Trace elements are essential minerals found in a large variety of animal and plant foods; these nutrients have both regulatory and structural functions in the body. Despite the minuscule amounts in the body, trace elements are crucial to many body functions, including metabolic pathways. Trace elements serve as cofactors for enzymes, components of hormones, and participants in oxidation- reduction reactions. They are essential for growth and for normal functioning of the immune system. Deficiencies may cause delayed sexual maturation, poor growth, mediocre work performance, faulty immune function, tooth decay, and altered hormonal function.
Trace elements differ from the major minerals in 2 ways. First, the dietary requirements for each of the trace elements are less than 100 milligrams per day. For example, iron and zinc intake recommendations for adults range from 8 milligrams to 18 milligrams per day, whereas the adult daily calcium recommendation is 1,000 milligrams per day. Second, the total amount of each trace element found in the body is small, less than 5 grams. For example, the total amount of iron in the body is 2 to 4 grams, or about the amount of iron in a small nail. In contrast, a typical adult body contains more than 1,000 grams of calcium.
Bizarre Behavior or Nutritional Deficiency
Did you know that in all cultures, races, and geographic regions, certain people have strange cravings for nonfood items. These cravings include ice (pagophagia), clay and dirt (geophagia), cornstarch (amylophagia), stone (lithophagia), paper, toilet tissue, soap, and foam. Pica, the compulsive consumption of nonfood items, often is associated with either iron or zinc deficiency, but it may also be the result of cultural beliefs or a response to family stresses. Whatever the cause, the behavior is not benign. It can injure teeth as well as cause constipation, intestinal obstruction or perforation, lead poisoning, pregnancy complications, poor growth in children, and mineral deficiencies.
People Most Likely To Suffer Mineral Deficiency
A problem related to a mineral deficiency is most likely to be found among certain select groups of individuals. Infants, small children and pregnant women are more apt to suffer from an iron deficiency than the rest of the population. People suffering a prolonged illness are more likely to suffer from a lack of zinc and copper.
Here are 8 common Everyday Signs, that might be due to Mineral Deficiency, and can be easily corrected :
1. Cuts heal slowly and/or scar easily – this is a sign of zinc deficiency. Zinc is critical in wound healing. It’s also important to have zinc to help build the stomach acid you need in order to pull the minerals from your food to begin with.
2. Calf, foot or toe cramps at rest – This is a sign of calcium, magnesium or potassium deficiency. Remember we need an acidic environment and good fatty acids to absorb those minerals.
3. Lost vitality – This person is lacking in minerals and likely quite imbalanced. Remember minerals are the ‘spark plugs’ of life. Minerals act as cofactors for enzyme reactions. Enzymes do not work without minerals. Enzymes are your bodies work horses. In Chinese medicine enzymes are what give the body it’s ‘chi’.
4. Feet have a strong odor – This is a common sign of magnesium deficiency. Keep in mind every gram of sugar consumed uses up 54 of magnesium. This means a lot of ppl might be magnesium deficient.
5. White spots on fingernails – this is very telling again of zinc deficiency. Remember it can take years to remineralize the body. If you do decide to supplement with zinc make sure you take it with an overall mineral supplement as other minerals support zinc. Liquid/ionic zinc is best as it is most easily absorbed. Oysters are a yummy and good source of zinc!
6. Abnormal cravings for substances other than food – such as paper, dirt, clay, rubber as well as ice are indicative of an iron deficiency. These are signs of Pica, affecting mostly women and children.
7. Yeast & Fungal Infections – often indicate low iron and zinc deficiencies, while the tissue copper levels are elevated. Excessive copper can produce an environment that encourages yeast and fungus to grow and proliferate. Chronic candida usually indicates high tissue copper levels.
8. Hypertension & Cardiac Arrhythmias – this is a common sign of potassium deficiency. Potassium plays a major role in the muscle contraction of the heart, as well as the heart beat, it’s also an important regulator of blood pressure.