What are the benefits?

Boron is needed in trace amounts to help the body use calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. It is therefore important to help maintain strong bones and teeth. Boron may also help maintain brain function and mental alertness.

What are the natural food sources?

Fruit, vegetables and nuts are the richest sources of boron. Other food sources include apples, peaches, apricots, carrots, leafy vegetables, peas, nuts, grapes, plums, grains, avocado, red kidney beans, chickpeas, and peanut butter.

How much do you need?

The recommended daily allowance for boron is not defined, but most adults consume around 2 mg per day.

Are you likely to be deficient?

Boron deficiency is unknown, but people who eat very few fruits and vegetables are likely to consume less than optimal amounts of boron. Boron deficiency accentuates vitamin D deficiency and seems to affect calcium and magnesium metabolism, along with the composition, structure and strength of bone. Due to its effects on calcium and magnesium metabolism, boron deficiency may also contribute to the formation of kidney stones. A lack of boron appears to decrease mental alertness.

Are you taking too much?

Toxic effects of boron are visible at intakes of about 100 mg daily.

Are there any interactions?

None known.

What are the benefits?

Calcium is vital for the maintenance of strong bones. It is also important for strong teeth since the part of the tooth underneath the outer enamel has a structure very similar to that of bone. Calcium plays a role in the maintenance of healthy muscles and nerves because it is present in a dissolved form in a wide range of body cells, particularly these tissues. It is important in muscular growth and contraction and the transmission of nerve impulses. Calcium participates in the protein structuring of RNA and DNA, which contain genetic instructions for the reproduction and growth of all cells. It helps to maintain normal cell membrane permeability, and inhibits the absorption of toxic lead.

What are the natural food sources

The best natural sources of calcium are dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese, but calcium can also be found in green leafy vegetables, sardines, tofu, baked beans and seafood.

How much do you need?

The recommended daily allowance for calcium is 800 mg per day, but a long-term intake of up to 1500 mg daily is not considered harmful. A good guide is to assume an intake of 300 mg from your general diet, plus 300 mg for each cup of dairy products or one and a half ounce slice of cheese you eat.

Are you likely to be deficient?

Vegans, people watching their weight, or those who do not eat dairy products may not be getting enough calcium from their diet. Calcium deficiency may be associated with aching joints, brittle nails, eczema, elevated blood cholesterol, heart palpitations, hypertension, insomnia, muscle cramps, nervousness, rheumatoid arthritis, rickets, tooth decay. Calcium deficiency is also associated with the symptoms such as convulsions, depression, delusions and hyperactivity.

Are there any interactions?

Persons suffering from kidney stones or kidney diseases should not take calcium supplements. Alcohol may increase your requirement for calcium and some antacids (for indigestion and stomach ulcers) and laxatives can reduce the amount of calcium your body absorbs. Calcium may interfere with the absorption of iron and other trace minerals in the diet.

What are the benefits?

Chromium is involved in the processes that make glucose available for energy. It helps regulate blood sugar levels by helping to maintain normal utilisation of insulin. Chromium is involved in the metabolism of proteins and fats, and may play a role in maintaining healthy levels of HDL (the ‘good’ cholesterol).

What are the natural food sources?

The best sources of chromium tend to be unrefined foods since chromium can be removed by the refining process. Good sources of chromium include beer, dairy products, whole grains, meat, apples, corn, dried beans, potatoes, spinach, nuts and brewers yeast.

How much do you need?

The recommended daily allowance for chromium is not defined, but most adults consume between 13 and 48 mcg per day. A long-term intake of upto 200 mcg daily is not considered harmful.

Are you likely to be deficient?

Chromium deficiency may lead to anxiety, fatigue, glucose intolerance and inadequate metabolism of amino acids.

Are there any interactions?

People with diabetes should only take chromium supplements under the advice of their physician. Chromium supplements are not suitable for pregnant or breast-feeding women, or for people with epilepsy. Some chromium supplements contain yeast, which can interfere with certain prescription medicines.

What are the benefits?

Copper is an essential part of a wide range of proteins and enzymes made in the body. One of these proteins is collagen, the substance, which helps keep skin supple and flexible and forms part of bones and connective tissue. Collagen is involved in the healing process and is necessary for healthy skin and bones. Copper also works in balance with zinc and vitamin C to form elastin, the substance which gives skin its ability to stretch, and aids in the formation of haemoglobin for red blood cells. It is involved in the production of energy and the maintenance of healthy nerves.

What are the natural food sources?

Copper is found in a wide range of animal and plant products including liver, nuts, avocados, beans, beets, cereals, garlic, lentils, mushrooms, potatoes, fish, soybeans and green leafy vegetables.

How much do you need?

The recommended daily allowance for copper is not defined, but most adults consume between 1.3 and 1.8 mg per day. A long-term intake of upto 5 mg daily is not considered harmful.

Are you likely to be deficient?

Symptoms of deficiency include anaemia, hair loss, diarrhoea, general weakness, impaired respiratory function, skin sores, skeletal fragility and defects in cardiovascular function.

Are you taking too much?

