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List of Trace Minerals

By Robert DiPardo

According to "The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library," minerals are an important component of a healthful diet, and play a vital role in the proper functioning of the body. Trace minerals are those required in only small amounts each day. Once ingested, nearly all of the trace minerals become part of a hormone or enzyme that regulates one of the body's metabolic processes.


Iron is a trace mineral that is involved in growth, healing, immune system functioning, reproduction and DNA synthesis, explains the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In addition, iron is a component of the proteins hemoglobin and myoglobin which transport oxygen throughout the body. A person whose diet does not provide enough iron may suffer from anemia.

The recommended dietary allowance for iron is 8mg per day for adult males and 18mg per day for adult females. Some foods that contain iron include prunes, cashews, whole wheat bread, peanuts, eggs, beef, broccoli, raisins, light tuna, baked potato with skin and kidney beans. Individuals should not take an iron supplement without first checking with their doctor.


The recommended dietary allowance of the trace mineral zinc is 11mg per day for adult males and 8mg per day for adult females. Zinc occurs in all tissues of the body and is a critical component of over 200 enzymes and of many hormones. The body needs zinc to insure that wounds heal properly and for the role that it plays in taste, smell and vision. Dietary sources of zinc include fresh oysters, popcorn, cheddar cheese, whole wheat, rye, oats, peanuts, lima beans, almonds, eggs, dark meat chicken and turkey, white fish, red meats, pork and milk. People who eat a balanced diet featuring a variety of foods should get the zinc that they need. Zinc supplements should not be taken without the advice of a doctor or other health care provider.


According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, manganese is a trace mineral that occurs mainly in the bones, liver, kidneys and pancreas. It is involved in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption and bone formation, blood sugar regulation and brain and nerve function. The recommended dietary allowance of manganese is 2.3mg per day for adult males and 1.8mg per day for adult females. An individual's daily intake of manganese should not exceed 10mg because at this level, nervous system problems may arise. Dietary sources of manganese include nuts and seeds, wheat germ, whole grains and pineapples. It is also acceptable for an individual to get manganese as part of a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement, but it is not advisable to take a manganese-specific supplement without a doctor's supervision.

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