What are Micro-nutrients

Micronutrients are a major group of nutrients that are required like Macronutrients to make your body and brain function properly. The reason they are call "micro" is because you need smaller amounts of them relative to Macronutrients. You can break Micronutrients into 2 main groups of vitamins and minerals.

  • Vitamins are necessary for energy production, immune function, blood clotting and other functions.
  • Minerals are necessary for growth, bone health, fluid balance and several other processes.

You must obtain these Micronutrients from the food you eat or through supplements as the human body cannot produce them.

Water-soluble vitamins

Water-soluble vitamins travel freely through the body, and excess amounts usually are excreted by the kidneys. The body needs water-soluble vitamins in frequent, small doses. These vitamins are not as likely as fat-soluble vitamins to reach toxic levels. But niacin, vitamin B6, folate, choline, and vitamin C have upper consumption limits. Vitamin B6 at high levels over a long period of time has been shown to cause irreversible nerve damage.

Fat-soluble vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body's cells and are not excreted as easily as water-soluble vitamins. They do not need to be consumed as often as water-soluble vitamins, although adequate amounts are needed. If you take too much of a fat-soluble vitamin, it could become toxic. 

The body needs many minerals; these are called essential minerals. Essential minerals are sometimes divided up into major minerals (macrominerals) and trace minerals (microminerals). These two groups of minerals are equally important, but trace minerals are needed in smaller amounts than major minerals. The amounts needed in the body are not an indication of their importance.

A balanced diet usually provides all of the essential minerals. The two tables below list minerals, what they do in the body (their functions), and their sources in food.

Trace minerals (microminerals)

The body needs trace minerals in very small amounts. Note that iron is considered to be a trace mineral, although the amount needed is somewhat more than for other microminerals.