Micronutrients Along with the macronutrients we need a group of nutrients in very minute amounts for growth and development. These nutrients are called micronutrients as they are required in very small amounts. Vitamins Vitamins are organic compounds other than proteins, carbohydrates and fats which occur in small quantities in food stuffs and are necessary for growth and maintenance of the body. Although vitamins are needed in small amounts by the body, they must be present in the diet as they are essential for health and well being of the body. Their absence or improper utilization can cause deficiency disorders. Vitamins are generally classified into two types: Water soluble – VitaminB complex and Vitamin C. Fat soluble – Vitamin A, VitaminD, VitaminE and VitaminK.

  • Vitamin A : This compound is found in both animal sources (as retinol) and plant sources ( as beta carotene). Vitamin A is needed for healthy skin and good vision. More about Vitamin A >>
  • Vitamin B : Vitamin B is a group of water soluble vitamins, clubbed together since they are often found together from the same source. Plant sources account for the major supply of vitamin B. It is required mainly to release the stored energy from the food we eat. More about Vitamin B >>
  • Vitamin C : It is the cementing substance that binds cells together. It is also believed to stimulate to the body’s fighter cells (White Blood Cells – WBC) to fight more forcefully against invading germs.  More about Vitamin C >>
  • Vitamin D : It helps in the absorption, deposition and utilization of calcium which is the inherent strength of bones and therefore it is essential to build up a strong skeletal framework. More about Vitamin D >>
  • Vitamin E : It is an important antioxidant vitamin. More about Vitamin E >>
  • Vitamin K : It has an important role in the synthesis of certain factors (prothrombin, factor IX, factor VII and factor X) involved in blood coagulation. More about Vitamin K >>

Minerals Minerals represent an important class of micronutrients and many of them are essential for the normal functioning and growth of the human body. They have been divided into two classes: Macro minerals – Minerals required by humans in amounts of 100mg or more per day. They include: Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Magnesium, Silicon, Chloride, Sulphur, Nitrogen, Hydrogen, Carbon and Oxygen. Micro minerals (Trace elements) – These minerals are required in amounts less than 100mg per day and include: Iron, Fluoride, Zinc, Copper, Vanadium, Strontium, Cobalt, Iodine, Tin, Selenium, Manganese, Nickel, Molybdenum and Chromium. Some important minerals:

  • Iron : It is a trace element as its presence in small amounts is very significant. Most of part of iron in the body is present as hemoglobin (red substance of blood which carries the oxygen in lungs and transport it to all tissues). More about Iron >>
  • Calcium : As mentioned with vitamin D, calcium is the building block for strong bones. It is also the chemical trigger to initiate activity in every cell of the body, whether it be to contract a muscle or for any gland to release its secretion. More about Calcium >>
  • Iodine : It is an important constituent of thyroid hormone which monitors our energy levels. More about Iodine >>
  • Phosphorus : It is a mineral which is essential to the structure and function of the body.  More about Phosphorous >>
  • Sodium : It is an important mineral essential for the maintenance of normal osmotic pressure and water balance in the body.  More about Sodium >>
  • Potassium : It is an important electrolyte required for cellular and energy metabolism. More about Potassium >>
  • Zinc : Zinc is the core of a wide range of enzymes which are necessary for day-to-day repair and regeneration of all body tissues. It’s role therefore becomes more important during pregnancy, growth and recovery from any serious debility. More about Zinc >>
  • Selenium : It is the raw material for the manufacture of natural scavengers of ionized particles and works hand in glove with vitamin E to prevent premature degeneration of the body. More about Selenium >>
  • Magnesium : It is a mineral which is essential for every biochemical process in our body including metabolism and the synthesis of nucleic acids and proteinMore about Magnesium >>
  • Manganese, Nickel, Cobalt : They are required in extremely minute quantities as part of many enzyme systems used by the body for day-to-day repair, regeneration and manufacture of chemicals needed by it. More about Manganese  |  Nickel Cobalt >>
  • Chromium : It has role similar to the above three and in addition is required to help insulin (the sugar regulating hormone) attach to the cells so that the energy foods (glucose) in the blood can enter the cells for energy release. More about Chromium >>