The intention of a trace mineral supplement is to introduce to the body, through your digestive system, a sufficient amount of trace minerals for good health. Whether or not these supplements are necessary for you simply depends on whether or not your body is lacking them.
What Are Trace Minerals?
You'd recognize some of their names, such copper, zinc and tin. But, you may not know that your body requires these minerals to maintain health. These minerals are also called "micro minerals," because the body requires only a small amount, no more than 11 mg a day, and in many cases, considerably less. Trace minerals are important for cell regulation, bone health, immunity, and countless other health-related functions.
Why Do Deficiencies Occur?
People eating food grown from first world countries seldom suffer from trace mineral deficiencies. Food grown in mineral-rich soil transfer the nutrients into your body. People who eat mainly processed foods, or poor quality vegetation grown in depleted soil, may suffer from a deficiency of these minerals. This can also be true of people with bleeding disorders, or people who take medications that drain minerals from them. As these minerals rely on each other to perform their nutritional functions, an imbalance can contribute to many health complications and a lack of good health in general.
Supplements and Nutrient Absorption
It is well established that trace minerals often act as coenzymes. This means they are catalysts, or triggers, for many of the processes in your body. One study sought to discover if this catalyst function suggested that a complete nourishment of trace minerals could help the human body absorb other nutrients and vitamins. In this study, participants showed an 86% increase in available nutrients in the blood after taking supplements. It is important to note that these supplements were personally designed for each participant's needs, not a homogenized over-the-counter pill. With these specified supplements, the study reported side effects to include more energy, increased cognition and general well being. However, the study has not been widely duplicated and therefore should not necessarily be taken as resolute fact.
High Doses Can Be Poisonous
As much as the body needs trace minerals, it only needs a very small amount. In most cases the amount is so small that a Recommended Daily Allowance cannot be established for the minerals. With this is mind, be wary of over-consuming trace minerals through supplements, and don't take supplements that offer singular trace minerals unless your doctor tells you to. It is important to speak to your doctor to find out if you are at risk for a trace element deficiency, before taking the supplements.
Trace elements are a small, but extremely important facets of well-being. If you already have a healthy level of trace elements in your body, taking a supplement will not improve your health. In fact, taking too much might provoke a dangerous outcome. Consult your doctor for testing to see if you are a candidate to take trace element supplements.