Understanding Trace Minerals

Understanding Trace Minerals

Let us begin with the definition of trace (ionic) minerals: “a group of metal ions present in minimal (milligram or microgram) amounts in biological systems, which are required for their optimal activity. Trace mineral enzyme cofactors play critical roles in the organization of molecules, membranes and mitochondria, and include chromium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, iodine, iron, manganese, selenium, silicon, vanadium and zinc. These minerals are maintained in a delicate balance between toxic excess and nutritional deficiency that may induce metabolic failure, an event most common in total parenteral nutrition.” Segen's Medical Dictionary


Trace minerals are some of the most underrated and least talked aspects in general fitness and nutrition. They are surely mentioned every now and then by a few experts, but in this segment, we are going to scope some of the roles trace minerals play in our cell function and how they serve the body’s fitness and performance.


There are over 72 different trace minerals you can learn about but today we will focus on the top that I think are essential to be aware of and to make sure you aren’t experiencing any signs of deficiency. Trace minerals roles include:


Building blocks for hundreds of different enzymes
Aid in facilitating a multitude of biochemical reactions
Neurological functions
Serve as anti-oxidants
Support the blood system
Essential for certain hormones
Essential for proper cell detoxification


Trace minerals are crucial in the metabolism and support in the process of catabolism and anabolism, like Molybdenum, which serves as a catalyst for enzymes as well as breaking down amino acids in the body. It is well known that Molybdenum also binds with sulfite oxidase (enzyme in the mitochondria of all eukaryotes) to catalyze sulfur-containing amino acids allowing for the proper generation of ATP. Alternatively, minerals such as Manganese are necessary for the healthy formation of bone density and also plays a vital role in the breakdown of carbohydrates and lipids in the body. Now that we understand that trace minerals are important for human function let us discuss a couple questions that have been frequently asked by a couple friends of mine who also wonder what they can do to make sure they are getting sufficiency of trace minerals in their diet.


Question #1: “Am I getting enough trace minerals in my diet?”

Answer: Probably not.

There are 2 factors that you should keep in mind. One is that if you have poor dietary habits, chances are that your gastrointestinal tract is most likely inflamed and can interfere with the absorption of these minerals. Healthy diet is absolutely key in the absorption of these minerals in our bodies.


“Villi are approximately 0.5–1.6 mm in length and are covered with columnar epithelial cells at the tip. These are mostly absorptive cells, whereas crypt cells are generally regarded as secretory. Most of the nutrient transport occurs in the small intestine, whereas the colon is primarily responsible for water and electrolyte transport. The GI tract is responsible for handling approximately 8–10 L of fluid containing approximately 800 mmol of sodium (Na+), 700 mmol of chloride (Cl−), and 100 mmol of potassium (K+) that passes through the intestinal lumen every day. The bulk of the transport of these fluids and electrolytes occurs through the small intestine, leaving approximately 1.5 L for the colon to absorb and leaving approximately 100 mL that is lost through the stools every day. The mechanisms responsible for the solute transport across the GI tract are secondary to several transport proteins located at the brush border membranes of the small and large intestine. The net fluid movement across the gastrointestinal epithelium is primarily the result of active transport of Na+, Cl−, and HCO3−, among others.  Physiology of Intestinal Absorption and Secretion – Pawel R. Kiela DVM PHD and Fayez K Ghshan MD 2016


The second factor includes agricultural practices that effect the soil and water that can lead to low mineral content in the very food they produce. “As examples, high yield farming techniques in the U.S. and other countries can deplete trace minerals and the soil in certain sub-Saharan regions are especially low in zinc.Franz Lederer, MD, MPH location and the source of the company and its farming practices are something to also consider. In my opinion, this is yet another reason to shoot for organic produce from your local farmers market.



Question #2 “What foods or supplements can I consume in order to be sure that I am getting what I need and how much?”



I will provide a link below for your convenience so you can take a quick peek at what is recommended. The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) and the AI (Adequate Intake) are the amounts of a vitamin or mineral you need to keep healthy and stay well-nourished. They're tailored to women, men, and specific age groupsand you can find a great reference to these Here provided by WebMD. Dosing that is referenced on trusted sites like these are great but the best thing to do in this situation is to head to your doctor and ask for proper testing. You might find that you may not need to supplement if you are relatively healthy. But if you are in intensive strength training or any other physically demanding sport it is worth the testing to find out whether supplementing minerals like magnesium would be ideal for your particular situation. LabCorp has more information on trace mineral deficiency and toxicity as well as how the process of testing begins with your doctor if you suspect symptoms. In regards to food, Harvard Health Publishing has a great list of food options that you should look into before seeking out supplementation. I always let my clients know it is best to seek out to fulfill the means of deficiencies through diet before utilizing supplements.



