Talk:Mineral (nutrient)

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Cleaning up old threads[edit]

There were many very old threads here mostly unsigned IP edits dating back to January 2006 through May 2010. The auto-archive process was not triggering due to the lack of dates. I added attribution to them so that the dates could be readily ascertained, with {{quotedfrom}} links so that my work could be easily double checked. The archives can be found at talk:Dietary element/Archive 1 in these sections:

YBG (talk) 10:05, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

Thanks. I noticed that and was going to say something about it. Zyxwv99 (talk) 13:32, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
Yea, I though it would be good to clean it all up, especially since I invited editors of four different projects to come here. YBG (talk) 19:01, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

Undue weight[edit]

This article is giving undue weight to two health claims. 1. That bromine is an essential nutrient, and 2) that chromium is not an essential nutrient. Even though both of these instances violate ordinary WP guidelines, health claims are held to an even higher standard. (see WP:MEDRS and Wikipedia:Biomedical information). On chromium there is definitely a serious controversy within the scientific community. However, the "chromium is not essential" side represents a minority viewpoint. The bromine claim doesn't even come close to meeting any sort of notability standard. Zyxwv99 (talk) 23:26, 26 June 2016 (UTC)

So, does that mean Br should change from green to chartreuse in the table? Double sharp (talk) 06:51, 2 October 2016 (UTC)
 Done Double sharp (talk) 06:54, 2 October 2016 (UTC)

Article should be Dietary mineral[edit]

Dietary element is not a recognized concept. The four most abundant elements in our diet, oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen, are generally characterized in terms of sorts of foods they occur in, such as protein, carbs, etc. Sulfur is also not generally treated separately. The FDA counts cobalt only as part of Vitamin B12, although a case could be made for mentioning it. To argue that "mineral" is archaic sound like OR. Zyxwv99 (talk) 03:47, 2 July 2016 (UTC)

Support. In my experience, no one in the field of nutrition discusses "dietary elements". In editing discussions of nutrition at WP, it is frequently necessary to wikilink to dietary mineral which becomes a redirect. As you are suggesting, we should propose redirecting "dietary element" to "dietary mineral". The article would need little adjustment for this change, but in order to have consensus, other editors would need to weigh in. Since you are proposing this change, I recommend you recruit other editors from the article's history or at human nutrition by leaving a message on their Talk pages to come here for discussion and vote. --Zefr (talk) 14:16, 2 July 2016 (UTC)
Oppose. I suggest instead that the article be renamed Chemical elements required by living organisms. The bulk of the article is focused on the elements of the periodic table, but the title as it stands is not sufficiently descriptive for the average reader to understand that. The deprecation of the term 'dietary minerals' is unfortunate, as is the exclusion of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen. I will see if I can rectify these two content flaws. YBG (talk) 16:14, 2 July 2016 (UTC)
Comment The root cause of this article naming issue is that this article belongs multiple projects which have different vocabularies. In particular, "mineral" has a completely different meaning in nutrition than it does in other disciplines including chemistry; and "element" has a specific meaning in chemistry that is different from the more general and ambiguous meaning in other disciplines. Although the WP:Primary topic for both terms is the meaning used in chemistry, nevertheless, both mineral and element are problematic when the context is not obvious, and the word "dietary" IMHO does not provide sufficient context and both phrases seem clumsy. When I was developing {{sidebar periodic table}} recently, I recall cringing at this article's title but I didn't think more about why and didn't even consider doing anything to remedy this situation. Now, thanks to Zyxwv99 raising this issue, I have thought about it and better understand what made me cringe and am prepared to do something about it, especially as it seems to me that the current title captures the worst of both worlds.
I suggest that we get input form the four wikiprojects that have voiced interest in this article by posting a message like this on the appropriate project talk page:
== Article renaming discussion ==
You are invited to participate in a discussion at talk:Dietary element § Article should be Dietary mineral. Only four editors have been involved so far, and while they agree the article should be renamed, they disagree about the best new name.
Please let me know if there is any way to make this better WP:POV-wise. YBG (talk) 23:32, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
Looks good. Let's do it. Zyxwv99 (talk) 03:58, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
 Done here, here, here, and here YBG (talk) 04:31, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
Support We have nearly a thousand articles that link to this one. When it was created in 2003 it was entitled Trace mineral, but the content was clearly about dietary trace minerals. Very soon thereafter it was changed to Dietary minerals. On 8 December 2013 it was changed to its current title by a user with a Talk page full of warnings, blocked three times, and history of moving many pages. I am not an expert on nutrition, but it's my understanding that major nutrients are categorized as things such as proteins, (complex) carbohydrates, (simple) sugars, fats, etc. Micronutrients are divided into vitamins and minerals. Vitamins are organic, while minerals are elements, usually consumed in the form of compounds and utilized as ions. The point is, "mineral" is the standard terminology. More to the point, it is a generally recognized concept. Zyxwv99 (talk) 15:56, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
Support The traditional term is trace element, currently a disambiguation page. They are "trace" since anything more is a poison. The term dietary salt redirects to salt which is mostly about sodium chloride, though there is a section "Fortified table salt" that mentions other trace minerals in nutrition. Perhaps it should go to salt (chemistry). Mineral nutrient redirects to this article and lends the subject the scientific context of nutrition rather than the "dietary" context of choice and taste that influences eating. — Rgdboer (talk) 22:07, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
Actually, trace element is a stub, not a WP:DAB. YBG (talk) 22:18, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
support should be dietary mineral[1]...IMO--Ozzie10aaaa (talk) 09:33, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
Support follows or (precedes) mineral deficiency. --Iztwoz (talk) 20:36, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
Support should be dietary mineral and have disambig entry on mineral, supplements, micronutrients and whatever redirects will get readers to where they want to be. Barbara (WVS) (talk) 00:38, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

