Have you ever wondered about the food you eat every day and how it provides nutrition to your body? The nutrients in your daily diet are responsible for the proper functioning of your body. These nutrients are of two types one is macronutrients, and the other is micronutrients. The nutrients required in higher quantities are referred to as macronutrients, whereas those needed in smaller amounts are referred to as micronutrients.
Today, we will know more about the various aspects of micronutrients. We reccomend you consult your Sports Nutritionist to learn more about this.
Our body needs these major groups of nutrients, which generally include vitamins and minerals. The functions like energy production, hemoglobin synthesis, building immunity, and maintaining bone health are carried out by micronutrients. In addition, they protect our body from oxidative damage and assist with recovery from injury by repairing muscle tissue.
Even though these micronutrients are required in lesser quantities, they play a vital role in the metabolic activities of our body. Therefore, we consume various food products as a source of these nutrients since our bodies cannot produce them. Adequate intake of these items is essential as inadequate or excess intake can cause several disorders. Also, every food has a different quantity of vitamins and minerals, so we must consume various foods.
Types of Micronutrients and Their Functions
Micronutrients are mainly classified into four categories – water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, macrominerals, and trace minerals. Each of these categories has some micronutrients that perform specific functions.
Most vitamins usually dissolve in the water; hence, we call them water-soluble. Storing these vitamins in our body is difficult since they get flushed out with urine when consumed in excess. These vitamins are essential for the production of energy in our bodies. Therefore, consuming enough vitamins from different foods is important as we cannot store them in the body.
Following are the vitamins in this category – Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (niacin), Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), Vitamin B7 (biotin), Vitamin B9 (folate), Vitamin B12 (cobalamin), and Vitamin C (ascorbic acid). These vitamins perform functions such as energy production, fat metabolism, fatty acid synthesis, creation of red blood cells, and creation of collagen and neurotransmitters.
These micronutrients are not like water-soluble vitamins since they dissolve in fat, not water. Therefore, for best absorption, we need to consume these vitamins alongside a source of fat. Once consumed, these vitamins get stored in our liver and fatty tissues for further use.
The following vitamins fall under this category: Vitamin A, D, E, and K. The important functions carried out by these vitamins include organ functioning and proper vision, better immunity and bone growth, protection of cells from damage, and clotting of blood.
Macrominerals are essential nutrients for our body since they perform specific functions. As compared to trace minerals, these are required in larger quantities. These minerals are important for muscle and bone health. Following are some minerals in this category and their specific roles in our body.
Calcium is important for the functioning and structure of teeth and bones. Phosphorus is a part of our cell membrane structure and all our bones. Magnesium has a crucial role in several enzyme reactions and regulates blood pressure. Sodium is necessary for fluid balance, and Chloride is used to make digestive juices. Potassium helps with nerve transmission and muscle function, while Sulfur is a part of all living tissues.
These nutrients are required in minimal quantities but perform vital functions in our bodies. For example, these trace minerals are essential for our muscle health, functioning of the nervous system, and repairing cell damage. Following are the nutrients in this category of trace minerals with their key functions.
Iron is important for supplying oxygen and creating hormones. Manganese assists our body in the metabolism of amino acids, carbohydrates, and cholesterol. Copper is necessary for the formation of connective tissue and the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system. Zinc is crucial for growth and immunity, while Iodine and Selenium assist in regulating the thyroid. Fluoride contributes to the development of bones and teeth.
If the world of nutrition and sports excites you, you could also complete a sports nutrition certification. It can benefit you and many others too. Test with us at the American Sports & Fitness Association today.