The definition of micronutrients describes one of the main groups of nutrients that the body needs in small amounts as part of a balanced diet. This type of nutrients includes vitamins and minerals. Vitamins are organic compounds needed by the body in small amounts for use in metabolic processes. Including respiration, growth, and immune system function. The second type of micronutrient are minerals. They are defined as inorganic chemical elements that the body needs for metabolic processes such as growth, repair, and bone health.
Some Examples of Micronutrients
- Vitamin A is found in dairy products (cheese and cream), but also carrots, beef etc.
- Vitamin C is commonly found in citrus fruits and peppers (especially green peppers)
- Vitamin K can be found in leafy green vegetables like kale, lettuce.
- B-complex – Vitamins B1-B12 are found in meats, leafy greens.
- Iron can be found in leafy greens. Most notably spinach and (white) beans
- Calcium is found in dairy products and broccoli
- Potassium Bananas and lentils
Recommended amounts of Vitamins and Minerals per day
Since everyone has a different body and metabolism. These numbers are merely a suggestions and recommendations. If drastic change is needed in your lifestyle to meet some of the requirements, consult your doctor.
Adult Men and Women are considered individuals between ages 19 and 50 and older adults refers to everyone over 50.
|Micronutrient||Adult Men||Adult Women||Older Adult Men||Older Adult Women|
|Vitamin A||900 mcg/d||700 mcg/d||900 mcg/d||700 mcg/d|
|Vitamin C||250 mg/d||250 mg/d||250 mg/d||250 mg/d|
|Vitamin D||25 mcg/d||25 mcg/d||25 mcg/d||25 mcg/d|
|Vitamin E||15 mg/d||15 mg/d||15 mg/d||15 mg/d|
|Vitamin K||120 mcg/d||90 mcg/d||120 mcg/d||90 mcg/d|
|Vitamin B1 (thiamine)||1.2 mg/d||1.1 mg/d||1.2 mg/d||1.1 mg/d|
|Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)||1.3 mg/d||1.1 mg/d||1.3 mg/d||1.1 mg/d|
|Vitamin B3 (niacin)||16 mg/d||14 mg/d||16 mg/d||14 mg/d|
|Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)||5 mg/d||5 mg/d||5 mg/d||5 mg/d|
|Vitamin B7 (biotin)||30 mcg/d||30 mcg/d||30 mcg/d||30 mcg/d|
|Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)||2 mg/d||2 mg/d||2 mg/d||2 mg/d|
|Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)||4 mcg/d||4 mcg/d||4 mcg/d||4 mcg/d|
|Vitamin B9 (folate)||400 mcg/d||400 mcg/d||400 mcg/d||400 mcg/d|
|Calcium||1000 mg/d||1000 mg/d||1200 mg/d||1200 mg/d|
|Chloride||2.3 g/d||1.8 g/d||2.3 g/d||1.8 g/d|
|Copper||900 mcg/d||900 mcg/d||900 mcg/d||900 mcg/d|
|Fluoride||4 mg/d||3 mg/d||4 mg/d||3 mg/d|
|Iodine||150 mcg/d||150 mcg/d||150 mcg/d||150 mcg/d|
|Iron||14 mg/d||18 mg/d||8 mg/d||8 mg/d|
|Magnesium||420 mg/d||368 mg/d||420 mg/d||368 mg/d|
|Manganese||2.3 mg/d||1.8 mg/d||2.3 mg/d||1.8 mg/d|
|Phosphorus||700 mg/d||700 mg/d||700 mg/d||700 mg/d|
|Potassium||4.7 g/d||4.7 g/d||4.7 g/d||4.7 g/d|
|Selenium||55 mcg/d||55 mcg/d||55 mcg/d||55 mcg/d|
|Sodium||1.5 g/d||1.2 g/d||1.5 g/d||1.2 g/d|
|Zinc||12.5 mg/d||10 mg/d||12.5 mg/d||10 mg/d|
What happens if you don’t get enough micronutrients?
Since vitamins and minerals are necessary for many physiological processes in the body, chronic deficiency will adversely affect various aspects of your health and metabolism.
There is evidence that micronutrient deficiencies are associated with many age-related chronic diseases, including cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease. (Joyce C McCann, Bruce N Ames)
How to know if you lack something in your diet?
Since you need so many micronutrients to stay healthy, how can you tell if you’re getting enough of them? Research is often inaccurate when it comes to how much of each nutrient you need. The best way to make sure your levels stay high is to eat a balanced diet with healthy foods like: fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and lean plants.
Although you may have access to pills and vitamin supplements in case of deficiency, it is best to get your micronutrients from food. This is because your body needs the vitamins and minerals but also the components surrounding them. Your system can’t absorb certain nutrients unless you take them with fiber or fat.
Micronutrient levels is a boring topic, but understanding how important they are to your health is crucial for a healthy life. Take control of your diet by monitoring micronutrient levels, and you will reduce your risk of deficiency.
Here is a cheat sheet that you can easily save or print. Use it as a reminder of your micronutrient intake and it will help you get a more balanced diet.