Despite its name that sounds like it decreases the importance of these nutrients, micronutrients are necessary for your body to function properly. Their name stems from the fact that you only need them in small amounts; however, your body still needs these nutrients. One way to figure out if you have issues related to a micronutrient deficiency is through micronutrient testing.
Definition of a Micronutrient
As mentioned above, your body only needs micronutrients in small amounts. These nutrients include both vitamins and minerals. You must obtain them through the foods you eat or supplementation because your body doesn’t produce any of them naturally.
Types of Micronutrients
When you undergo micronutrient testing, your physician will look to see if you have satisfactory micronutrient levels in all four categories of micronutrients: water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, macrominerals, and trace minerals.
Water-soluble micronutrients dissolve in water. Your body doesn’t store them, and instead, discards any excess. Therefore, you need water-soluble micronutrients on a regular basis. Examples of water-soluble micronutrients include vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and vitamin C, among other vitamins in the B complex. You need these nutrients for energy and various other aspects of your overall health and body functions.
Fat-soluble micronutrients can’t dissolve in water, so your body can store these. In fact, your body stores them in your liver and fatty tissue. Examples of fat-soluble nutrients include vitamin D, vitamin K, and vitamin E.
Although macrominerals are necessary in higher quantities than trace minerals, they still classify as a micronutrient that your doctor will test you for during micronutrient testing. Examples of macrominerals include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and sodium.
Trace minerals are another category of micronutrients, and they’re minerals that are only necessary in small amounts. Examples of trace minerals include copper, zinc, and iron.
Importance of Micronutrients
As mentioned above, don’t let the name fool you — these vitamins and minerals are important. Your body requires them to execute certain functions. You need them to process appropriately. You need these nutrients for your heart and reproductive system as well.
Certain micronutrients like vitamin C act as antioxidants in your body. An antioxidant fights against free radicals that can damage your cells. In fact, these free radicals, when left in your body, can increase your risk for heart disease as well as certain types of cancer, among other issues. When you obtain enough free radicals, your body reduces the number of free radicals to decrease the amount of oxidative damage free radicals cause.
Unfortunately, a vitamin or nutrient deficiency can affect one or more of your body organs or how your body organs function. Fortunately, through micronutrient testing, you can determine where the deficit lies and correct the issue.