Over the last few decades scientists have been researching the roles of various trace elements in the body. Some are considered to be essential for our survival, such as copper, iron and manganese; others like fluorine, silicon and vanadium only partially essential; while others, including bismuth, cesium and indium, are deemed non-essential.
Although required in very small quantities only, researchers have found that deficiencies in essential and partially essential trace elements can increase the risk of certain diseases. For example, a chromium deficiency is associated with diabetes and a lack of zinc has been implicated in causing depression.
Although some trace elements are considered non-essential to our existence, mounting evidence suggests that several of these may have positive effects on health when taken in supplement form. One supposedly ‘non-essential’ trace element that is currently causing a great deal of excitement in scientific circles is indium.
New research has found that indium helps improve the absorption of essential trace elements – such as copper, manganese, chromium, copper and zinc – in the body, thereby allowing them to perform their functions more efficiently. It has also been shown to have age-related benefits, including improving memory, increasing libido, keeping weight stable and regulating blood sugar levels.
Indium helps replenish hormone levels that naturally start to fall with age One of the theories regarding the ageing process is that it is precipitated by the decreased production of certain hormones as we get older. Indium appears to counteract this by stimulating hormonal production to youthful levels. It does this by stimulating the master hormone producers – the hypothalamus and pituitary gland – that in turn stimulate the production of over thirty hormones. These hormones then circulate throughout the body and help prevent and fight various aspects of the ageing process – for example, supplies of growth hormone are boosted, which controls metabolism and affects bone density.
Dr J Nevison, a specialist in allergy care who practises in Hertfordshire, has observed excellent results in those patients she has prescribed indium supplements to. She says,
‘I often recommend indium to patients who come to me with symptoms of fatigue or low energy because it helps improve energy levels and enables people to deal with stress more effectively.’
As mentioned earlier, studies have shown that indium increases the absorption of other trace elements. For example, when indium was added to the diet of study participants, researchers found that copper – needed for hormone synthesis and the manufacture of collagen (the ‘glue’ that holds connective tissue together) – absorption was increased by an average of 161 per cent. Zinc, which is needed for normal growth, fertility, mental alertness, skin health, immune function and cell reproduction, was increased by 179 per cent; and chromium (which is needed for blood sugar balance) by 433 per cent.
Indium can improve short-term memory In 2000 a double-blind study using indium was undertaken at the TCM Academy in Bad Ischl, Austria in collaboration with the Austrian Morbus Alzheimer Society. It involved 24 Alzheimer’s patients, half were given indium plus a mixture of Chinese herbs while the other half were given the Chinese herbs alone.
After 30 days those taking indium showed an overall improvement in stamina and short-term memory by an average of 37 per cent compared to an 8 per cent improvement in the non-indium group.
A larger follow-up study is now under way and HSI promises to keep you updated on the findings as soon as they become available.
What to take for best results The recommended dose is one drop of indium solution on the top of the tongue first thing in the morning. Food and drinks should be avoided 6 hours before and at least 10 minutes after administration to ensure proper absorption into the body. You should be aware that indium has a strong, metallic taste.
WARNING: Pregnant women should not take indium.
 Schroeder, Dr Harry. Interactions of trace metals in mouse and rat tissues; zinc, chromium, copper and manganese with 13 other elements. Journal of Nutrition 1972;104:167-168.
 Lyons, Dr Robert per telephone interview in Henderson Nevada on October 25th 2001.