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Arshine:What are trace elements?

View: 85 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2022-03-08 Origin: site

What aretrace elements?

A trace element, also called minor element,  is a chemical element whose concentration (or 

other measure of amount) is very low (a "trace amount"). They are classified into two 

groups: essential and non-essential. Essential trace elements are needed for many 

physiological and biochemical processes in both plants and animals. Not only do trace 

elements play a role in biological processes but they also serve as catalysts to engage in 

oxidation and reduction mechanisms.


The exact definition depends on the field of science:

In analytical chemistry, a trace element is one whose average concentration is less than 

100 parts per million (ppm) measured in the atomic count or less than 100 micrograms per 


In biochemistry, an essential trace element is a dietary element that is needed in very 

minute quantities for the proper growth, development, and physiology of the organism. The 

dietary elements or essential trace elements are those that are required to perform vital 

metabolic activities in organisms.[4] Examples of essential trace elements in animals 

include Fe (hemoglobin), Cu (respiratory pigments), Co (Vitamin B12), Mn and Zn (enzymes). 

Some examples within the human body are cobalt, copper, fluorine, iodine, iron, manganese 

and zinc.[5] Although they are essential, they become toxic at high concentrations. 

Elements such as Ag, As, Cd, Cr, Hg, Ni, Pb, and Sn have no known biological function, with 

toxic effects even at low concentration.

In geochemistry, a trace element is one whose concentration is less than 1000 ppm or 0.1% 

of a rock's composition. The term is used mainly in igneous petrology. Trace elements will 

be compatible with either a liquid or solid phase. If compatible with a mineral, it will be 

incorporated into a solid phase (e.g., nickel's compatibility with olivine). If it is 

incompatible with any existing mineral phase it will remain in the liquid magma phase. The 

measurement of this ratio is known as the partition coefficient. Trace elements can be 

substituted for network-forming ions in mineral structures. Trace elements that are not 

essential to a mineral's defined composition will not appear in the chemical formula of 

that mineral.

What are trace elements in nutrition?

Nutritionally essential trace elements are required parts of an individual’s nutrition. 

These elements contribute to vital bodily functions, including metabolic function, tissue 

repair, growth, and development. Because the human body cannot naturally synthesize these 

elements, it is essential that people consume them through their diet or by using 

supplements. Excess consumption of these elements can have potentially toxic effects. 

Nutritionally essential trace elements include iron, copper, cobalt, zinc, selenium, 

chromium, iodine, and molybdenum. 

Iron plays an important role in transporting oxygen throughout the body through the blood. 

Iron deficiency can lead to anemia (deficiency of healthy red blood cells) and has also 

been linked to upper alimentary tract cancers. 

Copper, the third most abundant trace element in the human body, works with iron to form 

healthy red blood cells and is an essential component of many enzymes involved in chemical 

reactions throughout the body. It also plays an important role in maintaining the strength 

and health of blood vessels, nerves, and bones. 

Cobalt can be found in organic and inorganic forms. In the organic form it forms a vital 

part of vitamin B12 (AKA cobalamin) and contributes to the formation of amino acids and 

neurotransmitters. Conversely, inorganic forms of cobalt can be toxic to the human body. 

Zinc contributes to many functions in the body but is most importantly associated with cell 

division, cell growth, tissue repair, and metabolic function. It also aids the immune 

system in fighting off viruses and bacteria. 

Selenium plays an important metabolic role as an antioxidant (known to prevent or reduce 

damage caused by oxidation in the body). Chromium also contributes to metabolic function, 

as it plays a key role in regulating sugar, fat, and protein levels in the blood. 

Iodine is a very important element within the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and 

triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones are essential in metabolism, growth, and development 

of the human body. 

Finally, molybdenum is required for a few enzymatic functions involved in digestion and 


How manytrace elementsare there in the human body?

There are approximately 21 different types of trace elements in the human body. However, 

the exact number is unknown, and ongoing research continues to adapt this list. Each of the 

trace elements has different roles and functions within the body, and a deficiency or 

excess may lead to various clinical manifestations. 

In addition to the nutritionally essential trace elements, there are a variety of probably 

essential elements and potentially toxic elements. These classifications are largely based 

on suggestive and ongoing research. The probably essential elements include manganese, 

silicone, nickel, boron, and vanadium. 

Meanwhile, the potentially toxic elements include fluoride, lead, cadmium, mercury, 

arsenic, aluminium, lithium, and tin. 

What are the most important facts to know about trace elements?

Trace elements refer to any chemical element that is present in the body in very small 

amounts. Trace elements can be classified as nutritionally essential, probably essential, 

or potentially toxic. The nutritionally essential elements are required for proper 

physiological and metabolic functions. At least 21 trace elements have been described in 

the human body and each one has different functions. Deficiencies or excess of any of the 

trace elements can cause various clinical manifestations and affect one’s growth and