THE ULTIMATE NUTRITION GUIDE FOR ALL VITAMINS AND MINERALS - CHAPTER VI: OTHER LESSEN MINERALS

THE ULTIMATE NUTRITION GUIDE FOR ALL VITAMINS AND MINERALS - CHAPTER VI: OTHER LESSEN MINERALS
Written by Antonio Reyes RDN

 

In this final chapter of the ultimate nutrition guide we are going to talk about the last micronutrients, they`re called lessen minerals because its essential character is uncertain, as such, they RDI are not well established and its function in the human body it's not properly documented as the other micronutrients, there are 6 lessen minerals in the literature and to be covered in this chapter, being: sulfur, cobalt, arsenic, nickel, silicon, and vanadium.

As a side note, there are other more enigmatic microminerals that the data on their biological role in human metabolism is quite limited and/or without evidence, they are not going to be covered because most likely none of them are of concern from the nutritional point of view, but they are worthy of mention since they are naturally found in very low levels throughout the body, these include 5 light metals: tin (stannum), aluminum, lithium, rubidium, and lead (plumbum).

 

Sulfur

Sulfur's role in the body is to aid vitamins signaling in certain metabolic pathways. working in synergy together with Thiamine (B1) and Biotin (B8).

Best Sources: red meat, fish and milk.

RDI: There is no RDI established; nevertheless it is documented that essential amino acids methionine and cysteine meet the sulfur biological needs.

Deficiency

Dietary intake comes mainly from sulfur-containing amino acids, and if a deficiency exists is related to general low protein intake.

Toxicity

If there exists toxicity it would be related to an excess of protein. Although an excess of ammonium (a metabolite of proteins) would appear before high sulfur in blood.

 

Cobalt

Cobalt is actually a part of Vitamin B12 structure, therefore it is bound to proteins in animal foods since B12 is present only in an animal food source. Cobalt is essential for the normal function of all cells, particularly bone marrow, nervous and digestive system cells.  

Best Sources: liver, oysters, and clams.

RDI: The dietary need for Cobalt is covered when Vitamin B12 is taken, because as mentioned before they`re bound together.

Deficiency

Only in people who do not consume animal products or a pathology deficiency can be associated due to a Gastrectomy (the removal of one part or all of the stomach).

Toxicity

Eating too much through supplementation can cause Polycythemia a condition with excessive production of red blood cells that increases blood volume and makes the blood thicker leading to reticulocytosis a condition where there is an increase in reticulocytes (immature red blood cells). 

 

Arsenic

The biochemical actions of arsenic suggest that its biological role includes enzymatic activation, stimulation of DNA synthesis in lymphocytes, lung cells and production of certain proteins known as heat shock proteins (HSP). 

Best Sources: mainly seafood.

RDI: not formally established yet, nevertheless dietary needs believe to be around 12 to 25 mcg a day.

Deficiency

No data is available regarding nutritional deficiency.

Toxicity

Arsenic is very toxic in its inorganic form. Its greatest threat to public health lies in the use of contaminated water for drinking, preparing food and watering food crops, consumption of contaminated food and/or water can cause skin lesions. It has also been associated with developmental problems, cardiovascular diseases, neurotoxicity and being carcinogenic. 

 

Nickel

It has been detected that nickel is necessary for the activity of numerous enzymes. In addition, it is most likely that its functions are very similar to the ones of Cobalt.

Best Sources: chocolate, nuts, and cereals

RDI: A dietary requirement has not been established, some studies have concluded that a range between 0.6 to 1 mg is required.

Deficiency

There is no information in humans, only studies with animals.

Toxicity

If Nickel is taken orally (supplement form) it is likely to be safe in amounts up to 1 mg daily. Taking amounts slightly above the 1 mg level increases the chances of unwanted side effects like neurotoxicity.

 

Silicon

Studies on skeletal tissue have considered Silicon to influence osteogenesis (formation of bone tissue) by acting on the cartilage cells. It is also highly likely that it has a relevant function in Collagen (protein) synthesis, therefore playing a role in bone health.

Best Sources: whole grains.

RDI: It is difficult to establish what Silicon needs are because there is only limited data. Based on animal data, human requirements will be, perhaps, 2 to 5 mg per day.

Deficiency

No relevant human data.

Toxicity

No relevant human data regarding dietary intake.

 

Vanadium

The literature indicates that Vanadium could have a role in the metabolism of lipids and carbohydrates, nevertheless more research is needed to better understand its specific role in human metabolism.

Best Sources: seafood and mushrooms.

RDI: Based on data from animal studies, a daily dietary intake of 10 mg per day is likely to cover any possible need for the item. Typical diets generally provide about 30 mg per day.

Deficiency

No relevant human data.

Toxicity

No relevant human data regarding dietary intake.

 

Bibliography
Fu, Zhushan & Xi, Shuhua. (2019). The Effects of Heavy Metals on Human Metabolism. Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods. 
Loffredo, Christopher & Aposhian, H & Cebrian, Mariano & Yamauchi, Hiroshi & Silbergeld, Ellen. (2003). Variability in human metabolism of arsenic. Environmental research. 
Genchi, Giuseppe & Carocci, Alessia & Lauria, & Sinicropi, & Catalano,. (2020). Nickel: Human Health and Environmental Toxicology. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 
Dobon, Begona & Montanucci, Ludovica & Pereto, Juli & Bertranpetit, Jaume & Laayouni, Hafid. (2019). Gene connectivity and enzyme evolution in the human metabolic network. Biology Direct.

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