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  Minerals 鈪  
 
Copper (Symbol= Cu, Latin cuprum Greek kypros-A red-brown malleable (soft,able to be shaped) metal. Copper is essential in human metabolism. It is a component of proteins such as ceruloplasmin, and erythrocuprein, and the enzymes cytochrome C oxidase, superoxide dismutase, dopamine hydroxylase, tyrosinase and others. These enzymes have many important functions, demonstrating the importance of copper in human metabolism.
 
RDA of copper
The average diet supplies around 2mg per day. The suggested amount per day is roughly 1 micromole per kilgram of weight, and this works out to about 2.5 milligrams for a 70kg man. Several multivitamins also include a few milligrams of copper as a component. Copper is also stored in the body and can be used in times of need. Additionally, like other trace elements, copper can be re-used upon breakdown of copper-containing proteins. Green vegetables, oysters, fish, and liver are good sources of copper. In the newborn, copper deficiency doesn't immediately occur because copper is stored up in the foetal liver in utero. This supplies the newborn with copper until solids are begun, considering milk isn't a very good supply of copper.
 
Defociency and Toxicity of copper
Deficiencies of copper are rare. Only a few cases of copper deficiency have been cited. When present, copper deficiency cause anaemia, bone changes and neutropaenia (decrease in white blood cells). This is more demonstrated in the animal model. Cattle and other ruminants grazing on land with little copper develop osteoporosis, anaemia, ataxia (unsteady gait or walk), and other manifestations.
Manganese (Symbol Mn, Latin manganum, manganesium) -a metal required for human metabolism. Manganese functions as a cofactor in activating a number of human enzymes, such as the phosphorhydrolases and phosphotransferases which are involved in the synthesis of mucopolysaccharides (cartilgae). Magnesium can be found throughout the body and can be found in high levels in the mitochondria of cells, primarily in the pituitary (brain), pancreas, liver, bone and kidneys.
 
RDA of manganese
Although manganese is required for human metabolism, the RDA has not yet been established. Manganese deficiency in man is not know to exist, but occurs in poultry causing perosis (bone deformities). The average western diet supplies around 5mg of manganese per day. Many multvitamins include a few milligrams of manganese as a component in the form of manganese sulphate, manganese gluconate, or manganses chloride. Foods high in manganese include tea, whole cereals, legumes (ie., peas, beans) and leafy vegetables.
 
Toxicity of manganese
Toxicity from manganese is rare. From excess supplements, toxicity is unknown. However, if we extrapolate on long term studies with animals, who showed damage to the central nervous system (brain and peripheral nerves), we can see surmise, that perhaps ther are long-term effects to excess manganese consumption. Industries who use manganese (ie., steel production) must control limits of exposure to employees.
Boron (Symbol B, Latin borium)-A non-metallic element occuring in crystal form and as a powder. In the early 20th century, boron was demonstrated to be an essential nutrient for plants. However, it has yet to be established in the role of human metabolism. The average human diet provides a few milligrams per day. Boron is absorbed in the gut and is excreted in the urine and faeces.
 
RDA of boron
Although there is no known RDA for boron, some multivitamins include 50 or more micrograms of boron as a component.
 
Toxicity of boron
Boron is toxic to human at about 100mg. Like toxicity for many other substances, the toxicity of boron depends on weight, metabolism, health, and other factors. Boron is used industrially with other elements to make cleaning agents [ie., borax (Na2B4O7)], propellants (ie., pentaborane), antiseptics (boric acid), and other chemicals. Different exposure limits and toxicities exist for each different boron-containing prepararion. For example, 0.1-0.5g/kg of boric acid can be fatal. Interestingly, boric acid was once used as a food preservative. Boron can also be united with carbon to create boron carbide, (B4C). Boron carbide was used in nuclear reactors to absorb neutrons and as an abrasive in medicine and dentistry.
Silicon (Symbol Si, Latin silex flint)-A nonmetallic element found in nature as silica. Silica (SiO2) is simply one atom of the element silicon bonded to two oxygen atoms. Silica is found in agate, quartz, amethyst, flint, sand, chalcedony and cristobalite. Silica mined from these sources is used in dental porcelain, and dental abrasives (tooth polishes). Since silica contains silicon, our concerns are in regards to interaction with human metabolism. In the human, absolute requirement has not been demonstrated, although bone abnormalities sometimes occur in animals deficient in silicon. Silicon is found in small amounts in human tissues and may be play a "component" role in the ground substance, a gel-like matrix composed of glycosaminoglycans (carbohydrate chains and protein) that attract water. Silcon may also play a "component" role in connective tissues.
 
