Micronutrients: Types Functions Benefits And More
Micronutrients are one of the major groups of nutrients your body needs. They include vitamins and minerals.
Vitamins are necessary for energy production, immune function, blood clotting and other functions. Meanwhile, minerals play an important role in growth, bone health, fluid balance and several other processes.
This article provides a detailed overview of micronutrients, their functions and implications of excess consumption or deficiency.
The term micronutrients is used to describe vitamins and minerals in general.
Macronutrients, on the other hand, include proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Your body needs smaller amounts of micronutrients relative to macronutrients. Thats why theyre labeled micro.
Humans must obtain micronutrients from food since your body cannot produce vitamins and minerals for the most part. Thats why theyre also referred to as essential nutrients.
Vitamins are organic compounds made by plants and animals which can be broken down by heat, acid or air. On the other hand, minerals are inorganic, exist in soil or water and cannot be broken down.
When you eat, you consume the vitamins that plants and animals created or the minerals they absorbed.
The micronutrient content of each food is different, so its best to eat a variety of foods to get enough vitamins and minerals.
An adequate intake of all micronutrients is necessary for optimal health, as each vitamin and mineral has a specific role in your body.
Interactingin Good Ways And Bad
Many micronutrients interact. Vitamin D enables your body to pluck calcium from food sources passing through your digestive tract rather than harvesting it from your bones. Vitamin C helps you absorb iron.
The interplay of micronutrients isnt always cooperative, however. For example, vitamin C blocks your bodys ability to assimilate the essential mineral copper. And even a minor overload of the mineral manganese can worsen iron deficiency.
Affordable Online Therapy
Need urgent help? .
Youll Surely Benefit From This Vitamins And Minerals Chart
Take a look at this vitamins and minerals chart that enlists all the necessary vitamins and minerals required for overall health and well-being.
Take a look at this vitamins and minerals chart that enlists all the necessary vitamins and minerals required for overall health and well-being.
Different types of vitamins and minerals enable healthy body function. They help in repairing damaged cells and tissues, in the production of important cells, in healthy brain function, and a host of other functions required for normal health and well-being. While vitamins are organic, minerals are inorganic. This means, the former are made by plants and animals, while the latter are found in the soil and water, which are then absorbed by plants and animals. A comprehensive vitamins and minerals chart is provided in the paragraphs below for you to understand the importance of these nutrients.
You May Like: What Are The Top Vitamins To Take
Vitamins Feed Your Needs
Your body is one powerful machine, capable of doing all sorts of things by itself. But when it comes to vitamins, it can use some help. That’s where food comes in. Your body is able to get the vitamins it needs from the foods you eat because different foods contain different vitamins. The key is to eat different foods to get an assortment of vitamins. Though some kids take a daily vitamin, most kids don’t need one if they’re eating a variety of healthy foods.
Now, let’s look more closely at vitamins from A to K:
Who Should Take Vitamin And Mineral Supplements
Research studies have tried to answer the following question:
“Do people need to take vitamin supplements?”
Older adults benefit from taking a multivitamin it may help reduce cognitive decline, improve mood, physical strength, and well-being.
Pregnant women have a higher need for folate, which is necessary for normal brain development in the fetus, as well as higher needs for iron, calcium, and other minerals.
How Certain Medications Affect Nutrient Absorption
People who are taking medications that affect nutrients should also pay attention to ensure they get enough. For example, people taking statins need more CoQ10 than others. People taking acid-blocking medications are unable to absorb many nutrients and may benefit from a multivitamin or B12. Your health-care provider can help you decide whether taking a vitamin or mineral supplement is right for you.
Recommended Reading: What Is In Vitamin C Serum
A Closer Look At Water
Water-soluble vitamins are packed into the watery portions of the foods you eat. They are absorbed directly into the bloodstream as food is broken down during digestion or as a supplement dissolves.
Because much of your body consists of water, many of the water-soluble vitamins circulate easily in your body. Your kidneys continuously regulate levels of water-soluble vitamins, shunting excesses out of the body in your urine.
- Folic acid
Vitamins And Minerals For Older Adults
Vitamins help your body grow and work the way it should. There are 13 essential vitamins vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins .
Vitamins have different jobs to help keep the body working properly. Some vitamins help you resist infections and keep your nerves healthy, while others may help your body get energy from food or help your blood clot properly. By following the Dietary Guidelines, you will get enough of most of these vitamins from food.
Like vitamins, minerals also help your body function. Minerals are elements that our bodies need to function that can be found on the earth and in foods. Some minerals, like iodine and fluoride, are only needed in very small quantities. Others, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, are needed in larger amounts. As with vitamins, if you eat a varied diet, you will probably get enough of most minerals.
Read Also: What Is The Best Ester C Vitamin
Why Free Radicals May Be Harmful
Free radicals are a natural byproduct of energy metabolism and are also generated by ultraviolet rays, tobacco smoke, and air pollution. They lack a full complement of electrons, which makes them unstable, so they steal electrons from other molecules, damaging those molecules in the process.
