Micronutrients come in the form of vitamins and minerals and they are only needed in small amounts. Micronutrients don’t contain calories, but they help your body unlock the calories in the three macronutrients—carbohydrates, proteins, and fats—so you can use them for energy. Micronutrients enable your body to produce and use enzymes, hormones, and other important substances essential for proper growth and development.
Fatty acids are also included under the micronutrient category since we only need them in small amounts.
Although the amount of micronutrients your body requires is very small, when you’re deficient in any one of them, the consequences can greatly effect your health. Vitamins and minerals, and most fatty acids, come from the foods you eat daily. So it’s important to eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods to get all the different micronutrients your body needs to function optimally.
Vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids are essential components of your biology and they enable and support every chemical reaction in your body. They support and assist enzymes, the vital catalysts that speed up all chemical reactions required for life. Vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids act as helpers, or co-factors, to help enzymes function and exert their life sustaining activity in your body.
Eating foods as close to their natural state as possible is the best way to improve your overall health and prevent disease—because foods from the earth have nutrient synergy. Nutrient synergy is when two or more different nutrients in a food work together to produce a unique effect that you can't get from either nutrient alone.
There's still much we don't know about how the components of foods work together in your body. But we do know that nutrient synergy is something that cannot be replicated in a pill. So the majority of your nutrients should come from whole foods from the earth, the way Mother Nature intended. Most healthy people are able to get all the required micronutrients they need by eating a diverse diet centered around whole foods.
The three categories of micronutrients are: