They may be “small” but the role they play in human nutrition is definitely a big one. Micronutrients are essential to our health and well-being. Aside from nourishing us from the inside and out, they aid us in the prevention and treatment of various diseases and medical conditions. Also, micronutrients help ensure optimum physical and cognitive function. This is why if you want to live a longer and healthier life and be the best you can be, it’s important to make micronutrients an integral part of your daily life.
Function of Micronutrients
Micronutrients are described as the “magic wands” that allow the human body to create and produce enzymes, hormones, and other vital substances that we need for growth and development, as well as the regulation of heartbeat, cellular pH, bone density, and other various bodily functions like metabolism. Micronutrients are called as such because they are needed only in very small amounts. But as minuscule the required amounts are, the lack of micronutrients can have serious consequences. Not having enough micronutrients in our diet can make us more prone to diseases such as rickets (insufficient vitamin D), scurvy (insufficient vitamin C), and osteoporosis (insufficient calcium).
Types of Micronutrients
While macronutrients have three classifications (fat, protein, and carbohydrates), micronutrients have only two types: vitamins and minerals. Each of them has their own subtypes and functions depending on their classification.
Vitamins are a group of organic compounds that we need to ensure proper growth and nutrition. As mentioned earlier, we only need a small amount of them because the human body cannot synthesize them. There are two forms of vitamins: water-soluble and fat soluble.
Water-soluble vitamins are easily lost as we expel them through our bodily fluids such as sweat and urine. Because they are easily lost, they must be replaced every day. Water-soluble vitamins include B-complex vitamins, such as vitamins B6 and B12 (two of the most well-known B-complex vitamins) and vitamin C.