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The Elements of the Body are divided into four Major Groups

  1. Group I- C, H, O, N. Components of macromolecules such as carbohydrates, lipids & proteins.
  2. Group II- Minerals with daily requirements >100mg. e.g., Na, K, Cl, Ca, P, Mg & S. also called macro elements.
  3. Group III- elements requirements <100mg/day e.g. Cr, Co, Cu, I, Fe, Mn, Mo, Se and Zn. These are known as microminerals.
  4. Group IV- these are additional trace elements which may be possible essential e.g.  Cd, Ni, Si, Sn, Vn
Industrial Mineral
  1. ChromiumEssential for normal carbohydrate lipid & nucleic acid metabolism. Trivalent chromium potentiates insulin action. It appears to be involved in structural integrity of nuclear stands & in regulation of gene expression.
  2. Copper: Integral part of certain enzymes eg. Cytochrome oxidase, the ferroxidase (Ceruloplasmin) super Oxide, dismutase, lysine oxidase, Dopamine β-hydroxylase, tyrosinase, uricase and catalase.
    Approximately 50% of dietary copper is absorbed & process facilitated by complexing of copper with amino acids. In Plasma, 95% of copper is bound to ceruloplasmin, an α2-globulin with Ferroxidase activity.

Clinical Significance

A marginal copper deficiency is associated with heart disease, bone & Joint osteoarthritis & osteoporosis
Anemia- Microcytic, hypochromic anemia, Neutropenia, hypothermia and demineralization has also been associated with copper deficiency
Inherited disorders- WILSON disease, Menkes’ disease
  1. Flourine
    The Fluoride anion may substitute hydroxyl ions in hydroxy apatite crystal structure in calcified tissues, bone and teeth so production of a harder crystal accounts for protective effect of fluoride against dental caries
    Toxicity- high mistake of fluoride causes dental fluorosis characterized by discolored and mottled teeth increased bone density and calcification of muscle insertion evident
  2. Zinc
    Zinc forms an integral part of several enzymes in body eg. Superoxide dismutase, carbonic anhydrase, Leucine- aminopeptidase’s A of pancreatic Juice. Other zinc containing enzymes are alcohol dehydrogenase (AIIMS Nov 09), Alkaline phosphatase, Glutamate dehydrogenase, Lactate dehydrogenase.
    It has role in metabolism,  insulin secretion,  growth & reproduction and wound healing.   
  3. Selenium
    Selenium is present predominantly as selenomethionine in plants and selenocysteine in animals.
    1. It is the prosthetic group of enzyme Glutathione peroxide
    2. Selenium has sparing effect on vitamin E.


Keshan disease manifesting principally as cardiomyopathy

  1. Molybdenum is a cofactor of metalloenzymes xanthine oxidase, and aldehyde oxidase thus plays a role in metabolism of purines to uric and & oxidation of aldehydes respectively.
Principal functions and deficiency manifestations of macrominerals and macrominerals
Element Metabolic function Deficiency manifestation
Sodium Principal extracellular cation, buffer constituent, water and acid base balance, cell membrane permeability Dehydration, acidosis, excess leads to edema and hypertension
Potassium Principal intracellular cation, buffer constituent, water and acid base balance, neuromuscular irritability Muscle weakness, paralysis and mental confusion, acidosis
Chloride Principal extracellular anion, electrolyte balance, osmotic balance, and acid base balance, gastric HCI formation Deficiency secondary to vomiting and diarrhea
Calcium Constituent of bone and teeth, blood clotting, regulation of nerve, muscle and hormone function Tetany, muscle cramps, convulsions, osteoporosis, rickets
Phosphorus Constituent of bone and teeth, nucleic acids, and NAD, FAD, ATP, etc. Required for energy metabolism Growth retardation, skeletal deformities, muscle weakness, cardiac arrhythmia
Magnesium Cofactor for phosphate transferring enzymes, constituent of bones and teeth, muscle contraction, nerve transmission Muscle spasms, tetany, confusions, seizures
Sulfur Constituent of proteins, bile acid, glycosaminoglycans, vitamins like thiamine, lipoic acid,
involved in detoxication reactions
Macrominerals or trace elements
Chromium Potentiate the effect of insulin Impaired glucose metabolism
Cobalt Constituent of vitamin B Macrocytic anemia
Copper Constituent of oxidase enzymes, e.g., tyrosinase, Lysyl oxidase , superoxide dismutase, cytochrome oxidase, ferroxidase and ceruloplasmin, involved in iron absorption and mobilization' Microcytic hyperchromic anemia, depigmentation of skin, hair, Excessive deposition in liver in Wilson's disease, Menkes disease ("Kinky" or "steely" hair disease) due to copper binding P-type ATPase gene mutation
Fluoride Constituent of bone and teeth, strengthens bone and teeth Dental caries
Iodine Constituent of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) Cretinism in children and goiter in adults
Iron Constituent of heme and non-heme compounds and transport, storage of 02, cytochrome oxidase,
xanthine oxidase, catalase, peroxidase
Microcytic anemia
Manganese Cofactor for number of enzymes, e.g., arginase, carboxylase, kinase, enolase, glucosyl transferase,
Not well defined
Molybdenum Constituent of xanthine oxidase, sulfite oxidase and aldehyde oxidase Xanthinuria
Selenium Antioxidant, cofactor for glutathione peroxidase,
protects cell against membrane lipid peroxidation
Zinc Cofactor for enzymes in DNA, RNA and protein synthesis, constituent of insulin, carbonic anhydrase,  carboxypeptidase, LDH , alcohol dehydrogenase, alkaline phosphatase, glutamate dehydrogenase, Porphobilinogen synthase, superoxide dismutase. Growth failure, impaired wound healing, defects in taste and smell, loss of appetite

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