In this article we will learn the importance of trace elements such as chromium, manganese, molybdenum and copper in stress situations and in overall functions of our body.
Chromium — an Important Blood Sugar Regulator
Chromium is an essential trace mineral that is involved in controlling both blood sugar levels (both high blood sugar and low blood sugar) and fat levels. It helps maintain stable blood sugar levels in both diabetics and also promotes synthesis of cholesterol.
Some of the important deficiency symptoms of chromium are:
- Hyperglycemia, stress-induced
- High blood cholesterol
- Arterial disease (heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease)
- High blood pressure
- Hyperactivity (of kids)
- Too much cravings for sweets or/and fast food (carbohydrates)
- Diabetes mellitus (a deficiency of chromium can cause diabetes, type 2 or cause high blood sugar levels similar to diabetes)
Which Form of Dietary Chromium Supplement to take?
Chromium in the form of GTF chromium and as picolinate is important in my nutrition consultation. Or one dietary supplement form together with other trace elements. I recommend the combination of some trace elements without any copper as best form.
Recommended Chromium intake: As a dietary supplement, 100 mcg/day. The therapeutic dosages are at least 200 mcg or more and may vary from individual to individual. The dosages are different when you take medical drugs f.e. antidiabetica. But at least 100-200 mcg/day.
Constantly Good Level of Chromium is important for your Stress Relief
Low level of chromium may decrease the body’s production of DHEA (generally know as the mother of all hormones) and correspondingly getting more chromium can result in higher DHEA production levels.
DHEA (dehydroeplandrosterone) is a “Anti-Aging” hormone and it is produced by the adrenal glands. It is the substance from which your body makes other hormones such as testosterone, estrogens, progesterone. DHEA is known to be an essential component in many physiological functions in our body. It enhances immune functions. DHEA is also good for brain functions and may help protect against osteoporosis. This hormone modulates f.e. the stress (and immune system) response. Having a higher level of DHEA is associated with an improved ability to cope with extreme stress that is a new result f.e. by researchers at Yale University and Veterans Administration National Center for (PTSD) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (published in the August 2009 issue of Biological Psychiatry).
Other Ways to Improve DHEA level
Number one is DHEA Supplement to take. But you can take other some dietary supplements increasing the DHEA level such as:
- A special daily immune support on basis of Sterols and Sterolins from pine.
- Wild yams (dioscorea villosa) the substances diosgenin stimulates the production of DHEA level.
- Maca is a hormonal regulator for some body hormones i.a. for DHEA.
Manganese and it’s Benefits
Manganese (Mn.) is another trace mineral that is found in the adrenal glands (for “acute” stress-relief), pancreas, kidneys and liver. It supports function of the thyroid gland and thyroxin production. Manganese is also important component of super oxid dismutase enzyme (a powerful antioxidant).
- May help in environmental illnesses (ideal for chemical sensible people)
- Manganese is involved in the blood sugar regulation
- It promotes normal bone growth
- Involved the formation of cartilage and lubricating fluid in the joints
- Helps maintain healthy and immune system regulation
- Supports the synthesis of haemoglobin
- Manganese helps the body absorb some vitamins
- Manganese has antioxidant properties
- It functions primarily as a component of the important antioxidant enzyme super oxide dismutase (SOD)
Which Form of Dietary Manganese Supplement to take?
I recommend good forms of manganese with high absorbing potential such as manganese as amino acid and manganese as picolinate. Manganese as gluconate or citrate can be taken too.
Recommended manganese intake: As a dietary supplement, 2.0 mg to 5.0 mg /day. The therapeutic dosages may be higher.
Molybdenum — Support for Enzyme Functions
Molybdenum (Mb.) is an essential trace mineral in animal and human nutrition. It is found in several tissues of the human body and regulate calcium and magnesium metabolism. Molybdenum is required for the activity of some enzymes that are involved in sulfites detoxification, carbohydrate metabolism and catabolism of purines.
Which Form of Dietary Molybdenum Supplement to take?
The best form for me is molybdenum picolinate. Molybdenum as chelate is other good form. Or one dietary supplement together with other forms of trace minerals (without any copper).
Recommended Molybdenum intake: As a dietary supplement, 40 to 75 mcg/day. The therapeutic dosage is 250 mcg/day.
