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J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2014 Oct;28(4):406-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2014.06.019. Epub 2014 Jul 5.

Should bioactive trace elements not recognized as essential, but with beneficial health effects, have intake recommendations.

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U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service,(1) Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, Grand Forks, ND, USA. Electronic address:


Today, most nutritionists do not consider a trace element essential unless it has a defined biochemical function in higher animals or humans. As a result, even though it has been found that trace elements such as boron and silicon have beneficial bioactivity in higher animals and humans, they generally receive limited attention or mention when dietary guidelines or intake recommendations are formulated. Recently, the possibility of providing dietary intake recommendations such as an adequate intake (AI) for some bioactive food components (e.g., flavonoids) has been discussed. Boron, chromium, nickel, and silicon are bioactive food components that provide beneficial health effects by plausible mechanisms of action in nutritional and supra nutritional amounts, and thus should be included in the discussions. Although the science base may not be considered adequate for establishing AIs, a significant number of findings suggest that statements about these trace elements should be included when dietary intake guidance is formulated. An appropriate recommendation may be that diets should include foods that would provide trace elements not currently recognized as essential in amounts shown to reduce the risk of chronic disease and/or promote health and well-being.


Boron; Chromium; Dietary recommendations; Nickel; Silicon

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