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The Role of Micronutrients in Body for Good Health

12 January, 2021 Sneha Wandhare

Nutrients are classified into macronutrients and micronutrients depending on the quantity required by the body. Both macronutrients and micronutrients are crucial for body health. Macronutrients are required in bulk quantities like proteins, carbohydrates, and fats and micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals required in negligible amounts. Although micronutrients are required in small amounts, they are vital for the growth of a healthy body. Micronutrients work with macronutrients and support all regions of the body.

The human body is incapable of producing all vitamins and minerals on its own and there are such 30 vitamins and minerals called the "essential micronutrients". Micronutrients handle a variety of functions of the body such as stimulating the production of hormones, enzymes that impact the growth and development of the body. The deficiency of these can cause severe health problems and impact day-to-day life and sometimes can also be life-threatening.

Types of Micronutrients:

1. Water soluble vitamins: These are the vitamins that dissolve in water. Water-soluble vitamins include vitamins B, C, and B12. Most of these vitamins are not stored in the body except B12 and are flushed out of the body in urine. These vitamins provide energy for cell immunity to metabolic stress and help in creating new red blood cells.

2. Fat soluble vitamins: These are the vitamins that are soluble in fats and not in water and are preserved in the liver or other fatty tissues. These include vitamin A, D, E, and K, which protects vision, strengthens the immune system, and provides antioxidants.

3. Micro minerals: These include common minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. These minerals strengthen the bone and muscles and also help in regulating blood pressure.

4. Trace minerals: These minerals include iron, manganese, copper, zinc, and selenium. These are needed in smaller quantities and hence the name traces minerals. These provide oxygen to the muscles and aid in the functioning of the nervous system and fight against cell damage because of stress.

Why Micronutrients are Important?

Micronutrient deficiency causes many severe diseases that can also lead to death in some conditions. Some deficiencies are noticeable while some go unnoticed and cause health issues. These deficiencies lower the energy level and influence concentration which affects work productivity and academic progress and also makes people more susceptible to diseases and health conditions.

  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D is responsible for bone-strengthening; it helps the body to absorb calcium and prevents osteoporosis in old age. It helps the immune system to fight bacteria and viruses. Deficiency of vitamin D causes bone diseases, osteoporosis in adults and rickets in children.
  • Iron: Deficiency of iron, vitamin A and vitamin B12 is most common in children and women all over the world. Iron deficiency is a preeminent cause of anemia. Globally, around 43% of children younger than 5 years of age and 40% of women are anemic. Anemia during pregnancy is of death risk to the mother and causes babies to be born underweight.
  • Vitamin A: Deficiency of Vitamin-A increases the possibility of blindness and death risk from infections such as measles and diarrhea. It also alters the functioning of the immune system.
  • Iodine: Iodine is very essential for women during pregnancy and in children for their healthy growth and development. Fortifying salt with iodine is the preferred strategy for controlling iodine deficiency.
  • Zinc: Zinc enhances the functioning of the immune system and helps in protecting against infectious diseases diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria. It also decreases respiratory problems and helps infants and children to gain weight.
  • Folate (Vitamin B): Folic acid is another form of vitamin B9, responsible for the health and development of the brain and spine during fetal growth. Deficiency of folate causes neural tube defects which affect the development of the fetus and can also lead to death.


Daily requirement of your body vitamins and minerals needs to be completed with your diet rather than depending on supplements. Consuming a well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, proteins, healthy fats such as nuts and olive oil is the ideal way to consume micronutrients.

Outlook

Micronutrients are important in the growth and development of the body. It not only strengthens the bone and muscle but also helps in improving immunity and controlling blood pressure. Various multivitamin and minerals supplements are available in the market, however it is recommended to take them from food sources as much as possible. Try different colors in fruits and vegetables; make it interesting, nutritional and healthy.

 

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