What’s the Difference Between Micronutrients and Macronutrients

What Are Macronutrients?

Macro nutrients are essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, proteins and other substances that are required for human body function. They include vitamins A, D, E and K; minerals calcium; fat soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D and E); trace elements such as selenium; antioxidants such as vitamin C; hormones including insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).

Micronutrients are non-essential nutrients found naturally in foods or supplements. They include vitamins B12, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid (B5), riboflavin (B2), biotin and pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6). These micronutrients are necessary for normal metabolism.

The term “macros” refers to vitamins, minerals and other substances that are required for human body function. The term “micros” refer to those substances that are not required for human body function but may have some beneficial effects when consumed in excess.

In general, it is recommended to get all the macro nutrients from food while getting most of the micro nutrients from dietary supplements. However, there are exceptions where certain micronutrient deficiencies occur due to genetic defects or environmental factors.

The term “essential nutrients” refers to those substances which must be ingested since the human body cannot produce them from other substances. The human body needs these nutrients for proper functioning. Without them, a chronic disease can develop or even death if the deficiency is severe and uncorrected.

What Are Micros?

Micros are a popular topic in bodybuilding and fitness circles. In many ways, micronutrients are the gateway to your body’s anabolic (muscle-building) potential. They can increase the rate of protein synthesis in your muscles, enhance the immune system, improve joint health and even decrease post-workout muscle soreness.

Can we make a difference between micros and other types of nutrients?

Well, this is not really possible because all nutrients are either macronutrients or micronutrients. The term “micronutrient” is used to describe those nutrients required by the body in small quantities. The term “essential” is used to indicate those nutrients that are required by the body but must be acquired from the diet since the human body cannot manufacture them.

It is often difficult for the average person to get all the micro nutrients they need from their regular diet. As a result, many people choose to take multivitamins or specific micronutrients as a supplement.

Sources & references used in this article:

You are what you eat, and so are your children: the impact of micronutrients on the epigenetic programming of offspring by K Vanhees, IGC Vonhögen, FJ van Schooten… – Cellular and molecular …, 2014 – Springer

… for a cause: nutritional insufficiencies and excesses of US children, a critical review of food consumption patterns and macronutrient and micronutrient intake of US … by J Hess, J Slavin – Nutrients, 2014 – mdpi.com

Dietary Variety Predicts Low Body Mass Indexand Inadequate Macronutrient and MicronutrientIntakes in Community-Dwelling Older Adults by SB Roberts, CL Hajduk, NC Howarth… – The Journals of …, 2005 – academic.oup.com