Trace Element Deficiency


Small amounts of certain inorganic elements are essential for health. When the diet provides an insufficient amount of these, a deficiency state may occur with deleterious consequences.

Keywords: zinc; copper; selenium; chromium; molybdenum; manganese

Figure 1.

Consequences of inadequate trace element intake.


Further Reading

Food and Nutrition Board, National Research Council (1989) Recommended Dietary Allowances, 10th edn. Washington: National Academy Press.

Freidman BJ, Freeland‐Graves JH, Bales CW et al. (1987) Manganese balance and clinical observations in young men fed a manganese deficient diet. Journal of Nutrition 117: 133–143.

Jeejeebhoy KN, Chu RC, Marliss EB, Greenberg GR and Bruce‐Robertson A (1977) Chromium deficiency, glucose intolerance, and neuropathy reversed by chromium supplementation in a patient receiving long‐term total parenteral nutrition. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 30: 531–538.

Karpel JT and Peden VH (1972) Copper deficiency in long‐term parenteral nutrition. Journal of Paediatrics 80: 32–36.

Kay RG, Tasman‐Jones C, Pybus J, Whiting R and Black H (1976) A syndrome of acute zinc deficiency during total parenteral alimentation in man. Annals of Surgery 183: 331–340.

Keshan Disease Research Group (1979) (i) Observations on effect of sodium selenite in prevention of Keshan disease. (ii) Epidemiological studies on the etiologic relationship of selenium and Keshan disease. Chinese Medical Journal 92: 471–482.

Mills CE (ed.) (1989) Zinc in Human Biology. London: Springer.

Neilson FH (1999) Ultratrace minerals. In: Shils ME, Olson JA, Shike M and Ross AC (eds) Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th edn, pp. 283–304. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins.

O’Dell BL and Sunde RA (eds) (1997) Handbook of Nutritionally Essential Mineral Elements. New York: Marcel Dekker.

Panel on Dietary Reference Values, Department of Health (1991) Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom. London: HMSO.

Shenkin A (1997) Micronutrients. In: Rombeau JL and Rolandelli RH (eds) Clinical Nutrition – Enteral and Tube Feeding, 3rd edn, pp. 96–111. Philadelphia: WB Saunders.

Vinton NE, Dahlstrom KA, Strobel CT and Ament ME (1987) Macrocytosis and pseudoalbinism: manifestations of selenium deficiency. Journal of Pediatrics 111: 711–717.

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Shenkin, Alan(Apr 2001) Trace Element Deficiency. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0002111]