Trace metal

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Trace metals are metals in extremely small quantities that are present in animal and plant cells and tissue. They are a necessary part of nutrition and physiology. Ingestion of, or exposure to, excessive quantities is often toxic. However, insufficient plasma or tissue levels of certain trace metals can also cause pathology, as is the case with iron.

Trace metals include iron, magnesium, lithium, zinc, copper, chromium, nickel, cobalt, vanadium, arsenic, molybdenum, manganese, selenium and others.[1][2]

Trace metals are depleted through the expenditure of energy by various metabolic processes living organisms. They are replenished in animals through diet as well as environmental exposure, and in plants through the uptake of nutrients from the soil in which the plant grows.

Human vitamin pills and plant fertilizers both contain trace metals as additional sources for trace metals.

Trace metals are sometimes referred to as trace elements, though the latter is a broader category. See also Dietary mineral. Trace elements though required in smaller quantities are to be taken in diet as they are required by the body for specific functions but taking them in excess causes various problems. For example fluorine is required for the formation of bones and enamel on teeth.However, when taken in more quantities due to its excessive content in ground water by people in some areas causes a disease called "Fluorosis', in which bone deformations and yellowing of teeth are seen.

The harder you work to expend energy, the more trace metals you will lose. These metals need to be replaced so that your body can properly function. Things such as vitamins and sports drinks can help with this along with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Some metals are naturally found in the body and are necessary for proper human health. Iron can help to prevent anemia, and zinc is a cofactor in over 100 enzyme reactions. All though trace metals are good for humans, in high doses they may be toxic to the body.


  1. ^ Interrelations between Essential Metal Ions and Human Diseases. Series editors Sigel, Astrid; Sigel, Helmut; Sigel, Roland K.O. Springer. 2013. ISBN 978-94-007-7499-5.  electronic-book ISBN 978-94-007-7500-8 ISSN 1559-0836 electronic-ISSN 978-94-007-7500-8
  2. ^ Bender DA; Mayes PA; Murray RK; Botham KM; Kennelly PJ; Rodwell VW; Weil PA (2009). "Chapter 44. Micronutrients: Vitamins & Minerals". Harper's Illustrated Biochemistry (28th ed ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. Archived from the original on 2010-09-07. Retrieved 22 October 2013.