High intakes of CU are toxic. Excessive copper intake could lead to depression, irritability, nausea, vomiting, nervousness and joint and muscle pain.

Are there any interactions?

People with Wilson’s disease should not take copper supplements beacuse excessive intake of copper could cause levels of vitamin C and Zinc to drop. Certain prescription medicines may be affected by copper.

What are the benefits?

Iodine is needed to form two thyroid hormones, which help regulate the metabolic rate. This is the rate at which our bodies break down and convert food from the diet into energy for the body. Iodine is also important for normal physical and mental development.

What are the natural food sources?

Iodine is naturally present in seawater so saltwater fish and shellfish are generally good sources of Iodine. Other foods containing Iodine include iodised salt, sea salt, kelp, asparagus, garlic, mushrooms, sesame seeds, soybeans, turnip greens and milk(in the U.K).

How much do you need?

The recommended daily allowance for iodine is 150mcg daily.

Are you liklely to be deficient?

Only small amounts of iodine are needed by the body. Iodine deficiency has been associated with fatigue, goiter and weight gain. Intakes of less than 70 mcg per day may induce deficiency.

Are you taking too much?

Excessive intake of iodine may cause a metallic taste and sores in the mouth, swollen salivary glands, diarrhoea and vomiting.

Are there any interactions?

Iodine should not be used if you have certain medical conditions, and some prescription medicines may be affected by iodine.

What are the benefits?

Iron is the most abundant mineral in the blood, necessary for the production of haemoglobin and myoglobin in red blood cells. Haemoglobin is the substance that transports oxygen around the body. Myoglobin is similar to haemoglobin but has a greater tendancy to combine with oxygen. Iron is necessary to help maintain a healthy immune system and for the production of energy. Without enough iron, ATP (the fuel which keeps the body going) cannot be properly synthesized.

What are the natural food sources?

Meat and animal products tend to contain the haem form of iron, which is more readily absorbed by the body. Plants usually contain the non-haem form of iron, which is more difficult to absorb, although vegetarians become more efficient at absorbing this type of iron with time. Iron can be found in foods such as fish, liver, meat, poultry, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, eggs and baked beans.

How much do you need?

The recommended daily allowance for iron is 14 mg per day.

Are you likely to be deficient?

Many women have low iron stores. Symptoms of iron deficiency include anemia, brittle hair, difficulty swallowing, digestive disturbances, dizziness, fatigue, fragile bones, hair loss, inflammation of the tissues of the mouth, spoon shaped nails or nails having ridges running lengthwise, nervousness, obesity, pallor, slowed mental reactions, adverse effects on work capacity, intellectual performance and behaviour.

Are you taking too much?

Excess iron in the tissues may lead to the production of free radicals and increase the need for Vitamin E. Excess iron in young children can lead to iron poisoning.

Are there any interactions?

Supplemental doses of iron may cause constipation. Iron supplements should not be used if you have certain medical conditions and some prescription medicines may be affected by iron.

What are the benefits?

Magnesium is essential to over 300 enzymes in the body, and is especially important to those involved in energy production. It helps to maintain strong, healthy bones by assisting with the uptake of calcium and potassium, and plays a direct role in bone mineralisation. Magnesium is vital for the transmission of nerve signals to muscles, and the reception of those signals by the muscles.

What are the natural food sources?

Magnesium is found in most foods, including dairy products, fish, meat, seafood, green leafy vegetables, bananas, broccoli, eggs, nuts, potatoes, whole grains, apples, brown rice, soybeans and tofu.

How much do you need?

The recommended daily allowance for magnesium is 300 mg per day.

Are you likely to be deficient?

Taking too many laxatives can lead to magnesium deficiency. Alcoholism, stress, severe burns, diabetes and heart failure are other potential causes. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include fatigue, abnormal heart rhythms, muscle weakness and spasm, depression, loss of appetite and listleness.

Are you taking too much?

Taking too much magnesium often leads to diarrhoea.High intakes are normally not harmful to humans with normal renal function.

Are there any interactions?

Consumption of large amounts of fats, cod liver oil, calcium, vitamin D and proteins decrease magnesium absorption. Fat-soluble vitamins and foods high in fibre also hinder the absorption of magnesium. Alcohol, diuretics, diarrhoea, the presence of fluoride and high levels of zinc and vitamin D increase the body’s need for magnesium.

What are the benefits?

Manganese is needed for the formation of certain enzymes and to activate other enzymes in the body. It is used in energy production and is required for the normal synthesis and development of bone. Manganese also plays a role in regulating blood sugar and maintaining healthy nerves and a strong immune system. It is important to the immune system because it forms part of a powerful antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase that helps to neutralise potentially damaging free radicals in the body. Free radicals are the by-products of chemical reactions that take place in the body. They cause damage by interacting with cell membranes, proteins and DNA.

What are the natural food sources?

Nuts, pulses and fruits are the richest sources of manganese. Other sources include whole grains, green leafy vegetables, avocados, seaweed and pineapple.

How much do you need?

