The microminerals are a selection of 17 nutrients that your body needs in relatively small amounts (generally less than 100 milligrams (mg) per day). Getting the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of each one has countless benefits and supports all round good health. Unfortunately failing to meet these RDAs can have the opposite effect and negatively affect your health. In this article I will be discussing 25 of the negative symptoms of micromineral deficiency and also discussing how you can avoid them.
1) BLOOD PROBLEMS:- Being deficient in certain microminerals can cause a variety of blood related problems. Not getting enough cobalt can lead to menstrual problems in women and also cause pernicious anemia (a condition where your body produces fewer, larger red blood cells). Failing to get enough copper, iron and molybdenum can lead to various types of anemia (a low red blood cell count) including hypochromic anemia (a condition where the red blood cells become paler than normal) and microcytic anemia (a condition where the red blood cells become smaller than normal). On top of this not getting enough chromium, manganese and vanadium can lead to high blood glucose levels, high blood pressure and hyperinsulinemia (high blood levels of insulin).
2) BONE PROBLEMS:- Many microminerals are essential for bone development and so failing to consume enough can have an adverse effect in this area. Being deficient in arsenic can cause a variety of skeletal disorders whilst being deficient in boron, copper and germanium can cause osteoporosis (reduced bone mineral density). On top of this boron deficiency can reduce the strength of your bones whilst manganese deficiency can lead to bone loss. Being deficient in selenium can also lead to Kashin-Beck disease (a bone and joint disorder caused by selenium deficiency) whilst silicon deficiency can lead to poor bone development.
3) BREATHING PROBLEMS:- Not getting enough copper can cause breathing difficulties. On top of this failing to consume enough tin can cause asthma (a respiratory disorder which makes breathing difficult).
4) DANGEROUS BLOOD CHOLESTEROL LEVELS:- A lot of micromineral deficiencies adversely affect your blood cholesterol levels. There are two main types of cholesterol; low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL cholesterol is thought to cause heart disease, high blood pressure and organ damage. HDL cholesterol collects LDL cholesterol from the blood and transports it to the liver where it is processed and excreted. Not eating enough copper, chromium, germanium and vanadium raises blood levels of the damaging LDL cholesterol whilst reducing blood levels of the healing HDL cholesterol.
5) DENTAL PROBLEMS:- Not getting enough boron and molybdenum can be bad new news for your teeth. Consuming low levels of boron can cause tooth decay whilst consuming low levels of molybdenum can lead to dental cavities (holes in the teeth caused by damage to the hard tooth structure).
6) DIABETES RELATED PROBLEMS:- Diabetes is a health condition that develops when your body stops producing or stops responding to insulin (a hormone which allows your body’s cells to take glucose from the blood) which ultimately leads to extremely high blood glucose levels. Being deficient in certain microminerals can cause serious problems for people suffering from diabetes. Chromium deficiency can lead to insulin resistance (a condition where your body’s cells become less receptive to insulin – a hormone that helps manage blood glucose levels) whilst vanadium deficiency can aggravate the condition.
7) DIZZINESS:- Failing to eat enough iron, manganese and molybdenum can lead to dizziness. Whilst dizziness is not a serious risk to your health it can make it difficult to perform almost any physical activity and concentrate on day to day tasks.
8) FATIGUE:- Consuming low levels of cobalt, iodine and iron can make you feel fatigued even when you are getting a good amount of sleep. This can have a negative effect on your performance throughout the day.
9) GROWTH PROBLEMS:- Certain microminerals are essential for proper growth and being deficient in these can lead to a number of growth problems. Being deficient in arsenic can cause abnormal growth whilst being deficient in iodine and zinc can impair growth in young children.
10) HAIR PROBLEMS:- Not getting enough iron, manganese, silicon, tin and zinc can lead to a variety of hair related problems. Consuming low levels of iron, tin and zinc can cause hair loss whilst consuming low levels of silicon can lead to thinning hair. On top of this consuming low levels of manganese can cause your hair to lose its colour.
11) HEADACHES:- Being deficient in iron, molybdenum and tin can cause you to have headaches. Whilst headaches do not seriously damage your health they are unpleasant and can make it difficult to concentrate.