OK, mineral it is[edit]

@Zyxwv99, Rgdboer, Ozzie10aaaa, Iztwoz, Barbara (WVS), Blue Rasberry, and Zefr: There is a clear consensus to move to a title that includes the word "mineral" and not "element". I was about to move the article Dietary mineral, but then I though we should work a little more and get the best title. I thought of two possibilities:

List your preference below -- or if you prefer something else, add it to this list and create a new sub-section below. YBG (talk) 05:15, 9 July 2016 (UTC)

Dietary mineral[edit]

  1. -

Mineral (nutrient)/(nutrition)[edit]

(nutrition) and (nutrient) articles and articles related to them
  1. Andrew Saul (no disambiguation page for these two articles)
  2. Diet (disambiguation)Diet (DAB page with no primary topic)
    (Not mentioned directly on DAB page)
  3. Food pyramid (disambiguation)Food pyramid (an improperly formatted DAB page)
    (Not mentioned directly on DAB page)
  4. Prebiotic (disambiguation)Prebiotic (DAB page with no primary topic)
  5. Protein (disambiguation) (DAB page)
    (Not mentioned directly on DAB page)
  • bold indicates pages with (nutrient) or (nutrition) in the title
  • XY indicates that article X is a redirect pointing to article Y
  • italic indicates commentary not a part of article titles

Use of (nutrient) and (nutrition) as disambiguators[edit]

I haven't been able to get the grep title search to work, but I found the following using special:search/intitle:nutrient and special:search/intitle:nutrition. (Note: this method will not uncover redirects)

Here's what I found:

To provide some context, I mapped out the relationship between these and related article titles, either with a different parenthetical disambiguator or with no disambuator. I found these using the search box, typing the title name up to the parenthesis and then looking at the list of articles that show up in the drop-down.

This list is shown in the hanging table to the right.

These are the findings of my search; I will add my conclusions to the list of preferences below. YBG (talk) 05:08, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

Move history

The following moves might prove to be worth checking out

I thought I found some talk page discussions of one or the other these moves, but now I can't find it. YBG (talk) 05:40, 11 July 2016 (UTC)


