quantities of less than about 5 g in the body. The more important ones are listed in Table 5, though not all of them will be considered here.

Table 5 Some trace elements needed by the human body. The functions and common food sources of the trace elements are shown.

Element (symbol) Functions Main food sources
chromium (Cr) found in all tissues, may be involved in blood glucose regulation liver, cereals, beer, yeast
cobalt (Co) required for formation of red blood cells liver and other meat
copper (Cu) component of many enzymes; necessary for haemoglobin formation green vegetables, fish, liver
fluorine (F) prevents tooth decay tea, seafood
iodine (I) essential constituent of thyroid hormones milk, seafood, iodised salt
iron (Fe) essential component of haemoglobin in red blood cells meat and offal, bread and flour, potatoes and other vegetables
manganese (Mn) essential component of some enzymes cereals, pulses, nuts
molybdenum (Mo) essential component of some enzymes kidney, cereals, vegetables, fruit
selenium (Se) essential component of some enzymes; associated with Vitamin E activity cereals, meat, fish, eggs, Brazil nuts
Zinc (Zn) essential component of many enzymes and other proteins; required for steroid and thyroid hormone activity meat and meat products, milk and cheese, bread flour and cereal products, peanuts
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