Health Benefits & Toxicity of the Element Tin,
and its Effect on Adrenals, Depression and Fatigue
The information presented is based on Cellular trace element analysis - not Serum / Blood measurements.
RDA / DRI, synergists, antagonists, and additional deficiency / overdose / toxicity symptoms are listed at the bottom of the page.
While Tin (Sn) has been established to be an essential trace element for some animals (they won't grow well
without it), some researchers are still unsure of whether tin is essential in human health and nutrition. Daily
dietary intake of tin from various food sources is in the 1-3 mg range, which is less than 1/10th of the daily
intake obtained years ago before lacquering tin cans, switching to aluminum cans, or in the more distant past,
when tin cups or tin pans were still in use. Since bronze contains copper and tin, the use of tin has been
established well past the Bronze Age, several thousand years ago.
Rat studies have shown that tin-deficient diets resulted in poor growth, reduced feeding efficiency, hearing
loss, and bilateral (male pattern) hair loss. Tipton and Shafer examined tin in human tissue after accidental
deaths. They noted that tin was found in the aorta, heart, kidney, liver, muscle,
ovary, spleen, pancreas, brain, testes, stomach, and uterus, but none was found
in the thyroid of any victim, while the prostate, which usually shows no other
trace element, had tin.
Average concentrations were the same range as cobalt, chromium, iodine, and
selenium, which are known vital nutrients. Inorganic tin is capable of entering into
biological activity at saline pH, and it is far less toxic than other known vital trace
elements such as copper and cobalt. In addition, tin levels do not vary statistically
with gender, age, or geographical areas. Misk found traces of tin in the fetal heart
and spleen, and higher levels in the liver, while Schroeder and others reported no
tin in stillborns.
Tin is associated with Iodine the same way as calcium is associated with magnesium
(see "Tin & Iodine" for details). Tin supports the adrenal glands, and iodine supports the thyroid gland, with
both subsequently affecting cardiac output: Tin + adrenals control the left side, and iodine + thyroid control
the right side. In addition to low Vitamin C and/or Vitamin B1, low tin is a common nutritional cause of low
adrenals, which can lead to left-sided cardiac insufficiency. While fatigue or depression may be experienced
with cardiac insufficiency of either side, breathing difficulties or asthma are more common with left-sided
cardiac insufficiency, and swelling of hands and feet is more common with right-sided cardiac insufficiency,
regardless of the cause.
Comparing thousands of patient records showed that better than 90% of patients tested exhibited
moderately low, to very low levels of tin when referenced to the status of all other essential trace
minerals, making tin the most deficient element compared to any other trace mineral measured.
I had 285 individuals taking part in the Nutritional evaluation of Tin, some on a short-term basis (3 weeks),
and others on a long-term basis (1 - 2+ years), resulting in some valuable feedback on various responses en-
countered, including side effects, although the rather poor absorption of stannous oxide was a limiting factor
in being able to achieve optimal cellular levels of tin in all subjects.
Of the changes experienced after supplementing tin, negative reactions, e.g. stomach / digestive upsets, or
skin reactions, were at par or less compared to the best tolerated trace minerals such as chromium, calcium,
or magnesium. Positive health effects were numerous and included improvements with fatigue, some forms
of depression, and a general increase in energy, well-being, and mood. There were also benefits with certain
types of headaches, insomnia, asthma, or improvements with digestion, skin, or various aches and pains.
Tin toxicity - or its health hazards - documented over the last 200 years in humans has been linked to the
consumption of foods or beverages that were stored in tinned, unlacquered containers under long-term, low-
pH conditions, and where levels of several hundred to several thousand mg/kg were ingested. Symptoms
were limited to mostly gastrointestinal complaints such as nausea, abdominal pain and vomiting, with excess
tin being rapidly excreted, and no long-term negative health or toxic effects reported.
