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The Importance Of Micronutrients For Good Health!

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

According to Dr Abizer Manked (Consulting Physician and Diabetologist) from Saifee Hospital, micronutrients are known to be a major nutrient group that the human body requires.   They include Vitamins –Vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and Minerals – Iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc and selenium.  

There are 30 vitamins and minerals, called essential micronutrients, that your body cannot produce in sufficient amounts on its own. Scurvy, which causes bleeding gums and listlessness, was discovered centuries ago by British sailors who went months without eating fresh fruits or vegetables, the main source of vitamin C. People in many low-income countries suffer from a variety of nutrient-deficiency disorders even today.

The Importance Of Micronutrients For Good Health! - PharmEasy

Because our bodies do not create micronutrients in sufficient quantities, a diet rich in vitamins and minerals is needed for good health. Vitamins are organic and can be broken down by factors such as heat, oxygen or acid. This means that they can degrade when cooked or exposed to air, making it slightly harder to ensure that we consume enough of them in our diet. Minerals, on the other hand, are inorganic and do not undergo this process. This means that our bodies absorb minerals from the soil and water in which our food is grown.

While Vitamins are essential for the immune system, blood clotting and the consistent production of energy in the body, minerals play a vital role in maintaining bone health, growth, balancing fluids and a number of other processes. Micronutrients are also referred to as ‘essential nutrients’ as they form an important part of daily food, for the body to obtain the required vitamins and minerals.

Types and Functions

Micronutrients, vitamins and minerals are broadly classified into four categories that include: water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, macro minerals and trace minerals. All of these are absorbed by the body in similar ways and tend to interact amidst processes within.

Water-soluble vitamins are known to dissolve easily and do not remain stored in the body if consumed in excess, as they get flushed out through urination. They include – Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and the vitamin B complex: thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), Vitamin B6, biotin (B7), folic acid (B9), Vitamin B12 and Vitamin A (in its Beta-Carotene form). While each of them has an individual part to play, their functions are all interrelated.  

B vitamins and vitamin C are two of the most important water-soluble vitamins. Because your body cannot store them for later use, you must consume more of them on a daily basis. Any water-soluble vitamins that your body does not utilize immediately away are excreted by the body. They also assist your body in obtaining energy. Additionally, they support the health of your cells, particularly red blood cells.

Conversely, fat-soluble vitamins do not dissolve in water and are known to get absorbed when consumed along with a source of fat, after which they are stored in one’s liver and fatty tissues, to contribute to functions in the future.

Vitamins A, D, E and K are among them. They can remain in your body for later usage once you obtain them. They are stored in fatty tissue and the liver of your body. They are beneficial to eye health as well as the immune system. They also aid in the healing of injuries.

With respect to essential minerals, Macro minerals are required in huge amounts in order to perform their respective roles in the body. They include – calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride and sulphur. Trace minerals, on the other hand, include – iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride and selenium, and are required in small amounts to efficiently perform functions in the body.

Microminerals are a necessary component of the human diet. They’re essential for the health of your muscles and bones. They help to keep your blood pressure in check as well. Trace minerals are essential for muscle health, the functioning of the nervous system and cell damage repair.

Vitamins and carotenoids are key micronutrients facilitating the maintenance of health, as evidenced by the increased risk of disease with low intake. Micronutrients play a central part in metabolism and in the maintenance of tissue function. Clearly, micronutrients are an integral part of the immune system, and the body needs optimal levels for effective immune response.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD


The prime benefit of a balanced amount of micronutrients in the body is to effectively support functions within. Vitamins and Minerals are essential for combating diseases, thereby improving the immune system, as they form an integral part of almost every internal process while maintaining one’s metabolism.

Some micronutrients also serve as antioxidants and aid in preventing oxidative cell damage, as well as lowering the risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s, among others. A number of them also fights to age.

As they are required in smaller amounts, micronutrients are commonly known as ”magic wands” as behind the scenes, they synthesize DNA and significantly contribute to the production of enzymes, and other important hormones in the body, which are crucial for the effective growth and development of the human body.

Abnormal intestinal absorption or defective transport across the intestinal wall due to intestinal surgeries, cancers, and critical illnesses are commonly implicated in the causation of micronutrient deficiencies.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj, M.B.B.S., M.D.


The deficiency of micronutrients is a global issue, as consuming lesser than the required amounts can create a host of harmful side effects in the body.

Micronutrient deficiencies can produce evident and potentially hazardous health problems, but they can also induce less clinically noticeable declines in energy, mental clarity and overall capacity. This can result in poor educational performance, decreased work productivity and an increased risk of contracting additional diseases and illnesses.

While adults are known to consume adequate vitamins and minerals daily through food and fluids, but on the other hand; women, children and senior citizens are prone to a deficiency of these essential micronutrients, which include – Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, Iron and Calcium. These deficiencies are not only found in developing nations but also in developed ones.

B12 deficiency is commonly observed in people who adhere to a purely vegan diet, are taking certain medications, or suffer from diseases like atrophic gastritis, inflammatory bowel disease and other endocrinal disorders. Early symptoms of b12 deficiency, however, are usually very mild, such as irritation, lack of concentration, tingling sensation in one’s soles, etc.

As another vital micronutrient, the consumption of iodine through salt is imperative for growing children, and a deficiency of the same can cause severe brain damage. This tends to keep them away from attaining their intellectual and developmental potential.

Deficiency of iron is observed especially in women who need it the most. This leads to a higher risk of maternal mortality, and making a person prone to anaemia, resulting in weariness. Weak immunity is another long-term negative effect of iron deficiency. While the deficiencies of these micronutrients are not always visible or detected promptly, they can have significant adverse effects on the functioning of the body and mind, in the long haul.

Also Read: Honey Dew Fruit: Unraveling Its Research-Based Health Benefits

Choosing foods to get enough Micronutrients

While supplements are a safe source of availing essential micronutrients and preventing any kind of deficiency, the most effective way is through the consumption of nutritious food.

Following are some of the foods that can be included in one’s daily diet to absorb required micronutrients: Vitamin A –cheese, milk, egg yolk, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables; Vitamin B –whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and leafy vegetables; Vitamin C and D–broccoli, cabbage, parsley, strawberry and citrus fruits; Vitamin E –olive oil, wholegrain cereals and avocado; Iron –leafy vegetables, legumes and lean meat; Calcium – almonds and dairy products; Magnesium – seeds, whole grains and nuts; Zinc – chicken, fish, pumpkin and sunflower seeds; Selenium – sunflower seeds, oats and wheat germ.

Also Read: Vitamin B Complex Benefits: Exploring Research-Based Health Perks

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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