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Biomedical References

Here are just a few representative abstracts of the over 29.000 published medical research papers dealing with the trace elements in the archives of the (US) National Library Of Medicine.

Please note that the diseases found to respond to the nutritional trace elements include the following wide range of diseases: This is the more remarkable since we have listed only a handful of papers which cover only a few of the 72+ trace elements.

Diseases mentioned in these articles:

Children with hyperactivity, tuberculosis, rheumatoid arthritis, a range of cancers, disorders of the central nervous system, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, goitre, Down's Syndrome, mental retardation, Keshan, Alzheimer's, Itai-Itai, and Minamata diseases, hepatic fibrosis, liver disease, hepatocellular carcinoma, cholestasis, hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, breast cancer, the breakdown of the immune system, "the high number of human pathologies characterized by alterations in the zinc pool", the aging process itself, and "the major homeostatic mechanisms of the body, i.e., the nervous, neuroendocrine and immune systems". (The last three items pretty well cover the whole works of our bodies).

Please also bear in mind that the biomedical sciences are just discovering that we need far more than the 8 long known trace elements in our nutrition. And while 16 trace elements are now recognized as essential, beyond this, the new field of the "ultra trace elements" is in wild disarray, with many researchers clinging safely to the known trace elements, while others are either cautiously or courageously forging ahead. It all comes down to how tolerant the particular professor is to investigations beyond the known.

Many people find it difficult to believe that a single simple thing - as the inclusion of some seafood in one's daily diet - can be so supremely effective against such a wide range of diseases. Well, here is hard, scientific proof - and the handful of trace elements investigated here are still a very long way from the complete natural range of the 72+ trace elements. And the range of responsive diseases will only broaden the more trace elements are investigated.

Please also note that the first paper mentioned here is one of the still very rare papers which recognizes 72 elements, of which 68 are trace elements. Although this article does not consider any diseases, the Japanese are very aware that they have the highest life expectancy, and one of the lowest incidences of diseases in the world. Therefore, the Japanese are very active in the field of the "ultra trace elements", and this article is one of the, as yet, very few efforts to establish a 'baseline' of all the trace elements involved in human metabolism.

[1] Nippon Eiseigaku Zasshi - 1994 Dec;49(5):924-934
Analysis of trace elements in biological materials by microwave induced plasma-mass spectrometry.
[Article in Japanese]
Shinohara A, Chiba M, Inaba Y
Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.

Abstract: Analytical conditions have been established for determination of trace elements in biological materials by microwave induced plasma-mass spectrometry (MIP-MS). Possible elemental contaminants were checked in the water and reagents used, and during the wet-ashing process. Among 72 elements tested, contamination by Na, Mg, K, Ca, Fe, Ba, and Pb were observed. This contamination was estimated to occur mainly during the process of preparing samples due to the water, reagents and surroundings. Contamination by Ca, Mg, Zn and Pb from tubes for storage was also observed. Adequate conditions for multi-element analyses in plasma and bone samples were evaluated. Both plasma and bone samples were digested by the wet-ashing technique before applying MIP-MS. The recovery rates of elements added were decreased depending on the contents of plasma or bone samples in the measuring solutions. The interfering effects of matrix modification due to organs were improved by correction with an internal standard. Recovery rates of elements added, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Rb, Sr, Mo, Cd, Sn, Ba, Pb and fourteen lanthanide elements (La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb, and Lu) were within 100 +/- 5% in analytical samples containing 1% volume of human plasma when Ga or Tl was used as the internal standard. Recoveries of Sn and Zn in the bone samples containing 0.1% bone as the original bone material, however, were 100 +/- 10% even after correction by the internal standard, suggesting the necessity of combined use of standard addition methods. The concentrations of V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, Rb, Sr, Mg, and Ca in plasma from two healthy women were determined by MIP-MS. The data were consistent with the values reported elsewhere, and agreed very closely with those obtained by atomic absorption spectrometry. The accuracy of the values obtained by this method was confirmed using standard reference materials. These results indicate that MIP-MS is a useful method for multielement determination of biological materials.

