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Trace Minerals


Updated May 14, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

These minerals are all essential for good health, but your body only needs a very small amount of each one. They're important for immune system function, energy, metabolism and antioxidant protection.


Chromium is necessary for normal metabolism and storage of sugar and starch. It's found in a wide variety of foods, so deficiencies are very rare. Learn more about chromium.


Your body needs copper for strong bones and blood vessels, plus its a component of some antioxidant reactions. It's found in foods like organ meats, seafood and whole grains. Learn more about copper.


Fluoride helps to keep your bones and teeth strong. You'll find it in fluoridated drinking water, tea, and seafood. Learn more about fluoride.


Iodine is used to make thyroid hormone so it's necessary for normal thyroid gland function. It's found in iodized salt, seafood and plant-based foods grown in soil that contains iodine. Learn more about iodine.


Iron is used to move oxygen to all the cells of your body, but you also need iron for normal immune system function and normal cell growth. Iron-rich foods include meat, poultry, fish, legumes, and spinach. Learn more about iron.


Manganese is needed for antioxidant reactions, and healthy nervous system function. It's found in nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains. Learn more about manganese.


Molybdenum is a component of enzymes your body uses for breaking down amino acids, as well as drugs and toxins. It's found in a wide variety of foods, especially legumes and nuts. Learn more about molybdenum.


Selenium is used in antioxidant reactions that help protect the cells in your body and is important for normal thyroid function. It's found in many plant-based foods such as whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. Learn more about selenium.


Zinc is used in many different chemical reactions in your body, helps to keep your immune system strong and is essential for your senses of taste and smell. It's found in meats, seafood, and other foods that are high in protein. Learn more about zinc.
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