Topic 5 Trace elements

  • Minor minerals include iron, copper, zinc, selenium, iodine, chromium, manganese, molybdenum and fluoride.
  • Iodine is found in seafood and some dairy products, eggs and meat.
    • Iodine is important, especially during childhood and pregnancy, because deficiency can impair child development and lead to miscarriages, stillbirth, and cognitive impairments. Iodine also regulates thyroid function.
    • Most people consume adequate amounts of iodine since it is added in most table salt products.
  • Fluoride is highly important to dental health.         
    • In most countries, fluoride is added to the main water supply.
    • Therefore, you should not filter water to eliminate fluoride


  • Iron aids in transferring oxygen to our cells.
  • Iron deficiency, called anemia, is very common.
    • Anemia may also result from a Vitamin B12 deficiency
    • 2 in 5 children <5 years and 2 in 5 pregnant women suffer from anemia. It is more common among women than men.
    • Anemia can lead to long-term weakness and exhaustion. Symptoms include shortness of breath, dizziness, fast or irregular heartbeat, pounding or “whooshing” in your ears, headache, cold hands or feet, pale or yellow skin and chest pain.

How to combat anemia?

  • A diet rich in iron decreases anemia risk.
  • Iron can be found in large quantities in red meat as well as in cereals, grains, green leafy vegetables and even legumes.
  • Heme Iron v Non-heme Iron

Heme iron is absorbed in large quantities in our gut.

      • Red meat and animal liver are especially high in heme iron

Non-heme iron is found in plant-based food items and is absorbed to a lesser extent.

      • Some substances naturally present in grains (phytates and tannins) and calcium can limit the absorption of non-heme iron.
      • Non-heme iron is found in beans, lentils, spinach, nuts, fortified cereals and even enriched rice.
      • Iron absorption can be increased by vitamin C intake.