Table 104

Trace Element Primary and Secondary Roles in Wound Healing

Trace Elements of Primary Importance in Wound Healing


• Maintains iron utilization, because it is a cofactor for ceruloplasmin (94% serum binding)

• Oxidase necessary for the formation of transferrin (carrier of iron)

• Associated with the maintainance of normal synthetic rates for red blood cells and white blood cells


• Oxygen transport — component of heme that is the nonprotein portion of hemoglobin (Hgb); combines with Hgb in lungs and distributes to the tissue; also found in myoglobin

• Cytochrome content — normal cellular respiration; ATP storage through iron coupling reactions

• T-cell immunity and cognitive function roles


• Functions with hundreds of enzymes (e.g., carbonic anhydrase, alkaline phosphatase, lactic acid dehydrogenase, alcohol dehydrogenase, RNA and DNA polymerases, and superoxide dismutase), wound healing, taste, increases oxygen affinity in normal and sickle cell patients, component of bone, synthesis of nucleic acid, glutathione, connective tissue, and collagen precursors

Trace Elements of Secondary Importance in Wound Healing


• Maintains protein, carbohydrate, and lipid metabolism

• Glucose tolerance factor (GTF) — cofactor with insulin

• Important in peripheral nerve function


• Sole function in man, incorporation into thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) — regulates cellular metabolism, temperature, and normal growth


• Activator for several enzymes — glycotransferase activation (mucopolysaccharides formation)

• Found in association with vitamin K deficiencies — glycotransferase activation in prothrombin synthesis

• Found in association with squalene — precursor of cholesterol and sex hormones

• Found in association with protein synthesis, carbohydrate and lipid (activates lipoproteinlipase) metabolism


• Constituent of three enzymes — aldehyde oxidase, sulfite oxidase, and xanthine oxidase

• Causes increased mobilization of copper from tissue and increases urinary excretion


• Glutathione peroxidase (antioxidant) component — protects the cell from lipid oxidation; functions with and can substitute for vitamin E

Source: From Baumgartner, T.G., Nutr. Clin. Pract., 8, 251, 1993. With permission.

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