What are trace elements?

In advertising, we often hear the phrase "rich in vitamins, minerals and trace elements". Almost everyone knows that vitamins are important nutritional ingredients that the body can not make on its own or in sufficient quantities. The term minerals is still common to some people.

But what are trace elements?

As with minerals, they are inorganic components needed to build bones, teeth, hormones and blood cells. Depending on their quantitative content in the body one speaks of minerals or just of trace elements.

Important trace elements

Trace elements are chemical elements that are required by the organism for vital metabolic functions in small quantities. They must be supplied to the body regularly.

The trace element manganese plays a major role in various physiological processes as part of more than 60 enzymes. It contributes to wound healing via collagen synthesis. Manganese also contributes to bone development and blood clotting. It is particularly common in plant foods. In particular, legumes, whole grains, nuts, dried fruits and tea contain much manganese.

Like manganese, molybdenum is a trace element of enzymes. Molybdenum is also sufficiently present in all foods, such as cereal products, legumes or vegetables, fruits, milk and meat, so that healthy metabolism does not lead to deficiency symptoms.

Chromium, which is only known to most people as a steel-gray, corrosion-resistant and tarnish-resistant hard metal, belongs to the group of trace elements. As a trivalent element, it probably enhances insulin action as part of an organic complex, affecting carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. Because of its effects on insulin sensitivity, chromium is also said to have beneficial effects on athletic performance through increased muscle mass and decreased fat mass.

Supply via the food

Those who consume a normal mixed diet are normally supplied with all trace elements. Other trace elements we consume with our daily diet include copper, cobalt and nickel.

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