Calcium: yogurt, cheese, milk, salmon, leafy green vegetables

Chloride: salt

Magnesium: Spinach, broccoli, legumes, seeds, whole-wheat bread

Potassium: meat, milk, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes

Sodium: salt, soy sauce, vegetables

Chromium: meat, poultry, fish, nuts, cheese

Copper: shellfish, nuts, seeds, whole-grain products, beans, prunes

Fluoride: fish, teas

Iodine: Iodized salt, seafood

Iron: red meat, poultry, eggs, fruits, green vegetables, fortified bread

Manganese: nuts, legumes, whole grains, tea

Selenium: Organ meat, seafood, walnuts

Zinc: meat, shellfish, legumes, whole grains

Matthew Solan

Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch


Once you have undergone testing or have consulted a doctor,supplementing minerals are a wonderful alternative to restoring cellular and metabolic functions. Here are some amazing supplements that I have picked out for you to check out if you find that supplementing becomes necessary. 1) Trace Minerals  

2) Natural Vitality Plant Sourced Minerals 3) Coral Calcium 4) Thorne 5) Metagenix

Lastly, I want to conclude this mineral segment by adding that various and evolving studies has been recently published regarding minerals and their significant role with enzymes and how they affect detoxification pathways within cells. And so far, we have established the roles of minerals within the body and how they play a major role in the metabolic catabolism and anabolism and even assessed some common questions I get asked frequently. I will touch on and site exactly how this happens within the cell and why it is important to make sure there is proper cell methylation (chemical changes that occur within the cell that help convert toxic amino acids (Ex.homocysteine) into a beneficial amino acid (Ex.methionine). Below you will find why I referenced why food-based nutrients are important and why they should be considered first before supplementing. You will also find stats and data on the food that was tested through these clinical applications.


Food-based nutrients have been and continue to be investigated for their role in the modulation of metabolic pathways involved in detoxification processes. Several publications to date have leveraged cell, animal, and clinical studies to demonstrate that food-derived components and nutrients can modulate processes of conversion and eventual excretion of toxins from the body [1]. In general, the nature of these findings indicates that specific foods may upregulate or favorably balance metabolic pathways to assist with toxin biotransformation and subsequent elimination [2, 3]. Various whole foods such as cruciferous vegetables [2, 4, 5], berries [6], soy [7], garlic [8, 9], and even spices like turmeric [10, 11] have been suggested to be beneficial and commonly prescribed as part of naturopathic-oriented and functional medicine-based therapies [12, 13]. Modulation of Metabolic Detoxification Pathways Using Foods and Food-Derived Components: A Scientific Review with Clinical Application


While these foods are important to note, the science in this active area of inquiry continues to evolve to reveal new findings about food-based nutrients and their effect on health. Thus, the purpose of this review article is to summarize the science to date on the influence of whole foods, with a special focus directed towards phytonutrients and other food-based components, on influencing specific metabolic detoxification pathways, including phase I cytochrome enzymes, phase II conjugation enzymes, antioxidant support systems, and metallothionein upregulation for heavy metal metabolism. Based on this current science, the paper will conclude with clinical recommendations that may be applied in a personalized manner for patients via the discretion of a qualified health professional.


Cell Detoxification is crucial, especially to reduce and rid the body of toxic metals that (as I mentioned in my last article) eventuallymake their way into our fat cells. Once this occurs, removal of these heavy metals becomes much more difficult if not nearly impossible without proper chemical binding agents like Clinoptilolite Zeolite, which people like Dr. Pompa has now been advocating for years. Ill also leave a link to this fairly new recent discovery for you Here so you too can dive into it as well. Most likely I will also be creating an entire article devoted to cell detoxification in the coming weeks.Many thanks to the entire Enhvnce Labs Team and to you my readers for diving into these short knowledge endeavors with me in pursuit to finding more applications to our health for a more optimal and vibrant life!


Please feel free to contact me for any questions, products or services though IG:  @javier_a_venegas

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