The recommended daily allowance for manganese is not defined, but most adults consume around 5 mg per day. A long-term daily intake of upto 20 mg is not considered harmful. Manganese is not strictly an ‘essential’ nutrient since the body may substitute other minerals if it is not present in the diet.

Are you likely to be deficient?

A deficiency of manganese may lead to confusion, tremors, eye problems, hearing problems, high cholesterol levels, hypertension, irritability, memory loss, muscle contractions, profuse perspiration or rapid pulse.

Are you taking too much?

Excessive intake of manganese can lead to he rare side effects of dementia and psychiatric symptoms. Manganese is one of the least toxic of all elements.

Are there any interactions?

Several minerals, such as calcium, iron and possibly zinc reduce the absorption of manganese.

What are the benefits?

Molybdenum is required in extremely small amounts for the proper function of certain enzyme-dependent processes, including the metabolism of iron. It helps maintain normal cell function and is a component of an enzyme used in the breakdown of waste products for excretion in the urine.

What are the natural food sources?

Foods containing molybdenum include milk, dairy products, beans, cereal grains, legumes, peas and dark leafy vegetables.

How much do you need?

The recommended daily allowance of molybdenum is not defined, but most adults consume between 120 and 140 mcg per day.

Are you likely to be deficient?

Deficiency of molybdenum may lead to impotence in older males, or mouth and gum disorders.

Are you taking too much?

Very high doses may lead to the development of gout and impaired copper bio availability.

Are there any interactions?

Heat and moisture effect the action of supplemental molybdenum. High doses of sulphur may decrease molybdenum levels.

What are the benefits?

Selenium is needed for the formation of certain enzymes including glutathione peroxidase, an important antioxidant enzyme that helps to neutralise potentially damaging free radicals in the body. Free radicals are by-products of chemical reactions that take place in the body. They cause damage by interacting with cell membranes, proteins and DNA. Selenium is also needed for the normal functioning of the thyroid hormones, and may play an important role in men’s reproductive health.

What are the natural food sources?

Good sources of selenium include bread, Brazil nuts, fish and liver. Other sources include brown rice, chicken, dairy products, onions and vegetables. The selenium content of vegetables may be affected by the selenium content of the soil in which they were grown.

How much do you need?

The recommended daily allowance for selenium is not defined, but most adults consume between 25 and 130 mcg per day. A long-term intake of upto 200 mcg daily is not considered harmful.

Are you likely to be deficient?

Symptoms of selenium deficiency include exhaustion, growth impairment, high cholesterol levels, infections and sterility.

Are you taking too much?

Taking too much selenium may cause arthritis, brittle nails, garlicky breath odour, gastrointestinal disorders, hair loss, irritability, liver and kidney impairment, a metallic taste in the mouth, pallor, skin rash and changes in the nervous system.

Are there any interactions?

There are no well-known interactions with selenium.

What are the benefits?

Silicon is essential for the formation of collagen for bones and connective tissue, for healthy nails, skin and hair, and for calcium absorption in the early stages of bone formation. It may also help maintain the health of the arteries and a strong immune system.

What are the natural food sources?

Natural sources include hard water, whole grains, beets, brown rice, bell peppers, soybeans and leafy green vegetables.

How much do you need?

The recommended daily allowance for silicon is not defined, but most adults consume around 30 mg per day.

Are you likely to be deficient?

Silicon is not an essential mineral. Deficiencies have not been reported.

Are you taking too much?

A high dietary intake of silicon is not associated with any toxic effects.

Are there any interactions?

There are no well-known interactions with silicon.

What are the benefits?

Zinc is an important part of over 100 enzymes necessary for tissue growth, reproduction, the immune system and many other functions. It is particularly important to cell replication and DNA synthesis, with a key role in early pregnancy when a baby is developing rapidly. It is vital for healthy skin, hair and nails, since these cells are continually being replaced and renewed, and for a strong immune system since immune cells multiply when fighting infection. Zinc is also essential to a powerful antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase that helps to neutralise potentially damaging free radicals in the body. Free radicals are by-products of chemical reactions that take place in the body. They cause damage by interacting with cell membranes, proteins and cell DNA. Zinc is important to the normal functioning of the male prostrate gland, the growth of the reproductive organs, the healing of wounds, and is vital for bone formation.

What are the natural food sources?

Most foods contain zinc, but good sources include eggs, fish, legumes, meats, poultry, cheese, milk, whole grains, and mushrooms.

How much do you need?

The recommended daily allowance for zinc is15 mg per day, but a long-term intake of up to 30 mg per day is not considered harmful.

Are you likely to be deficient?

Zinc deficiency may lead to loss of sense of taste or smell and can cause fingernails to become thin, peel and develop white spots. Other symptoms of zinc deficiency include acne, delayed sexual maturation, fatigue, growth impairment, hair loss, high cholesterol levels, impaired night vision, increased susceptibility to infection, infertility, memory impairment, prostate trouble, recurrent colds and flu, skin lesions and slow wound healing.

Are you taking too much?

Zinc intake in excess of 300 mg per day may impair immune function.

Are there any interactions?

Some prescription medicines may be affected by zinc.