  1. Support with a slight strong preference to (nutrient): This follows the standard WP:NCDAB naming convention for titles requiring disambiguation and it avoids the problem that the phrase "dietary mineral" does not seem to be well attested. YBG (talk) 05:15, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
    From the searches above, I see that there is only one article where either (nutrient) or (nutrition) could be selected, and in that case, a previous editor decided to put the article at (nutrient) with a redirect at (nutrition). I think we should do the same with this article. Based on this, I've changed my preference for (nutrient) from 'weak' to 'strong', but please understand that I feel even stronger about the importance of consensus. YBG (talk) 05:47, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
    A definite improvement but would go for Mineral (nutrition) --Iztwoz (talk) 05:44, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
    I'm fine with either one. In the words of WP:NCDAB, "Dietary nutrient" if it were commonly used would be the preferred natural disambiguation; (nutrient) is a generic class and (nutrition) is a subject area. The policy gives no preference between the latter two, but it does say "If there are several possible choices for parenthetical disambiguation, use the same disambiguating phrase already commonly used for other topics within the same class and context, if any. Otherwise, choose whichever is simpler." (See WP:NCDAB for examples and more info.) A cursory search turned up no (nutrition) articles and only one (nutrient) article, Protein (nutrient). Not a very strong case, but it does seem to give (nutrient) a slight edge over (nutrition). But I'll go with whatever one is preferred by others. YBG (talk) 06:42, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
    There's Diet (nutrition) --Iztwoz (talk) 06:50, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
    That makes it a tie. Anyway, it seems like we should decide between "Dietary mineral" on the one hand and "Mineral (nutrient)/(nutrition)" on the other, and then if we get a consensus on the latter, decide between these two. I've modified the section title to reflect this idea. YBG (talk) 07:05, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
    Either is OK - just assumed (nutrition) was more used. --Iztwoz (talk) 07:12, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
    I'll do a more complete search and report the results here in a few days. YBG (talk) 07:29, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
  2. Support since I was actually thinking about that already, but didn't want to gum up the works by mentioning it. As for nutrient or nutrition, I'm open to either one at this point. Zyxwv99 (talk) 23:12, 10 July 2016 (UTC)


I'm not sure 2½ Support constitutes a consensus, even in the absence of any opposition, but I'll go ahead and move the page to Mineral (nutrient). YBG (talk) 03:23, 16 July 2016 (UTC)

Removed Arsenic because...[edit]

Tsuji, Joyce S.; Garry, Michael R.; Perez, Vanessa; Chang, Ellen T. (2015). "Low-level arsenic exposure and developmental neurotoxicity in children: A systematic review and risk assessment". Toxicology 337: 91–107. doi:10.1016/j.tox.2015.09.002. ISSN 0300-483X. Barbara (WVS) (talk) 00:47, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I think you have inadvertently committed original research. Arsenic is on the short list of possibly essentiall elements.
I know this is unorthodox, but I Barbara (WVS) have inserted comments in italics after the references below:
Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements page 415 states that minimum requirements for arsenic have not been determined but other animals need it.
Advanced Human Nutrition dietary needs of arsenic have not been established, but probably exist and then the source suggests the requirements.
Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition describes arsenic as a possible nutrient
Whether a substance is toxic, even in small amounts, does not by itself determine whether it is an essential nutrient.
A toxic brew we cannot live without. Micronutrients give insights into the interplay between geochemistry and evolutionary biology Zyxwv99 (talk) 04:00, 5 July 2016 (UTC) - a primary source supported by only ten references that state - "close to qualifying as a micronutrient in animals" with no mention of arsenic being an essential micronutrient for humans.
I may have been in error, I've made plenty but 'original research'? Best Regards, Barbara (WVS) (talk) 11:03, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
Your original research consisted in the implicit relationship between your deletion of arsenic and the research paper you used to justify your action. The assumptions are as follows:
1) that a nutrient can't be toxic in excessive amounts
2) that a nutrient required in extremely small amounts can't be more often encountered at toxic levels than at deficiency levels
The third assumption is a little more complicated. Known nutrients are usually toxic at levels substantially greater than the minimum required. For substances considered merely as "possible" nutrients, the difference between estimated deficiency levels and known toxic levels is one of the factors taken into account. In this case you are taking a primary source, treating its results as established fact, and using it to impugn decades of scientific research. Zyxwv99 (talk) 13:55, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
I am starting to understand what you mean, now. My source was a systematic review, not a primary source if that makes any difference. I am enjoying this discussion! Isn't the simplest solution to state that arsenic may be an essential nutrient?
Barbara (WVS) (talk) 21:56, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
I guess I still good about removing Arsenic because the systematic reviews I have found don't mention it as an essential micronutrient.
Barbara (WVS) (talk) 22:21, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
None of the elements on that table are essential. This is explained in the first sentence of the explanatory paragraph above the table. However, I have just changed the title of the subheading from "Other elements" to "Elements considered possibly essential but not confirmed" just to clarify.
The underlying theory behind this is that our distant ancestors were once anaerobic microbes living in a world where the concentration of free oxygen in the biosphere was about 1 ppb. The thinking is that our ancestors were probably similar to Hyperthermophile Archaea that live near undersea volcanic vents chomping on lead and cadmium, and drinking arsenic for breakfast. More complex life forms appear to have inherited some of their ancient metabolic pathways. Molybdenum and chromium, now formally recognized as essential, came out of this kind of research. The elements on this list have been studied in microbes, plants, and invertebrates, and non-mammalian vertebrates, where the metabolic pathways of these elements is well characterized. Once they get to mammals they run into problems: the deficiency symptoms are sometimes too vague to pin down exactly what's happening. Of the 20 or so elements currently being investigated, half are highly tentative, six (including arsenic) look fairly promising, and three (boron, nickel, and silicon) are now recognized as essential nutrients by the UK National Health Service (here)

