Micronutrients

The Essential Guide to Micronutrients

by
Grace Brock

From Vitamin A to Zinc, Nutrilyze takes an advanced look into all of the vitamins and minerals that make up personalized nutrition scoring. Download the full PDF with descriptions, food sources and DNA SNPs that can affect how you individually process these nutrients.

Vitamin A: 

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin found in animal sources as preformed vitamin A (retinol and retnyl ester) as well as yellow, orange and red fruits and vegetables as beta-carotene. It is important for the health of specialized tissues like the retina that maintain vision, the health of skin and mucous membranes, and development of teeth, soft and skeletal tissue. It is an essential vitamin and antioxidant that has also been shown to help slow the aging process.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin):

Vitamin B1, also known as Thiamin, is one of the water-soluble B vitaminsfound across cereals, rice, legumes and meats. It’s important for the nervous system, cardiovascular function and metabolizing proteins, fats and carbs with the aid of other B vitamins.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin):

Vitamin B2, also known as Riboflavin, is a water-soluble vitamin found across meats, oatsand dairy. It is essential for the healthy metabolism of protein, fats and carbohydrates, along with acting as an antioxidant and managing proper function of the thyroid andadrenal glands. It works closely with Vitamin B3 to produce energy for the body.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin):

Vitamin B3, also known as Niacin, is an essential water-soluble vitamin found acrossmeats, seeds and spices. It plays an important role in breaking down carbohydrates, fats and protein into energy as well as detoxifying the liver of harmful chemicals. Niacin also plays a role in cell metabolism by making and restoring DNA.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid):

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) is a water-soluble vitamin found across legumes, dairy,poultry, vegetables, and cereal grains. It’s found in all cells and is required for the synthesis of essential fats, cholesterol, and steroid hormones. It’s vital for the breakdown of fatty acids and proteins.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine):

Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is a water-soluble vitamin found naturally in meats,whole grains, vegetables and nuts. It’s necessary for nearly 200 bodily functions, mostlyrelated to protein metabolism. Vitamin B6 is also important for brain health, hormone production, red blood cell growth, the immune system and sodium and potassium balance amongst many others.

Vitamin B9 (Folate):

Folate, along with folic acid found in fortified foods and supplements, are the two compoundsthat make up the water soluble Vitamin B9. Vitamin B9 plays a critical role in producing DNA, red blood cells, white blood cells and reducing homocysteine cells that can contribute to heart attack and stroke.

Vitamin B12:

Vitamin B12 is the only of eight B vitamins that is found almost exclusivelyin animal products such as meats, fish, eggs and milk. It plays an essentialrole in nerve health, cell metabolism and helps produce both DNA and red blood cells.

Vitamin C:

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin found in abundance across berries, citrus fruits and green vegetables with moderate amounts in all other fruits and vegetables. It hasantioxidant properties needed for more than 300 functions related to tissue growth,cell repair, anti-stress hormones and immune system defense. It also aids in the healing process, protects against irregular blood clotting and increases iron absorption.

Vitamin D:

Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin for bone health produced through select foods and exposure to short wave ultraviolet B rays. UVB rays are most active during the Spring and Summer months when the Earth is closer to the sun. Vitamin D plays a vital role in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus needed for bone health, providing protective immunity across many diseases and the maintenance of normal cell function in the body.

Vitamin E:

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin made up of eight compounds with antioxidant qualities. It is known to help prevent the spread of reactive oxidative species (ROS) such as pesticides throughout the body that can lead to many diseases. In the NorthAmerican diet, alpha and gamma-Tocopherol are the most common forms foundacross plant sources in nuts, seeds and oils.

Vitamin K:

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin essential for the production of prothrombin to prevent excessive bleeding. It’s made up of several compounds such as phylloquinone (vitamin K1) found across leafy green vegetables and a series of menaquinones (vitamin K2) found in meats, cheeses and eggs.

Calcium:

Calcium is an essential mineral that is commonly known for its crucial role in the health ofbones and teeth; however, it is also important for many other bodily functions. The bodycan access calcium stores in the bones when more is needed. Many foods in a typicalAmerican diet contain ample amounts of calcium but age, fiber, and low zinc and vitaminD levels can decrease calcium absorption.

Choline:

90% of the population consumes a diet that is deficient in choline. This can lead to a widerange of problems, most notably cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and a liver prone tononalcoholic fatty liver disease. Eggs, lean meats, broccoli, and cauliflower are a few of thebest dietary sources to help increase choline in the body.

Copper:

Copper is an important transition metal in the body for metabolism on a cellular level.There are many different foods that contain copper. Some ways to increase copper in the body are by consuming organ meats, legumes, potatoes, shellfish, nuts, seeds, mushrooms,bananas, and dried fruit. Copper is a cofactor in many different enzymes, like many other micronutrients. Antioxidant defense, generation of energy, iron metabolism, synthesis of hormones, and blood coagulation being some of the enzymes that copper is a cofactor in.

Magnesium:

Every cell in the body requires magnesium to function properly and it plays a vital role in hundreds ofbiological processes. Despite its availability in a variety of foods, magnesium deficiency is the sixth mostcommon among the essential nutrients. Since it plays so many roles in the body and is generally found inbones and soft tissue, determining deficiency can be difficult.

Manganese:

Manganese is an influential antioxidant in the body. It is important to consume food sourcesof manganese rather than supplements. Different ways to incorporate manganese into your diet are by consuming leafy vegetables, whole grains, tea, and nuts. Manganese is an essential nutrient that has different functions in the body. Manganese is involved in many different chemical reactions in the body. Some of these reactions deal with cholesterol, protein, and carbohydrates. Manganese also helps with bone and tissue formation in the body.

Phosphorus:

After calcium, phosphorous is the most abundant mineral in the human body. Just like many of the other essential minerals, phosphorus is important for bone health but it also is utilized in a variety of processes like nerve function, muscle contraction, and energy usage. Phosphorus can be found in many protein rich foods and even in some low proteinfoods, so it rare to have deficiencies. Some individuals with trouble regulating calcium orwith kidney disease could have too much phosphorus in their body.

Potassium:

Potassium is an electrolyte essential to all of the body’s cells. It influences the functionof muscles and nerves through electrical impulses along with maintaining a healthybalance of the body’s fluids. Combined with sodium, it also works to regulate bloodpressure.

Selenium:

Selenium is an essential mineral with antioxidant properties that plays a vital role in metabolism. It occurs naturally in soil and dietary sources include seafood, meat, grains, and some nuts.Selenium deficiencies are rare, but research suggests that individuals with certain health conditions may be at risk for deficiency and could benefit from supplementation.

Zinc:

Zinc is a micronutrient that is extremely beneficial and necessary in the body fornumerous reasons. It is a part of the insulin molecule and also functions with hundreds of enzymes. Zinc can be found in plant and animal sources, but is better utilized fromanimal sources. It is very important for immune function in the body, and zinc deficiencyimpairs immune function.