Micronutrients are one of the major groups of nutrients the 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. Think of micronutrients as the key to unlock cellular health.
What are micronutrients?
The term micronutrients is used to describe vitamins and minerals in general. Macronutrients, on the other hand, include proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The body needs smaller amounts of micronutrients relative to macronutrients, thus the label “micro.”
Humans must obtain micronutrients from food since the body is unable to produce vitamins and minerals, hence the reference, essential nutrients.
Vitamins are organic compounds made by plants and animals that can be broken down by heat, acid or air. Minerals are inorganic, exist in soil or water and can not be broken down. Eating an omnivore diet, vitamins and minerals are consumed from plants and animals. The micronutrient content of each food is different, it is 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.
Vitamins and minerals are vital for growth, immune function, brain development and many other important functions. Depending on their function, certain micronutrients also play a role in preventing and fighting disease.
Types and Functions of Micronutrients
Vitamins and minerals can be divided into four categories: water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, macrominerals and trace minerals. Regardless of type, vitamins and minerals are absorbed in similar ways in your body and interact in many processes.
Most vitamins dissolve in water and are therefore known as water-soluble. Water soluble vitamins are not easily stored in the body and get flushed out with urine when consumed in excess.
The water-soluble vitamins and some of their functions are:
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine): Helps convert nutrients into energy.
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): Necessary for energy production, cell function and fat metabolism.
- Vitamin B3 (niacin): Drives the production of energy from food.
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Necessary for fatty acid synthesis.
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): Helps your body release sugar from stored carbohydrates for energy and create red blood cells.
- Vitamin B7 (biotin): Plays a role in the metabolism of fatty acids, amino acids and glucose.
- Vitamin B9 (folate): Important for proper cell division.
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamin): Necessary for red blood cell formation and proper nervous system and brain function.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): Required for the creation of neurotransmitters and collagen, the main protein in your skin.
Water-soluble vitamins play an important role in producing energy. Since these vitamins are not stored in your body, it is important to get enough from food or a trusted and quality supplement such as Body Fuse Natural Selection.
Fat-soluble vitamins do not dissolve in water. These types of vitamins are best absorbed when consumed alongside a source of fat. After consumption, they are stored in your liver and fatty tissues for future use.
The names and functions of fat-soluble vitamins are:
- Vitamin A: Necessary for proper vision and organ function.
- Vitamin D: Promotes proper immune function and assists in calcium absorption and bone growth.
- Vitamin E: Assists immune function and acts as an antioxidant that protects cells from damage.
- Vitamin K: Required for blood clotting and proper bone development.
Macrominerals are needed in larger amounts than trace minerals in order to perform their specific roles in your body.
The macrominerals and some of their functions are:
- Calcium: Necessary for proper structure and function of bones and teeth. Assists in muscle function and blood vessel contraction.
- Phosphorus: Part of bone and cell membrane structure.
- Magnesium: Assists with over 300 enzyme reactions, including regulation of blood pressure.
- Sodium: Electrolyte that aids fluid balance and maintenance of blood pressure.
- Chloride: Often found in combination with sodium. Helps maintain fluid balance and is used to make digestive juices.
- Potassium: Electrolyte that maintains fluid status in cells and helps with nerve transmission and muscle function.
Sulfur: Part of every living tissue and contained in the amino acids methionine and cysteine.
Trace minerals are needed in smaller amounts than macrominerals but still enable important functions in your body.
The trace minerals and some of their functions are:
- Iron: Helps provide oxygen to muscles and assists in the creation of certain hormones.
- Manganese: Assists in carbohydrate, amino acid and cholesterol metabolism.
- Copper: Required for connective tissue formation, as well as normal brain and nervous system function.
- Zinc: Necessary for normal growth, immune function and wound healing.
- Iodine: Assists in thyroid regulation.
- Fluoride: Necessary for the development of bones and teeth.
- Selenium: Important for thyroid health, reproduction and defense against oxidative damage.
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. Micronutrients are part of nearly every process in your body. Moreover, certain vitamins and minerals can act as antioxidants.
Studies have shown, antioxidants may protect against cell damage that has been associated with certain diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
Micronutrients are part of nearly every process in your body. Get your daily dose of micronutrients with Body Fuse Natural Selection Daily Multivitamin & Mineral gel cap.
Street, Lizzie (9.27.18). Micronutrients, types, functions, benefits & more. https://www.healthlin.com/nutrition/micronutrients