Free radicals have a well-deserved reputation for causing cellular damage. But they can be helpful, too. When immune system cells muster to fight intruders, the oxygen they use spins off an army of free radicals that destroys viruses, bacteria, and damaged body cells in an oxidative burst. Vitamin C can then disarm the free radicals.
Dietary Sources Of Vitamin C
Adults need about 45mg of vitamin C per day and any excess amount is excreted.
Vitamin C is sensitive to heat, so some of its nutritional benefits can be lost during cooking. Raw foods are more beneficial as dietary sources of vitamin C. These include:
- fruit oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, blackcurrants, mangoes, kiwifruits, rock melon, tomatoes and strawberries
- vegetables particularly green vegetables , cauliflower and potatoes.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Best Vitamin C To Use
Essential Nutrients For Your Body
Every day, your body produces skin, muscle, and bone. It churns out rich red blood that carries nutrients and oxygen to remote outposts, and it sends nerve signals skipping along thousands of miles of brain and body pathways. It also formulates chemical messengers that shuttle from one organ to another, issuing the instructions that help sustain your life.
But to do all this, your body requires some raw materials. These include at least 30 vitamins, minerals, and dietary components that your body needs but cannot manufacture on its own in sufficient amounts.
Vitamins and minerals are considered essential nutrientsbecause acting in concert, they perform hundreds of roles in the body. They help shore up bones, heal wounds, and bolster your immune system. They also convert food into energy, and repair cellular damage.
But trying to keep track of what all these vitamins and minerals do can be confusing. Read enough articles on the topic, and your eyes may swim with the alphabet-soup references to these nutrients, which are known mainly be their initials .
In this article, youll gain a better understanding of what these vitamins and minerals actually do in the body and why you want to make sure youre getting enough of them.
How Can I Get The Vitamins And Minerals I Need
It is usually better to get the nutrients you need from food, rather than a pill. Thats because nutrient-dense foods contain other things that are good for you, like fiber.
Most older adults can get all the nutrients they need from foods. But if you arent sure, always talk with your doctor or a registered dietitian to find out if you are missing any important vitamins or minerals. Your doctor or dietitian may recommend a vitamin or dietary supplement.
Its important to be aware that some supplements can have side effects, such as increasing the risk of bleeding after an injury or changing your response to anesthesia during surgery. Supplements can also interact with some medicines in ways that might cause problems. For example, vitamin K can reduce the ability of the common blood thinner warfarin to prevent blood from clotting. If you do need to supplement your diet, your doctor or pharmacist can tell you what supplements and doses are safe for you.
When looking for supplements to buy, you may feel overwhelmed by the number of choices at the pharmacy or grocery store. Look for a supplement that contains the vitamin or mineral you need without a lot of other unnecessary ingredients. Read the label to make sure the dose is not too large. Avoid supplements with megadoses. Too much of some vitamins and minerals can be harmful, and you might be paying for supplements you dont need. Your doctor or pharmacist can recommend brands that fit your needs.
Also Check: What Vitamins Help Speed Up Metabolism
The Role Of Vitamins And Minerals
The body has thousands of chemical reactions going on in each cell, every second of the day. The cells continually process the proteins, fats and carbohydrates from food.
Vitamins and minerals are essential parts of those chemical reactions. Without them, essential body functions couldn’t take place, but you only need very small amounts of them. Most people can get all the vitamins and minerals they need from a healthy diet.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Vegetables, are high in necessary nutrients. Whole grains like brown rice and quinoa are also high in vitamins, especially B vitamins such as vitamin B1 or thiamin, vitamin B2 or riboflavin, vitamin B3 or niacin, vitamin B6, and folate. White foods , which are highly processed, are low in vitamins and minerals.
You May Like: What Does Vitamin Cdo For The Body
Types Of Vitamins And Their Functions
Vitamins and minerals are a form of nutrient that are needed in small amounts. Although micronutrients dont give us energy, they are involved in the metabolic processes that enable us to get energy from carbohydrates, protein and fat, which are also known as macronutrients.
Different vitamins serve different purposes and contribute to different bodily functions. There are 13 vitamins in total and 8 of these come from the B-group of vitamins.
What Facts Should I Know About Vitamins And Minerals
What are vitamins and minerals?
- Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients required for healing and functioning of the body.
- When we don’t take in enough nutrients, vitamin and mineral deficiencies occur and diseases — even death — can result.
- Vitamins are classified as either water-soluble or fat-soluble.
- Minerals are classified as electrolytes or trace minerals.
What is the best way to get vitamins and minerals each day?
- Vitamins and minerals come from healthy foods, but many people do not eat enough of the right foods to ensure they get the entire recommended daily intake.
