Trace elements are essential substances for life that serve to carry out various metabolic processes and the proper functioning of the human body. These intervene in the respiratory, neurovegetative, muscular and digestive functions.

They are generally metals, and as they are essential for the proper functioning of the body, a daily supply of them in the diet is necessary, because the body does not produce trace elements naturally.

How are trace elements formed?

Trace elements are formed in the soil from animal and plant organisms. The plants are in charge of absorbing the different minerals dissolved in the soils, later they pass to the heteroscios, which are the organisms in charge of transforming the organic matter produced by other living beings, into the energy and nutrients used by our body to live. For this reason, the best source to acquire these components is through power.

What is the function of trace elements in the human body?

Trace elements are beneficial substances with healing properties found in most foods. In addition, they are essential to achieve many processes in the body and help to restore and revitalize some parts of our body.

Among the most important functions that trace elements fulfill we find:

  • Regulate physiological responses.
  • Stimulate or inhibit hormonal function.
  • They control the deposition of waste.
  • They moderate the speed and quality of nerve transmission.
  • They act as biocatalysts that allow the chemical transformations of large amounts of substrates.

The ideal is to receive the trace elements through our diet, making a balanced diet that allows us to obtain the necessary nutrients for the body to comply with its daily work rhythm.

Trace Elements Characteristics

Among the most outstanding characteristics of trace elements, we can mention the following:

  • They are chemical elements that help strengthen the immune system , being essential for the proper functioning of cells. A strong immune system is better able to protect itself when it comes to illness.
  • They are taken from the environment, due to the inability of their production in the body .
  • They have a great biological importance, since they are in charge of carrying out the vital cycles in the body , despite being present in very small quantities.
  • They have specific functions , which means that one element cannot be substituted for another. In addition to having very broad functions, still unknown to science.
  • They can be found in many types of food .

Trace elements are, therefore, factors that, despite their reduced amount in the body, are directly related to almost all vital functions. The absence of them is incompatible with life, and the alteration or lack of them is related to different health disorders.

Classification of Trace Elements

The classification of the elements is divided into three different groups, which are:

Important trace elements.

Among them we find cobalt , molybdenum, chromium , fluorine , sulfur , manganese , copper and selenium.

Essential trace elements.

They are magnesium, iron, iodine, and zinc.

Trace elements under study. 

In this category we find silicon , vanadium , tin and nickel.

Toxic trace elements.

These are very dangerous to the body if ingested in excessive amounts. They are aluminum, mercury, and lead.

Environmental pollutant trace elements.

In this category we can find aluminum, lithium, boron, arsenic, mercury and cadmium.

Vital minerals and electrolytes.

These trace elements are vital for the body to fulfill its functions. Among these we can name calcium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium.

Trace elements for weight loss

Trace elements have been identified as important allies in weight loss regimens, thanks to the fact that they intervene in various processes related to the absorption of sugars and the combustion of fats. These elements are the following:

  1. Iodine
  2. Football
  3. Potassium
  4. Zinc
  5. Chrome

These trace elements are effective in weight loss, only if they are complemented with an active life full of physical activity and a reduced daily consumption of calories, paying special attention to the quality of the food eaten, avoiding in the same way the so-called “magic diets ”Or following very strict regimens, as they could trigger major organic problems.

Some recommendations to lose weight with trace elements are:

  • The consumption of water or drinks high in Potassium and Magnesium, help to avoid fluid retention and protect us from fatigue, especially to all those who perform intense physical activities.
  • Chromium helps in regulating blood glucose levels and insulin secretion, so it also has an influence on reducing uncontrolled intake of sweets, like other foods with high levels of sugar.
  • Calcium is a very important element, since in the weight loss process the body must stop the decalcification of the bones and the correct daily intake of dairy products is ideal and essential.

Trace elements for the skin

Trace elements are very useful to give optimal health to our skin. These are essential for the vitamins contained in it to work effectively to keep cells healthy.

The lack of these elements and minerals can cause skin problems, as in the case of Zinc, the lack of this element can cause skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema.

Skin cells can suffer from lack of energy and fatigue due to mineral deficiencies.

Trace elements are vital factors in achieving brighter, fresher, and generally healthier skin. These elements, applied directly to the skin through natural and ecological cosmetics, provide added value that helps to rejuvenate the skin and serve as an effective treatment for multiple dermal problems.