RDA of silicon
An RDA for silicon has not yet been established.
 
Toxicity of silicon
Silicon from silica in the atmosphere from industrial processes (ie., sanblasting) can deposit in the eyes, ears, nose and lungs. Deposit in the lungs, causes the pathology known as silicosis.
Chromium (Symbol Cr, Latin; Greek chroma colour)-A blue-white, brittle metal. We see chromium everyday when we look at older car bumpers ! That shiny metal which gleaming after a good wash is chrome (chromium). We also require this element for survival. Chromium is requred in trace amounts, and therefore, also called a trace mineral. Chromium plays a role in glucose metabolism, by acting as a cofactor for the insulin molecule. In those with chromium deficiencies, ingested glucose is not taken up as readily by peripheral tissues, due to decreased insulin sensitivity.
 
RDA of chromium
Although there yet no established RDA for chromium, it is essential in the diet. Chromium is present in all organic matter. Therefore, humans obtain chromium on a daily basis. Western diets present anywhere fro 10-100 micrograms of chromium per day. Additionally, many multivitamins also include chromium as a component. Chromium is prepared for dietary purposes (ie., supplements) is combined with different substances. For example, in nuttition stores, you may see chromium on the shelf as chromium piccolinate. You may also notice that there is quite a variation in price for different brands, and types of chromium. Regardless of the brand, chromium is chromium. Compare the different combinations for price to get the best deal. Of course you can just eat a normal diet and obtain chromium for free. You can also obtain high amounts of chromium from brewer's yeast. Because brewer's yeast contains organic chromium, it is referred to as a 'glucose tolerance factor' (abbr. GTF). A GTF is more biologically active than inorganic chromium salts. Other sources of chromium liver, whoemeal breads, pepper (black). You can also obtain moderate amounts of chromium from beer, yet another reason to sit in front of the television and watch your favourite team in action with your favourite beer in hand.
 
Toxicity of chromium
An friend of mine once asked me if you can eat chrome from a bumper, since chromium is requred in the diet. Hmmm, interesting, I said.. and of course, any question is fair game in my book.. Well, unfortunately the answer is no. My friend's question, no matter how silly it may sound, sheds light on the fact that there are different forms of chromium. The "trivalent" form is biologically active, and what humans require (and of course this is the type contained in food and supplements). The hexavalent chromium used in industrial processes is carcinogenic (cancer causing).
Molybdenum (Symbol Mo, Greek molybdos lead-A hard, silver-white metallic element. Molybdenum is an essential trace element, serving as a cofactor for enzymes xanthine oxidase, aldehyde oxidase, and nitrate reductase. By acting as a cofactor, molybdenum enables the enzyume to work more effectively, and in some cases, to work at all. By acting as cofactors, the shape of the enzyme may change, enabling it to undergo chemical reactions at a faster rate and with less required energy.
 
RDA of molybdenum
An RDA for molybdenum has not yet been established, although it is an essential trace element. Many multivitamins include 20 or more micrograms of molybdenum as a component. Molybdenym, being a trace element, or mineral, is found in soil and therefore, is taken up by plants through their root systems. Different soils logically contain different amounts of molybdenum, so the amounts that people receive in their diets depend on the food they consume and of course, where they are situated (if they consume the food they grow). On average, diets can contain about half a milligram to several milligrams of molybdenum. Plants growing in neutral soils and alkaline (high pH) soils with high concentrations of organic matter, contain higher amounts of molybdenum. Sandy soils contain less. Plants that grow in acidic soile (low pH) also contain less molybdenum.
From a medical point of view, it is interesting to note that in areas of high molybdenum concentration, there is an increase in the incidence of gout. The incidence of dental caries (cavities) also decreases. Perhaps the bacteriostatic effect is similar to that of fluorine.
Toxicity and deficiency of molybdenum
The effects of high levels of molybdenum are similar to other metallic elements. Central nervous system effects, liver and kidney damage, and inflammatory reactions are some of the common denominators for these trace elements. As we have read above in regards to gout, long term exposure comes with its own risks. Deficiency in man has not been fully demonstrated. In animals however, deficiency of molybdenum results in decreased growth. On an academic level, this seems entirely possible in humans as well, considering the enzyme systems will also work less efficiently without molybdenum, and these enzymes indirectly affect growth. Additionally, chronic high levels of molybdenum causing gout seems plausible when we take in consideration that xanthine oxidase is the enzyme that oxidizes hypoxanthine, which in turn, is later degraded to uric acid. High levels of uric acid are deposited causing gout.
Vanadium (Symbol= V, Norse for Vanadis, a Norse deity)- Vanadium is a rare metallic element, whose nutritional requirment in the human is yet to be properly established. Vanadium has been established to be a component of some sea creatures (eg., sea squirts). We must keep in mind that some elements required in other animals may not be required in humans (eg., see tin, silicon, nickel, lithium.)
 