Recommended Reading: How Should I Take Vitamin D
Health Benefits Of Micronutrients
All micronutrients are extremely important for the proper functioning of your body.
Consuming an adequate amount of the different vitamins and minerals is key to optimal health and may even help fight disease.
This is because micronutrients are part of nearly every process in your body. Moreover, certain vitamins and minerals can act as antioxidants.
Antioxidants may protect against cell damage that has been associated with certain diseases, including cancer, Alzheimers and heart disease (
Certain minerals may also play a role in preventing and fighting disease.
Research has linked low blood levels of selenium to a higher risk of heart disease. A review of observational studies found that the risk of heart disease decreased by 24% when blood concentrations of selenium increased by 50% .
Additionally, a review of 22 studies noticed that adequate calcium intake decreases the risk of death from heart disease and all other causes .
These studies suggest that consuming enough of all micronutrients especially those with antioxidant properties provides ample health benefits.
However, its unclear whether consuming more than the recommended amounts of certain micronutrients either from foods or supplements offers additional benefits .
Micronutrients are part of nearly every process in your body. Some even act as antioxidants. Due to their important role in health, they may protect against diseases.
What Are The Recommended Daily Requirements For Vitamins And Minerals
Daily requirements have been set by the USDA to help us understand the bare minimum of the nutrients we need to prevent major disease. There are different needs based on age, pregnancy status, and sex. The requirements are reevaluated periodically as scientific knowledge evolves. For example, the recommended daily value for adults for vitamin D is only 400 IU, but more recent research suggests that requirements may be 1,000 IU-4,000 IU per day. The chart below shows the minimum daily requirements for vitamin A, vitamin B1 or thiamin, vitamin B2 or riboflavin, vitamin B3 or niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, ascorbic acid, vitamin D, vitamin E, folate, folic acid, vitamin K, calcium, chromium, copper, fluoride, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc.Chart of Vitamin and Mineral Recommendations
Also Check: What Vitamins Are Good To Take For Menopause
Vitamins Hang Out In Water And Fat
There are two types of vitamins: fat soluble and water soluble.
When you eat foods that contain fat-soluble vitamins, the vitamins are stored in the fat tissues in your body and in your liver. They wait around in your body fat until your body needs them.
Fat-soluble vitamins are happy to stay stored in your body for a long time. Then, when it’s time for them to be used, special carriers in your body take them to where they’re needed. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat-soluble vitamins.
Water-soluble vitamins are different. These vitamins dissolve in water. When you eat foods that have water-soluble vitamins, the vitamins are not stored in your body. Instead, they travel through your bloodstream. Whatever your body doesn’t use comes out when you urinate .
So water-soluble vitamins need to be replaced often because they don’t stick around! This crowd of vitamins includes vitamin C and the big group of B vitamins B1 , B2 , niacin, B6 , folic acid, B12 , biotin, and pantothenic acid.
Vitamin Cheat Sheet: Vitamins A To K And What They Do For Your Health
When it comes to getting the nutrients we need, the best possible source is food, specifically fruits and vegetables. They lend support to our bodies, which cant produce enough of the nutrients necessary for it to function properly. When the food necessary to attain the recommended daily intake of these vitamins isn’t available, however, there are supplement pills. But what role do specific vitamins play when it comes to our health?
Vitamins A to K all have important jobs in the body. They can be grouped into two categories: fat-soluble vitamins, which are stored in the bodys fatty tissue , and water-soluble vitamins, which the body uses right away. Vitamin B12 is the only water-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the liver for many years.
Don’t Miss: What Vitamins Do I Need
What Are The Benefits To Vitamin And Mineral Supplements
The benefits of vitamins and minerals can be obtained by either eating more foods rich in vitamins and minerals or by taking supplements. The benefits can include increased energy, healthier hair and skin, and prevention of heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases. For example, research shows that vitamins A, C, and E may play a role in the prevention of cancer. Minerals, such as iodine and selenium, are essential for normal thyroid function.
A Closer Look At Antioxidants
Antioxidant is a catchall term for any compound that can counteract unstable molecules such as free radicals that damage DNA, cell membranes, and other parts of cells.
Your body cells naturally produce plenty of antioxidants to put on patrol. The foods you eatand, perhaps, some of the supplements you takeare another source of antioxidant compounds. Carotenoids and flavonoids are antioxidants. The vitamins C and E and the mineral selenium also have antioxidant properties.
Don’t Miss: How Much Vitamin C Is Good For You
How To Count Your Vitamin And Minerals Consumption
Keeping a meal journal could help you to count your daily consumption. This is also a way of how you can take care and count on your vitamin and mineral consumption. Our body needs balanced foods for a proper and healthy life along the way. Some meal journals not only provide on how much calories and carbohydrates to track down, but also on the consumption of vitamin and mineral with a personalized vitamin and mineral chart. It contains the needs you have to also take care of. This is because vitamin and mineral are necessary to make sure of your growth, development and other body functions.