Copper – in Acute Stress Phases
Copper also helps in control of acute stress situations. It is required in order to produce hormones released by adrenal glands. Copper is involved in the formation of red blood cells (immune system) in our body. Copper also is involved in the absorption and utilization of iron. It stimulates the immune system to fight infections, helps to neutralize free radicals and copper has also an important role in ensuring the proper functioning of thyroid glands.
Which Form of Dietary Copper Supplement to take?
Good forms are copper as amino acid or copper as picolinate.
Recommended copper intake: As a dietary supplement, 1.0 to 4.0 mg/day.
Copper directly affects catecholamines (stress hormones) and increase their levels. I do not recommend intake of copper in chronic stress (long term). In acute stress situations, copper in combination with other supplements or herbs is ideal.
Factors which increase Copper levels
- Medical drugs such as ACE-inhibitor, oral contraceptives pill, thyroxine
- Chronic disease f.e. blood pressure, psoriasis, chronic stress (long-term), chronic and acute inflammations, lupus (SLE), some types of cancer
- Wilson’s disease (this disease is a hereditary disorder in which the body retains too much copper. A low copper diet is very important in this case)
- Too much copper in the drink water
- Deficits of zinc, manganese, molybdenum or/and vitamin c
- Some types of dark chocolate with at least 70 % cocoa
- Pregnant women (in some phases)
Possible Symptoms of High Copper Level
Another word for high copper level is hypercupriemia. The hypercupriemia is associated with high copper level in blood and/or serum.
- Heart hurry
- High blood pressure
- Chronic inflammations f.e. to skin
- Acute inflammations
- More flu (as “normal”)
- Wound healing problems
- High stress level
- Panic attacks
- Stress-induced high blood sugar (caused from too much catecholamines such as epinephrine. In this case carbohydrate may reduce the epinephrine secretion and this decreases hypercupriemia-induced high blood sugar). Learn more to this case in my first article Difference to Chronic and Acute Stress.
The Best Sources of Trace Elements
- Chromium: Molasses, brewer’s yeast (nutritional yeast), dried fruits, some nuts, cereals.
- Copper: Nutritional yeast, legumes, all fungi’s, fish and sea fruits, some nuts, dried fruits.
- Manganese: Nutritional yeast, peas, potato, nuts, legumes, dried apricots, rice (more in brown rice).
- Molybdenum: Peas (fresh and more in dried) and other legumes such as beans, lentils, mung dal, rice (more in brown rice), dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, cereal grains, whole grains.
Too Much Sugar Reduces Trace Minerals
Stevia and its products are recommended to sugar. Stevia is available in several forms f.e. Stevia extracts, liquid concentrates (with alcohol basis and without any alcohol), syrups or powder of dried leafes. My Stevia no. one is Steviosid. This is a white powdered extract of the sweet glycosides (natural sweetening plant molecules) in the Stevia leaf. In this special form it is approximately at least 200-300 times sweeter (or higher) than sugar. Stevia is a natural sweetener with some difference to normal sugar such as:
- Zero calories
- Zero carbohydrates
- Has a low glycemic index (f.e. very good for people with high blood sugar problems)
- Is ideal for individuals who cannot or would not like to have their blood glucose levels fluctuate at rapid levels
- Without any negative effect for intestine gut flora
Trace Minerals – Deficiency from some Medical Drugs
- Manganese: butyrophenone (to treat various psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia)
- Copper: valproic acid (primarily in the treatment of epilepsy, bipolar disorder)
- Manganese, Copper: Metamucil is a laxative & fiber supplement (to treat constipation, haemorrhoids, diverticular disease, irritable bowel syndrome)
- Copper: penicilliamine (a form of immuno suppression to treat f.e. rheumatoid arthritis)
- Maca and its Anti-Stress Effect in an Animal Model in Mice. Tapia A, López C, Marcelo A, Canales M, Aguilar JL.Acta Andina 1999-2000;8:31-37.
- The DHEA Breakthrough — look younger, live longer, feel better, by Stephen Cherniske (Biochemist).
- Melvyn R. Werbach, M.D., Nutritional Influences On Illness – A sourcebook of clinical research, Third Line Press.