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Ultra trace minerals: Part 2

Published: August 16, 2019

Quick facts:

Root crops contain some ultra trace minerals
Root crops contain some ultra trace minerals
Ultra trace elements or minerals include aluminum (aluminium), arsenic, boron, bromine, cadmium, chromium copper, fluoride, germanium, iodine, lead, lithium, molybdenum, nickel, rubidium, selenium, silicon, tin and vanadium.
This article considers vanadium, aluminium, bromine, cadmium, germanium, lead, lithium, rubidium and tin

  • Little research into essentiality of vanadium,  aluminum, bromine, cadmium, germanium, lead, lithium, rubidium and tin
  • lead is known to be toxic to humans.

Despite the lack of understanding about these minerals and requirement for human health some are included in multivitamin supplements.



  • Aluminum or aluminium does not appear to have any human biological function.
  • High doses may lead to negative health effects such as: changes in your blood-brain barrier function, allergenic reactions through ingestion such as dermatitis, digestive disorders, and toxicity if more than 40mg/day per kg of body weight is ingested
  • Aluminium absorption from aluminium cookware is significantly increased when acidic foods or liquids cooked in aluminium cookware
  • Aluminium can accumulate in nervous tissue.
  • May be an association between aluminium and estrogen related gene expression in laboratory cultured human breast cancer cells


  • A biological role for bromine has not yet been specified
  • Bromine as bromide potentially an essential element for humans: may be necessary for the proper function of a specific protein required in your extracellular framework.



  • Germanium is not essential to human health: is ingested in  only very small amounts
  • Organic and inorganic germanium supplements may have the potential to treat leukemia and lung cancer.
  • Inorganic supplements may be harmful and over time and may result in kidney dysfunction, fatty liver, and peripheral nerve damage.


  • Lead is highly toxic to human health
  • Deficiency in rats and pigs may lead to anaemia, restricted growth, and altered iron metabolism
  • Ingestion is the principle source of lead exposure, can also be inhaled and absorbed through contact.
  • Maximum level of lead allowed in pharmaceuticals is 1.0 mcg/g which is representative of maximum daily intake for humans.
  • Adverse effects of lead on human metabolism: inhibits iron absorption, competes with calcium for absorption and metabolic activities, may adversely affect cognition, nerves, kidneys, immune system cardiovascular system, and fertility
  • Dietary sources of lead: water, fruits, vegetables, and alcohol may be contaminated with lead from various sources


  • Lithium is found in most animal tissue in trace amount as well as in plants, plankton and invertebrates.
  • Lithium salts are used in the treatment of bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder and cyclic major depression.
  • If used  by women in the first trimester of pregnancy  increased risk of Ebstein’s cardiac anomaly in offspring.


  • No biological role identified, essentiality not determined, but rubidium is used to detect brain tumours
  • Rubidium tends to concentrate inside your body cells.
  • Toxicity: not thought to be toxic
  • Negative health effects are not seen with up to 36 g of rubidium. In rats death resulted when greater than 50% of potassium was substituted by rubidium in muscle.
  • May influence depression in persons undergoing dialysis


  • There are no known biological roles for tin which can be absorbed into your body through inhalation, skin contact and eye contact.
  • Organotin compounds appear to be highly toxic.
  • Over exposure may inhibit copper and zinc metabolism.
  • Tin is found in dental products

Link to the full article to learn more about these Ultra trace minerals

Related Topics

Health  Metabolism  Minerals  Your Body 


Gropper, S.S., Smith, J.L. & Groff, J.L. (2005). Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (4thEd.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth
Centre for Science in the Public interest (CSPI) November 2013