[2] Psychiatr Pol - 1994 May;28(3):345-353
Deficiency of certain trace elements in children with hyperactivity.
[Article in Polish]
Kozielec T, Starobrat-Hermelin B, Kotkowiak L
Zakladu Medycyny Rodzinnej Pomorskiej Akademii Medycznej.

The magnesium, zinc, copper, iron and calcium level of plasma, erythrocytes, urine and hair in 50 children aged from 4 to 13 years with hyperactivity, were examined by AAS. The average concentration of all trace elements was lower compared with the control group--healthy children from Szczecin. The highest deficit was noted in hair. Our results show that it is necessary to supplement trace elements in children with hyperactivity.

[3] Clin Endocrinol Metab - 1985 Aug;14(3):703-724
Therapeutic uses of trace elements.
Taylor A

The properties of trace elements which feature in their therapeutic activity are: binding to macromolecules (enzymes, nucleic acids, etc.) with disturbance of biological function, and interaction with other elements. These properties, particularly the binding to large molecules, are far from specific, an observation which is reflected in the very wide range of diseases in which trace elements are employed. While metal compounds have been administered for several centuries, the scientific basis for treatment with trace elements began with the use of gold compounds, initially in patients with tuberculosis and later those with rheumatoid arthritis. Although many other drugs have been developed, some of which also include metal complexes, gold has retained an important position in the treatment of this condition. The gold-induced effects upon the immunological aspects of RA are also observed in other conditions with autoimmune involvement. The antineoplastic potential of metal complexes will be further exploited by the development of less toxic compounds--of platinum and possibly also of other metals. At the same time there are improvements in the protocols for administration which increase the range of cancers responding to treatment. Perturbation of gastrointestinal activity represents another area where trace elements have an important therapeutic role, both in the control of intraluminal acidity and in the adjustment of nutrient availability. A fourth significant area of trace element therapeutics involves the central nervous system where the use of lithium has provided spectacular results in the treatment of affective and other disorders. With a very wide range of other conditions in which they are employed, therapeutic uses provide somewhat unusual (oh?) illustrations of the importance of trace elements in human disease.

[4] Soc Sci Med - 1989;29(8):923-926
Geology, trace elements and health.
Warren HV
Department of Geological Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Both animal and vegetable life depend for their existence on appropriate amounts of various trace elements, albeit in very small amounts. This paper lists some of these trace elements and the ailments in which they play an important role. The elements discussed are gold, platinum, copper, lead, zinc, aluminium, silica, mercury, cadmium, selenium, arsenic, and iodine. The diseases involved range from multiple sclerosis, various cancers, arthritis, goitre, Down's Syndrome, and mental retardation. Less well known are Keshan, Alzheimer's, Itai-Itai, and Minamata diseases. Of particular interest in the latter part of the twentieth century is the discovery that serious deficiencies of either copper or zinc in the diet of animals may break down their immune defence mechanisms. The ability of certain plants selectively to concentrate particular heavy metals in their tissues and pollen is discussed.

[5] Nippon Rinsho - 1996 Jan;54(1):85-92
Liver diseases and essential trace elements. [Article in Japanese]
Suzuki K, Oyama R, Hayashi E, Arakawa Y
Department of Internal Medicine, Surugadai Nihon University Hospital.

The significance of the biochemical and nutritional roles of trace elements is widely recognized, since metals are found as constituent components of many metalloproteins and metalloenzymes. Some trace elements such as copper act as cofactors against hepatic fibrosis in chronic liver diseases, particularly in the biosynthesis of collagen. As the disease progress from chronic hepatitis to liver cirrhosis, serum calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc concentrations decrease, while the copper concentration increases. In the patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, serum concentrations of trace elements are similar to those of liver cirrhosis. In the patients with acute hepatitis, serum calcium, magnesium and zinc concentrations decrease, while phosphorus, iron and copper concentrations decrease. These trace element abnormalities may reflect such pathological conditions as liver dysfunction, cholestasis, hepatic fibrosis or liver regeneration.

All of the above references have been obtained from PubMedline
the public archives of the National Library of Medicine

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Health and Fitness Victoria BC, References

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