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Trace minerals found in soil are important for plant growth. They are also essential for human health, although we get most of the trace minerals we need from the food we eat. We once thought our soils were depleted of nutrients but there are other factors involved that affect the health of our farmed food.
There are many different trace minerals, but some of the most important include iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and iodine. Trace minerals are present in very small amounts in the body, but they play a vital role in many biochemical processes.
For example, iron is necessary for the production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood. Zinc is involved in immune function and wound healing. Copper is needed for the formation of collagen and elastin, two proteins that give skin its elasticity. Manganese is required for proper bone development, and iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones.
Most people get enough trace minerals from their diet, but some groups of people are at risk for deficiencies. For example, people with digestive disorders or who have undergone gastric bypass surgery may not absorb trace minerals adequately from their food. Vegans and vegetarians may also be at risk for deficiencies since trace minerals are found primarily in animal-based foods.
If you think you may be deficient in trace minerals, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian. They can order blood tests to check your levels and make recommendations for supplementation if necessary. Trace mineral supplements are available in both oral and injectable forms.
Trace minerals are nutrients needed in small amounts, less than 100 mg, yet vital to our body. The problem is that our soils are so depleted, that our foods are missing key nutrients to make them complete. This, over time, creates major problems with our health.
Make sure you consume 'plant-based' trace minerals, not salts or metallic or rock-based minerals.