RDA of vanadium
ALthough the nutritional requirement of vanadium has not been completely established, many multivitamin compounds include 10 or more micrograms as a component. Many experiments were conducted to test the importance of vanadium because it is a powerful diuretic, and perhaps it could exert a role in homeostatic mechanisms, such as blood pressure. This remains to be fully elucidated. Nevertheless, this is an exciting prospect, as with all new finds in nutrition and its effect on physiological function of the human. Until this is fully understood, the good news is that vanadium is found in many foods and western diets provide at least 20 micrograms each day on average.
 
Toxicity of vanadium
Humans do not really have the chance to ingest large quantities of vanadium, considering it is a rare metal. If you find a large amount, let me know and I'll come collect if for you :o) However, vanadium vapour (eg., from any industrial process) could cause tissue inflammation. Obviously, any industry using this element in any process should take the suitable precautions (inhalation protection, etc.)
Selenium (Symbol Se, Greek selene moon-A nonmetallic element which resebles sulfur in appearance. Selenium is an essential mineral. It is required as a cofactor for the enzyme glutathione peroxidase and is associated with vitamin E and its functions. Selenium can also be made into topical (on the skin only) preparations and had anfifungal properties.
 
RDA of selenium
There isn't yet an accurate RDA of selenium. However, the typical diet contains 50-100 micrograms of selenium. A rick source of selenium is fish, which contains more than 300 micrograms in each kg of meat. Cereals also contain significant amounts (>100 micrograms per kg)
 
Deficiency of selenium
Selenium deficiency has been seen in malnourished children in some countries, resulting in cardiomyopathy (pathologies or disease of the muscle portion of the heart). Skeletal myopathies have also been reported with selenium deficiency. As we've read above, selenium is a component of glutathione peroxidase, which similar to vitamin E, protects membrane lipids against peroxide damage.
 
Toxicity of selenium
Plants growing in soils with high amounts of selenium can concentrate this selenium through their root systems, thus, causing high amounts of selenium to be concentrated into the plant. Grazing animals feedking on these plants can suffer from selenium poisoning, exhibiting signs such as malformed hooves, and hair loss.
Nickel (Symbol Ni Latin niccolum)-Nickel is a silver-white metallic element. It is found in various tissues of the human. It is not known to have any nutritional value in man, but is thought to be necessary in chicks, swine and possibly other animals.
 
RDA of nickel
Since there is no nutritional value yet known, there can be no RDA. However, because of the lack of association with toxicity in low doses, and the possibility that it may be required in the diet,a few micrograms of Nickel are included in many multivitamins.
 
Toxicity of nickel
High amounts of nickel and its compounds are toxic. For example, Nickel carbonyl, the combination of nickel and carbonyl produced during nickel refinery cause pulmonary oedema and dyspnoea, and is carciongenic, causing respiratory and nasal carcinomas.
Low doese of nickel are considered harmless. Nickel is thus used to line cookery, pasteurisation equipment, and other food industry machinery.
Tin, symbol= Sn. Latin for stannum)-A white metallic element. The nutritional value of tin in the human has yet to be established. Although tin is found in natural foods, as well as in foils, cans, cooking utensils, etc. no known requirment exists. In rats, it has been established that a lack of tin in the diet affects growth. However, in humans this has not been clinically proven. Note that there are many circumstances in nature, whereby other animals require a substance that humans have no need for. Threfore, it would be unwise to take tin until the contrary has been proven. Nevertheless, we receive tin through consumption of foods, as well as through man-made means (cans, foil, etc.)
 