Zyxwv99 (talk) 04:04, 10 July 2016 (UTC)


It is not clear what "NE" stands for in the Upper Limits column of the table. I'm assuming "not established", but that it also seems to include minerals where there is no reasonable tolerable upper limit. Can someone clarify? The links match the data, but do not explain where "NE" comes from. LordQwert (talk) 18:08, 14 November 2016 (UTC)

Lanthanum and the lanthanides[edit]

Looking at the article (doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.12249), it does not seem to matter which of the early lanthanides the organism in question gets as long as it gets at least one of them. Lanthanum will serve perfectly fine alone; so will Ce, Pr, or Nd; even Sm, Eu, and Gd will work (if less effectively due to smaller ionic size). I'd probably just single out La as the first of them and have a note saying "Due to the great similarity of the lanthanide metals, the concept of an essential element does not apply completely here because lanthanum may be replaced with some of the other cerium-group elements with no ill effects." Double sharp (talk) 07:47, 18 November 2016 (UTC)

Maybe what is necessary is the concept of an essential class of elements or something like that. YBG (talk) 23:35, 18 November 2016 (UTC)

Can't find the information in the references.[edit]

@Zefr: Can you add quotations to the text in the references you added? I can't find the specific information in the references. Thanks! --VeniVidiVicipedia (talk) 19:51, 19 December 2016 (UTC)

Recent, but not that recent[edit]

@Zefr: The evidence that fluoride's effect is only topical was pretty well accepted by 2000, although the real proof came about in 2010 and 2013. Why did you change the word "Recent" to "2017?"

Elemental Depth Profiling of Fluoridated Hydroxyapatite: Saving Your Dentition by the Skin of Your Teeth? Frank Müller, Christian Zeitz, Hubert Mantz, Karl-Heinz Ehses, Flavio Soldera, Jörg Schmauch, Matthias Hannig, Stefan Hüfner, and Karin Jacobs. Langmuir 2010 26 (24), 18750-18759. DOI: 10.1021/la102325e
Peter Loskill, Christian Zeitz, Samuel Grandthyll, Nicolas Thewes, Frank Müller, Markus Bischoff, Mathias, Herrmann, Karin Jacobs. Reduced Adhesion of Oral Bacteria on Hydroxyapatite by Fluoride Treatment. Langmuir, 2013.
Systemic versus topical fluoride. Hellwig E, Lennon AM. Caries Res. 2004 May-Jun;38(3):258-62.
CDC MMWR. Recommendations for Using Fluoride to Prevent and Control Dental Caries in the United States. August 17, 2001 / 50(RR14);1-42 Seabreezes1 (talk) 20:09, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
Seabreezes1: as a general rule, using "recent" can lead to misunderstanding or misinterpretation of dates if the article isn't changed over months-to-years. By saying "as of 2017" would indicate recent, but given this history of fluoride research over 2001-13 cited in the article leads to me to feel we don't need to mention dates in the sentence. I'll revise again. Thanks for the references. --Zefr (talk) 21:06, 3 June 2017 (UTC)