12) HEART PROBLEMS:- Many of the microminerals support the heart and failing to consume enough of these can have a negative impact on this vital organ. Not getting enough arsenic can lead to heart muscle disorders whilst not getting enough cobalt, germanium and vanadium increases your heart disease risk. On top of this not getting enough iodine and molybdenum can cause rapid heartbeats whilst not getting enough selenium can lead to the heart disorder – keshan disease. Failing to get enough chromium can also raise triglyceride levels whilst failing to get enough tin can cause left sided heart problems.
13) HORMONE PROBLEMS:- Consuming low levels of boron and tin can interfere with the hormones in your body. Boron deficiency can lead to hormone imbalances whilst tin deficiency can cause low adrenals (a condition where the adrenal gland fails to produce adequate hormones).
14) INCREASED CANCER RISK:- Cancer is a disease that develops when the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in your body’s cells becomes damaged or disrupted and causes rapid, uncontrollable cellular growth. Germanium, selenium and vanadium all have cancer fighting properties. Failing to get enough of any one of these important nutrients can increase your cancer risk.
15) JOINT PROBLEMS:- Not getting enough boron, copper, lithium or selenium can take its toll on your joints. Boron deficiency and selenium deficiency can both lead to the development of arthritis (inflammation of the joints) whilst copper deficiency and lithium deficiency can cause joint paint and other joint problems.
16) MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS:- Many of the microminerals support your brain and optimal mental function. Being deficient in any of these important nutrients can have a negative impact on your mental health. Not eating enough boron, cobalt, depression, iodine, iron, lithium, tin and zinc can lead to depression, dementia, mental retardation in infants, reduced concentration levels and mania (elevated mood at all times). On top of this not eating enough copper and molybdenum can cause brain disturbances whilst not eating enough selenium can lead to myxedematous endemic cretinism (a disease that causes mental retardation).
17) NERVOUS SYSTEM PROBLEMS:- Certain micromineral deficiencies can have an adverse effect on your nervous system. Being deficient in cobalt can cause nerve damage whilst being deficient in lithium can lead to other nervous system disorders.
18) NUTRIENT DEFICIENCY:- Many of the microminerals work in conjunction with other nutrients so having low levels in your body can lead to nutrient deficiencies. If your body is low on boron it will struggle to absorb and retain calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin D whilst if it is low on copper it will struggle to absorb iron.
19) POOR APPETITE:- Not getting enough iodine or zinc can have an adverse effect on your appetite. Over a long period a poor appetite can be very damaging as you will not be getting adequate calories and nutrients from your diet.
20) SKIN PROBLEMS:- Failing to get adequate levels of certain microminerals can lead to numerous skin problems. Not getting enough copper can cause skin sores whilst not getting enough manganese can cause skin rashes. On top of this not getting enough selenium can cause skin inflammation whilst not getting enough silicon can cause ageing, wrinkled skin.
21) THYROID PROBLEMS:- The thyroid gland is essential for the production of thyroid hormones which act as chemical messengers throughout the body. Iodine supports good thyroid health and failing to get enough can have a number of adverse effects on the thyroid gland. Some of the main symptoms of iodine deficiency include goiter (a condition which causes enlargement of the thyroid gland), hyperthyroidism (a condition where your body over produces thyroid hormones) and hypothyroidism (a condition where your body does not produce enough thyroid hormones).
22) VISION PROBLEMS:- Consuming low levels of manganese and molybdenum can interfere with your vision. Not eating enough manganese can cause blindness whilst not eating enough molybdenum cause night blindness (a condition where it is difficult or impossible to see in low light).
23) VOMITING:- Being deficient in manganese and molybdenum can lead to vomiting. In the short term vomiting is unpleasant but not damaging to your health. However, in the long term vomiting can cause vitamins and minerals to be removed from your stomach leading to dangerous deficiencies.
24) WEAKNESS:- Not getting enough cobalt, copper, iodine or iron can lead to weakness. This impairs your ability to perform physical activities and day to day tasks.
25) WEAK IMMUNE SYSTEM:- Failing to get enough copper, germanium, iron, selenium and zinc can weaken your immune system. This increases your risk of infection and can potentially cause very serious damage to your body and its vital organs.
