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Trace Elements in Medicine
International scientific and practical peer-reviewed journal
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Trace Elements in Medicine (Moscow)
2019, 20(2): 3-17


A.V. Galchenko1,2, A.M. Nazarova1

1 Federal State Budgetary Scientific Institution Federal Research Centre of Nutrition, Biotechnology and Food Safety, Ust'inskiy Proezd Str. 2/14, 109240, Moscow, Russia 2 Peoples` Friendship University of Russia, Miklukho-Maklaya str. 6, 117198, Moscow, Russia

DOI: 10.19112/2413-6174-2019-20-2-3-17 

ABSTRACT. The structures of biological objects consist mainly of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. These elements are organogens. The remaining chemical elements perform mainly cofactor and electrolytic functions. Calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, chlorine and sodium are present in largest quantities (after organogens) in the body. These elements belong to macroelements. Macroelements are essential nutrients, absolutely necessary for the vital activity of organisms. They are involved in a variety of enzymatic processes; they are regulators of osmotic pressure and acidity of all body fluids; are intracellular and intercellular messengers; are necessary for the processes of excitation and inhibition; are structural components of some tissues, etc. Macroelements are not as evenly distributed in food as organogens. Products of animal origin, especially dairy products, contain more calcium than plant foods. In addition, phytic acid and other inhibitors of the absorption of many cations are present in plant foods that significantly reduces the bioavailability of calcium and magnesium. Abundant in magnesium and fiber, plant food accelerates the passage of intestinal content that also reduces the absorption of minerals. Vegans, abandoning animal products, are at higher risk of calcium deficiency. However, even a slight heating of food, lowers phytates` activity that significantly increases the absorbability of calcium. In addition, there are many other sources of highly available calcium, like fortified soy products, mineral water, and nutritional supplements. At the same time, herbal products contain significantly more magnesium and potassium. Omnivores may be at hight risk of potassium and, especially, magnesium deficiency. Sodium and chlorine are widely represented in food products. Moreover, people consume these elements predominantly with table salt. Phosphorus deficiency is also extremely rare, and it is usually associated with hormonal dysfunction or excessive intake of its antagonists. Sulfur is very widespread in foods. To date, there is not enough data on sulfur deficiency in any groups.

KEYWORDS: vegetarian, vegan, minerals, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chlorine, sulphur, magne-sium, phytates.

Corresponding author: A.V. Galchenko Е-mail: gav.jina@gmail.com