Trace elements in human nutrition and human health


Trace elements in human nutrition and health

Trace elements exist in the environment in small amounts but play an essential part in sustaining various physiological and metabolic processes occurring within living tissues, as enzymes structure and function, bone and blood maintenance, immune responses or transmission of nerve impulses. They must be obtained from diet, being a varied and balanced diet important for obtaining a series of elements necessary for our body. The total amount of a mineral in a food that is dependent on digestion, its release from the food matrix and the absorption rate by the intestinal cells.


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If minerals are not supplied in adequate quantities, signs and symptoms of trace elements deficiencies appear. Beyond the nutritional aspects, trace elements have applications in the pharmaceutical industry, integrating pharmacologically active compounds. Usually, in the form of metal complexes, these metal-based drugs are used as anticancer therapeutics, antiinflammatories, antidiabetic drugs or antimicrobial agents.

Cited by 11 Abstract Zinc is an essential element whose significance to health is increasingly appreciated. In essentiality of zinc for humans was recognized.

A systematic literature search was done to identify relevant studies investigating the role of zinc in human health. This review concerns the importance of zinc in health and the consequences of its deficiency. Zinc deficiency leads to complications of pregnancy and childbirth, low birth weight and poor growth in childhood, reduced immunocompetence, and increased infectious disease morbidity. Pregnant women with zinc deficiency are at risk of premature labour and miscarriages, inefficient labour and delivery, stillbirths, lower mental ability of the child, retarded foetal growth and low immunity of both mother and baby.

Trace Minerals (Chapter 13)

Zinc can reduce the duration, severity and incidence of diarrhea in children. Zinc deficiency was indicated as a risk factor for immune deficiency and susceptibility to infection in the elderly.

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Trace Elements in Human Nutrition

Zinc is used in preventive trials and treatment of diarrhea, pneumonia, common cold, respiratory infections and malaria. Sufficient zinc is essential in maintaining immune system function. Supplementation of zinc and with other micronutrients may be beneficial during periods of greatest vulnerability such as early childhood, pregnancy and elderly.

Trace elements in human nutrition and human health
Trace elements in human nutrition and human health
Trace elements in human nutrition and human health
Trace elements in human nutrition and human health
Trace elements in human nutrition and human health
Trace elements in human nutrition and human health
Trace elements in human nutrition and human health

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