HOW CAN I AVOID MICROMINERAL DEFICIENCY?
Micromineral deficiencies can be caused by either failing to consume enough as part of your diet or underlying health conditions that interfere with the microminerals. To avoid micromineral deficiency you should make sure that you consume the RDA for each one and also be aware of any other health conditions that may cause you to become deficient. Below I have listed the RDA for each micromineral and any health conditions that could lead to micromineral deficiency.
– Arsenic:- No RDA but research suggests a daily consumption of between 0.0125mg and 0.025mg is adequate. Arsenic deficiency is very rare and is normally the result of low dietary consumption.
– Boron:- No RDA but research suggests a daily consumption of 1mg per day is adequate. Boron deficiency is very rare and is normally the result of low dietary consumption.
– Cobalt:- No RDA but research suggests a daily consumption of 0.0015mg of vitamin B12 per day will provide your body with adequate amounts. Vegetarians who do not eat green leafy vegetables and people with stomach problems have a higher risk of cobalt deficiency.
– Copper:- RDA of 0.9mg for adults. Copper deficiency is normally the result of low dietary consumption but gastric bypass surgery and excess zinc consumption can also lead to low levels of copper in the body.
– Chromium:- RDA of 0.035mg per day for male adults and 0.025mg per day for female adults. Chromium deficiency is very rare and is normally the result of low dietary consumption.
– Germanium:- No RDA but research suggests a daily consumption of 1mg per day is adequate. Germanium deficiency is very rare and is normally the result of low dietary consumption.
– Iodine:- RDA of 0.15mg for adults. Iodine deficiency is very rare and is normally the result of low dietary consumption in countries where the salt is not iodised.
– Iron:- RDA of 8mg for male adults and 18mg for female adults. Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world and can be caused by consuming high levels of certain foods, donating blood regularly, excessive menstrual bleeding, infection, medical conditions which cause internal bleeding, being deficient in certain nutrients (copper, vitamin A and vitamin C) and low dietary consumption.
– Lithium:- No RDA but research suggests a daily consumption of between 2mg and 3mg is adequate. Lithium deficiency is very rare and is normally the result of low dietary consumption.
– Manganese:- RDA of 1.9mg for male adults and 1.6mg for female adults. Manganese deficiency is very rare and is normally the result of extremely low dietary consumption. Even in these instances the body can normally use magnesium as a substitute.
– Molybdenum:- RDA of 0.045mg for adults. Molybdenum deficiency is very rare and has only been observed in people who are fed intravenously or who have the rare genetic disorder molybdenum co-factor deficiency (which stops the body from properly absorbing this nutrient).
– Nickel:- No RDA but research suggests a daily consumption of 0.1mg is adequate. Currently there are no reported nickel deficiency symptoms.
– Selenium:- RDA of 0.055mg for adults. Selenium deficiency is very rare. Dietary deficiencies have only been observed in countries such as China where soil concentrations of this nutrient are very low. People with gastrointestinal problems and people who are fed intravenously also have a higher risk of selenium deficiency.
– Silicon:- No RDA but research suggests a daily consumption of between 1g and 2g is adequate. Silicon deficiency is very rare and has only been observed in people with extremely limited diets.
– Tin:- No RDA but research suggests a daily consumption of between 1mg and 3mg is adequate. Currently there are no official tin deficiency symptoms but low dietary consumption has been linked with adverse effects.
– Vanadium:- No RDA but research suggests a daily consumption of between 0.1mg and 1mg is adequate. Currently there are no official vanadium deficiency symptoms but low dietary consumption has been linked with adverse effects.
– Zinc:- RDA of 11mg for male adults and 9mg for female adults. Germanium deficiency is normally the result of low dietary consumption. It can also be caused by bowel problems, chronic diarrhea, excessive sweating and taking certain medications.
The microminerals are only required in very small amounts so deficiencies are extremely rare. However, if you are suffering from any of the symptoms discussed in this article you may be deficient in one or more of the 17 microminerals. If you believe you are deficient make sure that you are getting the RDA for each micromineral as part of your diet and if the symptoms do not subside go and see your doctor. By doing this you can avoid micromineral deficiency and maintain optimal health.