Micronutrients: small in size, big on goodness

Health & Digestion

Micronutrients: small in size, big on goodness

Vitamins and minerals, collectively known as micronutrients, are proof that good things come in really, really small packages. And while the human body does not need them in excessive amounts, each micronutrient packs a punch – and they should be readily available in your kitchen pantry, especially if you have a little one at home. Here’s what you need to know about micronutrients.

Vitamin A contributes to the maintenance of normal vision, skin, and mucous membranes.

The recommended daily intake is 400mcg RAE (retinal activity equivalents). Vitamin A can be found in carrots, spinach, mangoes, broccoli, and papayas.

Deficiencies could result in anaemia, weakened resistance to infection, and xerophthalmia – the leading cause of preventable blindness in children.
Vitamin B2 contributes to the normal metabolism of energy-yielding nutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

Vitamin B12 contributes to the normal red blood cell formation. It has an important role in the multiplication of body cells for growth.

The recommended daily intake is 0.5mg of Vitamin B2 and 0.9mcg of Vitamin B12. It can be found in wholemeal breads, brown rice, beans, lean meat, fish, and eggs.

Deficiencies could result in tingling and numbness in hands and feet, poor appetite, digestive problems, and fatigue.
Vitamin C contributes to the normal absorption of iron.

The recommended daily intake is 30mg. It can be found in oranges, papayas, kiwis, broccoli, and mangoes.

Deficiencies could result in joint pain, swollen or bleeding gums, and low concentration of ascorbate in plasma, blood, or leukocytes.
Vitamin D helps the body utilize calcium and phosphorus and is necessary for the absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorus.

The recommended daily intake is 5mcg. It can be found in yoghurt, fish, and fortified milk.

Deficiencies could result in rickets, and the softening and weakening of bones.
Iron contributes to the normal formation of red blood cells and haemoglobin, oxygen transport in the body and cognitive function.

The recommended daily intake is 10mg. It can be found in fish, poultry, leafy vegetables, beans, and wholemeal breads.

Deficiencies could result in shortness of breath, decreased resistance to infections, and general fatigue.
Zinc is essential for growth. It also has a role in cell multiplication.

The recommended daily intake is 4mg. It can be found in milk, cheese, yoghurt, brown rice, lean meat, and fish.

Deficiencies could result in diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria.
Iodine contributes to thyroid hormone synthesis.

It can be found in seaweed, cod fish, tuna, yoghurt, turkey breast, eggs, and baked potatoes.

1. University of Maryland Medical Center.Vitamin A (Retinol). Available at:http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-a-retinol

2.Chander A, et al. Vitamin A deficiency: An eye sore. 2013; 2(1):41-45

3. NHS. Vitamin B and folic acid. Available at:http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vitamins-minerals/Pages/Vitamin-B.aspx

4. Harvard Health Publications. Vitamin B12 deficiency can be sneaky, harmful. Available at:http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/vitamin-b12-deficiency-can-be-sneaky-harmful-201301105780

5. Hallberg L, et al. The role of vitamin C in iron absorption. Int J Vitam Nutr Res Suppl. 1989;30:103-8.

6. Agarwal A, et al. Scurvy in pediatric age group – A disease often forgotten? J Clin Orthop Trauma. 2015 Jun; 6(2): 101–107.

7. WHO. Vitamin D supplementation in infants. Available at: http://www.who.int/elena/titles/vitamind_infants/en/

8. Infant Nutrition and feeding. CHAPTER 1: NUTRITIONAL NEEDS OF INFANTS.

9. WHO. Zinc supplementation to improve treatment outcomes among children diagnosed with respiratory infections. Available at: http://www.who.int/elena/titles/bbc/zinc_pneumonia_children/en/

10. Rousset et al. Chapter 2 Thyroid Hormone Synthesis And Secretion. Available at:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK285550/

11. BDA. Iodine. Available at:https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/Iodine.pdf

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