Despite being in proportions lower than 0.1%, trace elements are essential, since they perform essential functions in different biochemical and physiological processes. Some of the most important trace elements are Fe, Zn, Cu, Co, Mn, Li, Si, I and F.
- The iron is essential for the synthesis of hemoglobin in the blood and myoglobin, two proteins are responsible for transporting oxygen molecules, and cytochromes, enzymes involved in cellular respiration.
- The zinc is abundant in the brain, in the sexual organs and the pancreas, which interferes with the hormone insulin in the control of the concentration of glucose in blood.
- The copper part of the hemocyanin, oxygen - carrying protein in many invertebrates water. There is also copper in some oxidase enzymes.
- The cobalt is needed to synthesize vitamin B 12 (cobalamin, antianemic vitamin), and some enzymes that regulate fixing nitrogen.
- The manganese acts as a growth and photosynthetic processes. Its scarcity causes the yellowing of the leaves.
- The lithium stimulates the secretion of neurotransmitters, so it is used in patients with endogenous depressions, to promote stability of mood.
- The silicon is one of the shells of diatoms and stiffens the stems of grasses and horsetails.
- The iodine is a component of thyroid hormone responsible for the pace of the metabolism energy. Its lack causes the goiter.
- The fluoride is in the enamel of the teeth and the bones. Its lack favors tooth decay.