What are micronutrients?
First, you have to know your difference between micros and macros. Macronutrients are proteins, carbohydrates and fat that are required by the body in large quantities for fuel. Micronutrients, on the other hand, are vitamins and minerals which are needed in smaller quantities, but are absolutely necessary for optimum performance of the body and mind.
The difference between minerals and vitamins
Some vitamins and minerals can be made by the body, but we gain the majority of our requirement from the food we consume. Vitamins are molecules that contain carbon and are either water or fat soluble. Their composition can be affected by heat, oxygen or chemical processes, which means raw food contains higher levels of vitamins than food that has been processed or cooked. Minerals, on the other hand, are molecules that do not contain carbon and cannot be destroyed by heat or light.
Every process of the body requires vitamins and minerals and every specific vitamin and mineral will play a number of different roles – macronutrients might be providing the energy in the form of calories you require but it’s micronutrients that are assisting your body in utilising that energy.
If you eat a balanced and varied diet then you should be receiving all the nutrients you need, but a combination of modern farming methods, dietary restrictions or an increased requirement due to pregnancy or illness, have meant more and more of us are at risk of developing a worrying deficiency in these valuable nutrients. The most recent statistics from the UK government’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey found that 23 per cent of women had low iron intakes and there was evidence of low levels of vitamin D in all age groups.
If you have a vitamin or mineral deficiency, then you’ll quickly see an impact on how efficiently your body performs and the potential development of a number of related health concerns.
5 of the most important micronutrients
All vitamins and minerals are important, but here’s our nutrient hit list:
- Vitamin D; essential for strong bones and maintaining your immune system
- Magnesium; previously we could get all the magnesium we required from our diet but a depletion of magnesium levels has been recorded in food sources. Magnesium is used by the body to produce energy and it benefits the production of healthy teeth, bones and the heart.
- Vitamin B; there are actually a number of different B vitamins and all play slightly different but essential roles in the body.
- Iron; a deficiency in this mineral can result in the development of anemia and can cause fatigue.
- Calcium; this mineral is required by the body for strong bones and teeth and a healthy heart. If your intake of calcium is too low, the body takes what it needs from your bone reserves which is why a calcium disease results in bone-related problems.
If you’re worried that you might have a vitamin and mineral deficiency, there are a number of tests that can be carried out. IV nutrient therapy is an effective method to ensure optimum levels of vitamins and minerals; our Myers Cocktail combines many of these essential nutrients, making it an increasingly popular choice.