Humans require both energy giving macronutrients (carbohydrate, fat, protein) and no energy giving micronutrients.
Macronutrients are essential to ensure the entire body composition and it mainly provides energy. Micronutrients play the main role in keeping these processes of building and rebuilding running.
When energy is needed in absence of one macronutrient, the other macronutrients can serve the energy needed by the human body. To secure the metabolic pathways, a minimum function of macronutrients and micronutrients are essential. In comparison with macronutrients, each micronutrient performs a unique function in the body. To get all the essential micronutrients humans are dependent on their diet. These micronutrients play an essential medial part in the metabolism and tissue function maintenance. Therefore a sufficient intake is mandatory, but excess is harmful.
Micronutrients are categorised into 2 classes:
Vitamins are different from carbohydrates, fats and proteins as they are not required in a large quantity. Their little amount is enough to maintain the basic function of the body and they play an essential role in a chemical reactions that permits humans to withdraw energy from carbs, fats and proteins (macronutrient).
Vitamins are single units rather than long chains of smaller units.
Vitamins are further categorised in 2 categories:
- Fat-soluble vitamins
- Water-soluble vitamins
Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) are soluble in fat, they are lipid-like molecules. Water-soluble vitamins (B complex and C) are soluble in water. Their solubility difference affects their way in absorption, storage and transportation in the body.
Fat-soluble vitamins- Vit A, D, E, K
It is best known for its role in vision, but it is mandatory for proper growth, reproduction, immunity and cell differentiation. It helps in making the bones healthy and maintain skin and mucous membranes. It is essential for night and colour vision. Liver stores 90% of vitamin A in case of adequate vitamin intake.
- It is an integral part of the visual cycle that allows us to see.
- The retinoic acid is a form of vitamin A that works with DNA to differentiate stem cells into different cell types.
- It helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and supports the generation of lymphocytes.
- Retinol and retinal but not retinoid acid, supports sperm production and fertility.
- All forms of vitamin A are essential for proper bone growth.
It is mandatory for bone health and may reduce cancer risk. It promotes bone development and growth in children.
- Calcitriol (a form of vitamin D) enhances the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the small intestine.
- Calcitriol assists parathyroid hormone in stimulating osteoclasts to break down bone and release calcium into the blood. Calcitriol also controls the rate of bone calcification.
- Vitamin D receptors are found in a variety of other tissues. Vitamin D is believed to inhibit cell proliferation and enhance cell differentiation activity.
- It is best known for its anti-ageing property and beneficial effect on the skin & hair loss.
- It helps in stabilising cell membranes and defends against free radical attack.
- It protects the lung against oxidative damage from environmental contaminants.
- It may help prevent cancer by protecting against DNA mutation.
- It may help prevent cardiovascular diseases by protecting against lipid peroxidation.
- It helps protect eye, liver, breast and muscle tissues. Also, helps in maintaining beta-carotene antioxidant activity.
It is mandatory in the formation of blood clotting a cascade of reactions, preventing excessive bleeding. It is required by the body for the synthesis of the bone protein.
It consists of the 8 B vitamins and Vitamin C.
B vitamins include:
- B1- Thiamine
- B2- Riboflavin
- B3- Niacin
- B5- Pantothenic acid
- B6- Paradoxine
- B7- Boitin
- B9- Folate
- B12- Cyanocobalaminum
- PABA - Para-Aminobenzoic acid
This vitamin is mainly used for digestive problems including poor appetite, ulcerative colitis and ongoing diarrhoea.
Thiamine injection is used to treat beriberi caused by lack of vitamin B1. It promotes energy production & digestion, protect nerves, prevents heart diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, improves memory & appetite, stimulates the production of RBC, relieves effects of alcoholism and has anti-ageing properties.
This vitamin is essential for normal cell growth and function.
- It is also taken by people to prevent the low level of riboflavin, migraine headache.
- It is also taken for acne and prevention of muscle cramps.
- It is also used to treat cancer.
- It helps in breaking macronutrients to produce energy and allows the body to use oxygen.
Niacin functions in a wide range.
- It helps the functions of the digestive system, skin and nervous system. Niacin helps in increasing the level of good cholesterol and lowers the bad cholesterol in the body hence prevent CVD.
- It boosts brain function and skin function.
- It reduces the symptoms of arthritis and helps in treating pellagra.
B5- Pantothenic acid
This vitamin helps converting food into energy. And essential for making blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body.
- It plays a critical role in the manufacture of the adrenal gland.
- It maintains the skin, hair and eye healthy.
- It is required to maintain proper functioning of the nervous system and liver.
