Micronutrients are important to the human body. You’ll need enoughof themif you want to stay healthy. All foods provide macronutrients and micronutrients likevitamins and minerals.

Micronutrients are in the list of major categories of nutrients needed in the body. Nutrients are divided into macronutrients and micronutrients. Micronutrients are required in small quantities, unlike macronutrients which are needed in large amounts. If you’re observant, you’ll notice proteins areusually given more attentionthan vitamins. This is because proteins aremacronutrients while the latter aremicronutrients. Although micronutrients are required in small portions, they’re critical for a normal and healthy body condition.

What are the types of micronutrients?

Macronutrients are usually prioritized and regarded as more important in the body yet micronutrients are equally important. Micronutrients are grouped into four main groups which include;

Fat-soluble vitaminsdissolve in fat but not water. For example,Vitamin K, E,D, and A. Once you consume them they’ll remain useful in the body for long periods. The body will store them in liver and fatty tissue. Youreye health and immune system will greatly benefit from this kindof micronutrient. Also, they have healingabilities hence useful when wounded.To get enough amounts of it you’ll have to consume foods like milk, almonds, sweet potatoes, soybeans, and sweet potatoes.

Water-soluble vitaminsdissolve in water and they include Vitamin C and B vitamins. With this group, you’ll have to feed on them daily because your body cannot store them for future use. Any water-soluble vitamin that is not used right away will get removed from the body through urine. Consuming them will give your body energy, and strengthen vital cells like redblood cells. Foods that’ll help you get sufficient amount of this type of micronutrient include citrus fruits, whole grains, lean meats, fish, dark leafy greens, eggs, and bell peppers.

Trace mineralsinclude selenium, manganese, copper, iron, and zinc. Getting enough quantities will improve your muscle health, repair damaged cells, and promote a healthy nervous system. Sources of trace minerals include oysters, legumes like peanuts, nuts like cashews, andgreens like spinach

Micromineralsare important nutrients and they includepotassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium. Adding themto your diet will improve your bone and muscle health, and stabilize your blood pressure. For example,dairy products, lentils, fish, bananas, and black beans.

Why are micronutrients important?

Taking foods that provide sufficient micronutrients will protect your body from many healthconditions. According to research, staying for months without sources of vitamin C such as fruits and vegetables causes bleeding gums and scurvy-both diseases that are often fatal. Sadly, most people, especially in low-income countries,suffer from nutrient-deficiency diseases. Insufficient or lack of a single nutrient directly causes a specific disease. Mineralshelp to prevent and fight diseases. Eating less than the recommended amounts of minerals, vitamins, and other compounds will still result in major illnesses like cancer, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, and heart conditions. Therefore, micronutrients should be given the same attention as any other major food group.

Are you consuming enough micronutrients?

So, how will you make sure you’re meeting your nutrient requirements? Unfortunately, most individuals don’t know the importance of having adequate micronutrients in their diet. The best way to obtain minerals and vitaminsis by consuminga well-rounded diet. It should have lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, lean protein, and healthy fats like olive oil and nuts. Still, micronutrients are required at specific levels to perform their functions effectively in your body. Having too little or much mineral or vitamin will result in unpleasantside effects. Certain micronutrient deficiencies are common to most people. The most-reported deficiencies include;

  • Calcium-most adults, especially individuals over 50 have inadequate amounts of calcium.
  • Vitamin A-most women and children, particularly in poorly developed countries don’t consume enough of this nutrient.
  • Vitamin B12-vegetarians and vegans may get vitamin B12 deficiency because of refraining from animal matter. Aged individuals are also at high riskbecause of poor absorption caused by old age.
  • Vitamin D-more than 70%of Americans have vitamin D deficiency due to inadequate exposure to the sun.
  • Iron-vegans, menstruating women, and preschool kids are at the highest risk of getting deficiency of this mineral.

What are the symptoms of micronutrient deficiency?

The side effects of a micronutrientdeficiency dependon which nutrient your body lacks.General symptoms you’ll experience may include;

  • Body weakness
  • Abnormally pale skin
  • Unusual food cravings
  • Sleepiness
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Joint’s numbness
  • Poor concentration abilities
  • Menstrual complications like too heavy cycles or missed periods
  • Frequent fainting episodes

How are micronutrient deficiencies managed?

How a deficiency of micronutrients will be treated depends on the deficiency’s severity and its type.Your physician will find out the seriousness of your deficiency and the possible long-term issues that’ll occur due to lack of nutrients. More tests will be done to check if there is any other damage to your body. The doctor will then decide on a treatment plan. Options that’ll help treat micronutritiondeficiencies include;

Changing diet

The most effective approach for nutritionaldeficiency is changing diet. However, this option works best if your deficiency is minor. For example, if you have iron deficiency, you’ll switchto a diet that has more legumes, vegetables, dark meat poultry, and eggs. You can get a dietician if you have a much severe deficiency. You’ll also have regular blood tests to check if you’re still deficient or not.

Micronutrients supplements

Using food sources is the healthiest and surest way to get the right amounts of micronutrients. However, if you still have inadequate levels despite taking micronutrient-based foods, your doctor may confirm if dietary supplements are safe for you. Multivitamins are the most popular supplement individuals use to fulfill their micronutrient needs. These supplements are available in a pharmacy and some grocery stores. Although supplementsare helpful, they should not replace a balanced diet because food sources will help you obtaina variety of nutrients.


Micronutrients are important nutrients yet they don’t receive the attention they deserve. If you want a healthy brain, nerves, bone, skin, immune system, and blood circulation, your body needs enough supply of both micronutrients and macronutrients. Failing to get adequate amounts of all nutrients will guarantee poor health. So, while you focus on a balanced diet that has all the main food group types, include micronutrients too.

Charlotte Cremers
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MS, University of Tartu
Sleep specialist

Using the acquired academic and professional experience, I advise patients with various complaints about mental health - depressed mood, nervousness, lack of energy and interest, sleep disorders, panic attacks, obsessive thoughts and anxieties, difficulty concentrating, and stress. In my free time, I love to paint and go on long walks on the beach. One of my latest obsessions is sudoku – a wonderful activity to calm an unease mind.

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