There are many causes of depression, some resulting from abnormal brain chemistry, while others are associ-
ated with low blood pressure, low thyroid, or low (or high) levels of various essential nutrients such as lithium,
calcium, magnesium, copper, sodium, protein, Vitamin B1, B6, B12, manganese (low blood sugar), and others.
Many of these nutrients are well documented in affecting mood, but I have not previously come across any
reference to tin until starting to do research on it, and after it helped some patients with depression where
any other drug, nutrient, or intervention had failed.
Tin is not a panacea for depression --- it will not work when other chemical imbalances are involved, but it
can be the missing link when most other attempts to resolve depression have failed; essentially involving low,
or malfunctioning adrenals. For the same reason, some cases of asthma - particularly when related to low
adrenals and subsequent left-sided cardiac insufficiency - respond to tin as well.
Tin (as stannous fluoride) is found in some toothpastes, and it has been used in the form of stannous chloride
as a chemical preservative. It is also added to asparagus to improve its taste, while in some countries it has
been utilized as a remedy for intestinal parasites.
Herbal Sources of tin (in the highest to lowest order) include doggrass, juniper, bilberry, milk thistle, dulse,
lady slipper, althea, valerian, Irish moss, nettle, barberry, yarrow, blessed thistle, red clover, yellow dock,
kelp, licorice, devils claw, pennyroyal, and senna. ¤
2013 Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) - Recommended Dietary Allowance / Intake (RDA / RDI) for
Adults, Children, Pregnancy & Nursing - Adequate Intake (AI) - Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL)
DRI (RDA): none
11-18 years males
19 + years males
11-18 years females
19 + years females
pregnant / lactating
Therapeutic Range: 25mg - 250mg + UL: none defined
Best time to take Tin: Morning to afternoon, with food.
Estimated daily intake of Tin from food and water (excluding canned food) is 1mg - 3mg per day.
Estimated intake of Tin from a 600g lacquered tin-lined can with acidic content is approximately 15mg.
Estimated intake of Tin from a 600g unlacquered tin-lined can with acidic content is approximately 60mg.
These values change considerably with other agents such as sulfur compounds, iron and copper salts,
nitrates, or sugar present, as well as acidity, temperature, and length of time of content storage.
"Tin & Iodine" provides additional information on Tin and its interaction with Iodine.
Cellular / Intracellular Attributes, Functions, and Interactions:
Tin Synergists: Nickel, iodine, Vitamin B1, Vitamin C,
Tin Antagonists: Iron, calcium, copper, chloride, Vitamin B2, Vitamin E, [bismuth, zinc].
Low Levels / Deficiency - Symptoms and/or Risk Factors:
Fatigue, depression, low cardiac output (left side), low adrenals, shortness of breath, asthma, headaches,
In Animals: Low tin results in poor growth, alopecia / bilateral hair loss, hearing loss, and reduced feeding
High levels / Overdose / Toxicity / Negative Side Effects - Symptoms and/or Risk Factors:
Skin rash, stomach complaints, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, palpitations.
Tinned / canned foods, cereal grains, dairy, meat, vegetables, seaweed, seawater, licorice, Brewer's yeast,
some toothpastes, some herbs (see text above). ¤
of Tin in the form of
25mg - 100mg
25mg - 100mg
25mg - 100mg
25mg - 100mg
1mg - 5mg
10mg - 20mg
10mg - 20mg
10mg - 20mg
10mg - 20mg
10mg - 20mg
General recommendations for nutritional supplementation: To avoid stomach problems and improve tolerance,
supplements should be taken earlier, or in the middle of a larger meal. When taken on an empty stomach or
after a meal, there is a greater risk of some tablets causing irritation, or eventually erosion of the esophageal
sphincter, resulting in Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). It is also advisable not to lie down right after
taking pills. When taking a large daily amount of a single nutrient, it is better to split it up into smaller doses
to not interfere with the absorption of other nutrients in food, or nutrients supplemented at lower amounts.
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