This vitamin is essential to maintain the health of nerves, skin and red blood cells. This is also used to prevent or treat various nerve disorders caused by certain medication.
- It is involved in neurotransmitter synthesis.
- It reduces the symptoms of depression and improves mood.
- It promotes brain health and reduces Alzheimer’s risk.
- It prevents and treats anaemia by aiding haemoglobin production.
- It is useful in treating symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
- It prevents arteries from clogging and reduces the heart disease risk and treat inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
It is also called “Vitamin H”. It cannot be synthesised by the body, therefore it is required to take it from our diet and intestinal bacteria. This vitamin is needed by the body to synthesise energy.
It is also important in maintaining the health of hair, skin and nails. It supports neurological function, steady blood glucose level, DNA stability.
This vitamin is essential for pregnant women. It is important for performing various functions in the body e.g the production of red blood cells, development of the nervous system and the metabolism of Amino acids.
This vitamin is the chief source of cell reproduction, growth, blood formation, protein and tissue synthesis.
- It helps with red blood cell formation and prevention of anaemia.
- It boosts the energy level of the body.
- It supports healthy hair, skin and nails.
- It supports bone health and prevents osteoporosis.
Para-Aminobenzoic acid (PABA)
This chemical is present in the Vitamin B9 (folate) and also present in several foods. It is ingested by mouth for skin conditions i.e. in vitiligo, etc.
- It is also used to treat infertility in women.
- It is prescribed to people suffering from arthritis, headaches, rheumatic fever, constipation and anaemia.
- It also benefits the brain by preventing the loss of neurons, and improves mood and symptoms of depression, also prevents birth defects.
This is also known as ascorbic acid or ascorbate which is important to stay in proper body condition.
It helps the body by holding the cells together with the synthesis of collagen.
Collagen is a connective tissue that helps in holding bone, muscles and other tissues together.
It also helps in wound healing, bone and tooth formation, strengthening blood vessel walls, improving immune system function by helping white blood cells function better, increasing absorption and utilisation of iron, and acting as an antioxidant.
They are the essential nutrients (chemical element) required by the organism to perform the necessary function of life. There are five major minerals in the human body which include calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and magnesium. Other than this remaining elements in the body are called “trace elements.” The elements like sulphur, iron, chloride, cobalt, copper, zinc, manganese, molybdenum, iodine and selenium have a specific biochemical function in the body.
This mineral performs various functions in the body. The body utilises 99% of calcium to keep teeth and bones strong, thereby supporting function and skeletal structure. The remaining calcium in the body plays various roles in cell singling, blood clotting, muscle contraction and nerve function. Calcium is used by cells to activate enzymes, transport of ions across the cellular membrane. During communication with other cells, it helps in sending and receiving neurotransmitter. Being an electrolyte it also helps in conducting electricity in the body and plays an important role in maintaining a regular heartbeat.
It is more important for athletes to maintain calcium level as they lose calcium through perspiration. In spite of its need for bones, it is also needed for muscle contraction.
It is a portion of every cell in the body. This basically works with calcium and other nutrients for making teeth and bone health. It helps in managing the normal acid/base balance. It supports growth while being involved with the storage and use of energy.
It helps in filtering waste in the kidneys and repairing tissues and cells. It manages how the body stores and uses energy, regulates heartbeats, reduces muscle pain after exercise, assist muscle contraction, balance and use of other vitamins such as Vitamin B and D, as well as other minerals like magnesium, zinc and iodine. It facilitates nerve contraction and helps tissues and cells to grow, maintain and repair.
It is the most abundant and intracellular cation in the body. Potassium content varies as it decreases with age and adiposity. It helps in the regulation of fluids, nerve signal sending and regulation of muscle contraction. It may reduce the blood pressure, protect against strokes, prevent osteoporosis, kidney stones and may also reduce water retention.
It is the principal cation of extracellular fluid and primarily involves the maintenance of osmotic equilibrium and volume of extracellular fluid. It balances the fluid level in the body and helps in sending the nerve impulse. It influences the blood pressure; even modest reductions in sodium consumption can lower blood pressure. It prevents loss of water, cramps, dryness and improves teeth, develops the brain and removes excess of carbon dioxide. It also relieves heartburn.
This mineral is required by the body for more than 300 biochemical reactions. Magnesium is important in maintaining normal nerve and muscle function and make the bones strong. It makes the immune system healthy and keeps the heartbeat steady. It helps in regulating the level of blood glucose and production of energy and proteins. It has benefits against Type 2 Diabetes and depression. It has anti-inflammatory benefits and reduces insulin resistance. It improves premenstrual syndrome.
Each micronutrient has its own speciality so keep your nutrient in check. Stay healthy, Feel happy!