RDA of tin
As we learned above, there is no established human requiremebt for tin. In case we are mistaken, some "multivitamins" include tin as a component. Depending on location, cultural dietary norms and other factors, consumption of tin varies considerably. Ingestion of tin increases with processed foods and those contained in tin cans and foil. In modern times, food manufactures have tried to decrease the amount of tin by lacquer coating cans, and using other coatings. These methods are not perfect, but help to reduce the amounts that we would get otherwise. The absorption of tin is poor in the gut and most is passes through with the faeces.
Lithium (Symbol Li, Greek lithos stone)- Lithium is a white metal. Lithium itself has no known role in the metabolism of humans. However, lithium salts [lithium carbonate (Li2CO3 and lithium citrate] are employed in treating the manic phase of bipolar illness.
 
RDA of lithium
There is no known RDA for lithium since there is no established role in human nutrition.
 
Toxicity of Lithium
When used in the clinical setting, plasma levels of lithium salts must be monitored. For example, levels greater than 1.5meq/L are known to cause concerning side effects (ie., thyroid enlargement, diarrhoea, vomiting, drowsiness, convulsions, hypotesion.
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Cobalt (Symbol= . Latin cobaltum)-A metal, required in human metabolism. The only known function of cobalt is as a component of vitamin B12. The cobalamin (B12) molecule contains cobalt at the centre. Cobalamin, as we've learned, forms coenzymes. These coenzymes are needed for two known reactions in humans:
1) The synthesis of methionine from homocysteine. This requires methylcobalamin (which contains cobalt).
2) The production of Succinyl Coenzyme A from Methylmalonyl Coenzyme A requires a different coenzyme form of cobalamin, called deoxyadenosylcobalamin. This coenzme of cobalamin also contains cobalt. SInce our cobalamin comes from bacterial production in our intestines and from animal food sources, we are obtaining cobalt as well.
 
RDA of tin
Cobalt is stored in the body in cobalamin (vitamin 12. Since cobalt is a component of cobalamin, cobalt is available as long as this vitamin is available.
Deficiency and Toxicity of cobalt
A deficiency of cobalt leads to anaemia. Because blood cell production relies on cobalamin, the lack of cobalt logically affects this. Excess cobalt leads to an increase in the red cell mass (increase in red blood c (Symbol Al)-A light-weight metal found in minerals such as bauxite and clay. Aluminum has no place in human nutrition. There even seems to be a relationship between the use and accumulation of aluminum in the human and the dementia known as Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Aluminum is used for cooking vessels, utensils, in dentistry as bases for dentures, prosthetics (artificial limbs), and for many other industrial purposes. In cooking vessels, there seems to be a low theoretical risk of aluminum contamination of food because aluminum has a low solubility in water. In other words, when you are boiling water in an aluminum pot, very few aluminum atoms break away from the pot and into the water. However, the factors may change when it comes to aluminum cans and what they hold. Beverages containing acids may cause more aluminum to dissolve in solution. This obviously puts more aluminum into the diet.
Aluminum is the third most abundant mineral in the earth's crust, so it finds its way into many many minerals, soils, etc., and thus into plants through their roots. The amount of aluminum in consumable plants varies and we are currently carrying out tests in different types of soils. Aluminum is also used in antacids, such as aluminum hydroxide. If you have any sentiments about aluminum, you can always switch to non-aluminum household goods. For example, as an antacid, you can use magnesium hydroxide in the place of aluminum hydroxide. Cooking vessels which are made out of other metals can be used. Canned goods can be substituted with frozen goods, which last long periods of time as well and bottled foods, which can also have a long shelf life.
 
RDA of Aluminum
Aluminum is not required for human metabolism and therefore, there is no RDA. Keep in mind, that aluminum consumption can be harmful.
 
Toxicity of Aluminum
Excess amounts of aluminum in the human have various toxic effects. In the gastrointestinal tract, aluminum inhibits the absorption of calcium, phosphates, iron, and other minterals. Aluminum dust can lead to pulonary inflammation and fibrosis.
 
 
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