Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 188, Issue 1, pp 26–34 | Cite as

The Impact of Trace Minerals on Bone Metabolism

  • Erin Gaffney-StombergEmail author


Bone is a metabolically active tissue that responds to alterations in dietary intake and nutritional status. It is ~ 35% protein, mostly collagen which provides an organic scaffolding for bone mineral. The mineral is the remaining ~ 65% of bone tissue and composed mostly of calcium and phosphate in a form that is structurally similar to mineral within the apatite group. The skeletal tissue is constantly undergoing turnover through resorption by osteoclasts coupled with formation by osteoblasts. In this regard, the overall bone balance is determined by the relative contribution of each of these processes. In addition to macro minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium which have well-known roles in bone health, trace elements such as boron, iron, zinc, copper, and selenium also impact bone metabolism. Effects of trace elements on skeletal metabolism and tissue properties may be indirect through regulation of macro mineral metabolism, or direct by affecting osteoblast or osteoclast proliferation or activity, or finally through incorporation into the bone mineral matrix. This review focuses on the skeletal impact of the following trace elements: boron, iron, zinc, copper, and selenium, and overviews the state of the evidence for each of these minerals.


Minerals Bone Trace elements Nutritional status 



Bone mineral density


Parathyroid hormone


25-Hydroxyvitamin D


C-terminal telopeptides


Tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase 5b


N-terminal telopeptide


Bone-specific alkaline phosphatase


Procollagen 1 intact N-terminal




Compliance with Ethical Standards

The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or as reflecting the views of the Army or the Department of Defense. Any citations of commercial organizations and trade names in this report do not constitute an official Department of the Army endorsement of approval of the products or services of these organizations.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Military Performance Division of the US Army Research Institute of Environmental MedicineNatickUSA

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