Micronutrients are essential elements required by humans, animals, and plants in small quantities throughout life to organize a range of bodily functions to maintain health. Micronutrient requirements are different for various organisms. For example, humans and other animals require many dietary vitamins and minerals and plants require specific minerals. Micronutrient requirement for human nutrition is generally in amounts less than 100 milligrams per day. On the other side, macronutrients are required in quantities of grams per day. There are macronutrients like protein, carbohydrates, and fat which are well-known. Let’s try to find out what is the importance of Micronutrients for human health.
Micronutrients are exactly the opposite of macronutrients and are exactly what the name implies, They are necessary only in small amounts. But don’t underestimate them, even though only small amounts are required they are absolutely essential for maintaining good health. Micronutrients include everything from iodine to zinc and all of them are necessary for all many systems in the body to function correctly.
What role do Micronutrients play in your health?
Micronutrients, commonly referred to as vitamins and Minerals are key to good health. Many micronutrients like vitamins C, A, D, E and K, and the B-complex vitamins are well-known. There are selenium, copper, Magnesium, and zinc which are lesser known but equally important.
They are called micronutrients because our body needs only very small amounts of them. However, missing these very small amounts can lead to serious health conditions.
Here are just a few things micronutrients do:
Vitamin E is essential for reproductive health, immune function, healthy skin, and antioxidant defense, and it protects cell membranes.
Folate or Folic Acid (vitamin B9) is essential for DNA synthesis. It also supports cell repair and growth. It is recommended to take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid before and during pregnancy. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of folic acid for adults is 400 micrograms(mcg). For women who are planning the pregnancy or are pregnant, the RDA is 400-800 mcg daily. Folic acid can help prevent birth defects in your baby’s brain and spinal cord.
Magnesium is the second most important mineral (after Calcium) essential for bones and teeth. Magnesium is essential for muscle contraction and nerve function. Magnesium keeps the heartbeat steady and supports a healthy immune system. It also helps in the production of energy and protein and helps to regulate blood glucose levels.
Copper is needed for iron transport and storage in the body. Copper works with iron to help the body create red blood cells(RBC). Copper plays role in growing and maintaining healthy connective tissues.
Zinc is found in cells throughout the body. Zinc is needed for the immune system to function properly. Zinc is also required for cell growth, cell division, wound healing, and the breakdown of carbohydrates. Zinc is also required for the senses of smell and taste.
Selenium is an essential mineral found in small amounts in the body. Selenium has antioxidant properties. Antioxidant reduce the damage caused by free radicals. Selenium plays a role in thyroid function.
Eight B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12) typically referred to as Vitamin B-Complex help body to form red blood cells, and play a vital role in certain bodily functions. Vitamin B complex help converts your food into energy and thus allowing you to keep energized throughout the day.
Vitamin A is needed for forming and maintaining healthy teeth, bones, mucous membranes, soft tissue, and skin. Vitamin B6 helps the body to form red blood cells and maintain brain function. Vitamin A plays an important role in the proteins that are part of many chemical reactions in the body. The more protein you consume, more Vitamin A you need.
Vitamin C plays an important role in the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It helps the body to produce make collagen which is an important protein used to make skin, ligaments, cartilage, tendons, and blood vessels. Vitamin C is essential for maintaining the healthy immune system. Vitamin C is also required for healing wounds, and for repairing and maintaining bones and teeth.
Vitamin D is required for proper absorption of calcium. Hence most calcium supplements come with Vitamin D as well. Vitamin D promotes bone growth. Vitamin D deficiency may result in soft bones in children and fragile, misshapen bones in adults (osteomalacia).
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, so your body stores it in fat tissue and the liver. It is best known for its role in helping blood clot, or coagulate properly. Vitamin K plays the vital role in bone health.
How to get Enough Vitamins and Minerals?
The first and best step you can take in making sure you get enough micronutrients is to eat a healthy and balanced diet. A balanced diet is one that gives your body the nutrients it needs to function properly and maintains or improve overall health. A healthy diet provides the body with essential nutrition: enough fluids, adequate essential amino acids from protein, essential omega fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and adequate calories.
Eating plenty of nuts, whole grains, and leafy vegetables and fruits is a great start. A plant-based diet is typically healthier but can fall short in some areas. To be sure you are getting the micronutrients your body needs in today’s fast-paced environment more and more people are using supplements.
You can include multivitamins supplement and other organic supplements in your diet after consulting with your physician.
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