We all know that minerals are good for us because they regulate body processes and keep us from getting sick. We are aware that we need calcium to strengthen our bones, iron to help distribute oxygen to different parts of our body, and zinc to boost our immune system. But do you know that we also need selenium, molybdenum, boron, copper and cobalt? Do you know what they are for?
Only a few people know about it, but trace minerals (such as those mentioned above) are equally important to macro minerals such as calcium, potassium and sodium. Trace minerals also help resolve certain health conditions and are essential for one’s optimum functioning. The only difference is that these minerals are present at lower levels in the body compared to macro minerals.
Here’s a closer look at these lesser known minerals and what they do:
No, this kind of copper does not go through television cables. This one helps iron in forming blood and is important to bone and cartilage development. It also enables the body cells to use the energy present in carbohydrates, fat and protein. It is also needed in hair formation and pigmentation of skin.
Lack of copper may lead to anemia, anorexia, edema and retarded growth.
Food sources: cocoa, liver, kidney, raisins, oysters, peas
This mineral is an integral part of Vitamin B12, which is used for producing red blood cells and maintaining the nervous system. It is required by the body for the formation of blood and helps treat a certain type of anemia. Some athletes rely on cobalt to increase the oxygen-carrying ability of the blood.
Lack of cobalt leads to poor growth, fatigue, poor circulation and anemia.
Food sources: green leafy vegetables, clams, meat, oysters
Boron plays a role in preventing osteoporosis by helping build and maintain healthy bones. It elevates the levels of estrogen and calcium in the blood and reduces the loss of calcium and magnesium in urine. Also, Boron maintains healthy cell membranes and facilitates enzyme reactions of the body.
Studies show that lack of boron impairs mental function.
Food sources: dried fruits, cider, beer, wine, apricots
This trace mineral acts as an antioxidant which fights cell damage. It is also known to prevent a protein malnutrition and enhance proper immune response. Aside from aiding in the proper functioning of the heart, it is also believed to possess protective properties against cancer.
Selenium deficiency is linked to joint diseases and is believed to lead to heart abnormalities.
Food sources: seafood, rice, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, kidney, meat
This trace mineral is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and is excreted in the urine. Aside from its role in the metabolism of iron, carbohydrates and fats, it also helps protect teeth against tooth decay. It also helps prevent anemia and enhance general well-being.
In extreme cases, lack of molybdenum can lead to irregular heartbeat.
Food sources: wheat, dark green leafy vegetables, liver, eggs
About the author: Based in San Diego, California, Melissa Page is a passionate writer who blogs about health, parenting and travel. She currently works with ICan, a company that gives smart and affordable insurance options. When she is not writing, she plays bowling with her friends.