Main trace elements in food

Below are the most important trace elements, their functions and how they are present in food:


This represents the most abundant mineral in the human body, playing an important structural function in our body, as it is part of the teeth and bones. It regulates blood clotting and helps balance the nervous system.

Calcium is present in the following foods:

  • Walnuts.
  • Peanuts
  • Legumes.
  • Green leafy vegetables.
  • Water for consumption.


It is an extremely important trace element to combat conditions such as migraines, allergies, chronic fatigue, osteoarthritis and anemia . Cobalt can be found in the following foods:

  • Began.
  • Cereals.
  • Beer yeast.


This is an essential element in the formation of organs and prevention of respiratory diseases , as well as helping to combat rheumatism. This is involved in the formation of antibodies and has antioxidant characteristics.

Copper can be found in the following foods:

  • Chocolates.
  • Wheat flakes and germ.
  • Beer yeast.


This trace mineral stimulates the immune system and possesses powerful anticancer characteristics . It also works as a protector of the heart, along with vitamins B, B1 and C.

Selenium can be found in the following foods:

  • Integral rice.
  • Barley.
  • Oatmeal.


It fights osteoporosis, nail weakness, cavities and hair loss , since this element participates in the formation of bones and tooth enamel.

Fluoride is present in the following foods:

  • Whole grains.
  • Onion.
  • She.
  • Col.
  • Apricot.
  • Potatoes.


It is responsible for regulating intestinal transit , in addition to playing an important role in wound healing and the generation of collagen and elastin.

Zinc is present in the following foods:

  • Cacao.
  • Watermelon and pumpkin seeds.
  • Roasted wheat germ.


It is essential for people who suffer from fatigue or stress. Some of its main tasks are the formation of teeth and bones, as well as the assimilation of proteins.

Phosphorus is found in the following foods:

  • Nuts.
  • Whole grains.


It fulfills an important antioxidant function , which is why it is very useful in allergies, infections, and joint pain. It is also useful to avoid weight loss and dermatitis.

Manganese is found in the following foods:

  • Spinach.
  • Wheat bran.
  • Ginger.
  • Cardamom.
  • Clove.
  • Has.


The intake of this element helps prevent rheumatism , hypothyroidism, high blood pressure, muscle weakness and anxiety states . It prevents obesity by stimulating fat metabolism, in addition to participating in the process of obtaining energy, brain development and as a circulatory tonic.

Iodine is present in the following foods:

  • Iodized salt.
  • Alga wakame.
  • Alga hijiki.
  • Alga kombu.


It is a very important element in case of allergies and cardiovascular disorders , as well as treatment of autoimmune diseases.

Potassium is found in the following foods:

  • Bananas
  • Lemon.
  • Kiwi.
  • Cantaloupe.
  • Orange.
  • Walnuts.
  • Potatoes.
  • Broccoli.
  • Legumes.
  • Whole grains.
  • Bean sprouts.
  • Plums and apricots.
  • Tomatoes.


This element participates in the process of formation of neurotransmitters and hemoglobin . In the same way, it is essential for the correct activity of the vitamins belonging to group B and for obtaining energy from carbohydrates.

Iron is present in the following foods:

  • What’s good.
  • Soy.
  • Beer yeast.
  • Germinated alfalfa.
  • Seaweed.
  • Sesame seeds.


This is responsible for regulating the nervous system, balancing manic-depressive states, anguish, anxiety , among others.

Lithium is found in the following foods:

  • Romero.
  • Lavender.
  • Thyme.
  • Whole and sprouted cereals.
  • Clays
  • Seawater.
  • Mineral water.

What is oligotherapy?

The oligotherapy is a long – term treatment that implements, as its name suggests, the various trace elements.

The trace elements in this therapy can be presented in two different ways: drops and granules. These should be taken only sublingually for a period of 2 minutes, so that they pass directly into the blood, since if ingested, the gastric juices could destroy them.

Conclusion on the use of trace elements

Trace elements are substances that serve to effectively carry out many processes in the human body, both the absence and excess of these elements can be detrimental to your well-being. Each of the more than 70 essential types of trace elements has specific functions, so that our system works in optimal conditions.

Samantha Robson
 | Website

Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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