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Which Micronutrients Do We Need Daily? by Natalia Lukina

The foods we eat provide our body with the raw materials for growth, development and function. There are two basic groups of nutrients that must be obtained through the diet: macronutrients and micronutrients.

Macronutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fiber and water. Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. All nutrients play different, but vital, roles in our health and well-being.

Unlike macronutrients, micronutrients are required in very small amounts. Their main function is to enable the many chemical reactions to occur in the body. Each vitamin and mineral has a specific role in bodily functions.

Our bodies cannot produce many of the micronutrients, so they must be supplied through diet. Different foods contain different amounts of vitamins and minerals, so it's important to eat a wide variety of foods from different food groups. In a 2005 article in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, Bill Misner Ph.D. concludes that food alone is not sufficient to meet the minimum Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) micronutrient requirements for preventing nutrientdeficiency diseases. Misner analyzed the diets of 20 people from different lifestyle categories. Each of the 20 subjects had between 3 and 15 deficiencies from food intake alone. None of them met the minimal RDA micronutrient requirements for preventing nutrient-deficiency diseases.

A healthy diet is the foundation of good nutrition. However, it is a challenge to create a healthy, diverse diet because of the time and energy required to research, plan, shop and cook. Hence, it makes sense to take a highquality broad spectrum multivitamin complex as part of a healthy diet. It will help to prevent any nutrient deficiencies that the diet might have. Not all multivitamins are created equal though. The best ones have higher quality vitamins and minerals that are better absorbed by the body. In addition, phytochemicals, coenzyme Q 10 and omega-3 are important micronutrients that need to be included.

Below are the specific nutrients that human bodies need for healthy functioning.

• There are thirteen essential vitamins (four fat-soluble A, E, D, K and nine water-soluble C, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, pantothenic acid, biotin, folic acid). Plus there are several important vitamin-like substances such as choline, inositol, coenzyme Q 10, lipoic acid, lecithin, and some others. Look for natural forms of vitamins, such as D3 (cholecalciferol) form of vitamin D, d-alpha tocopherol form of vitamin E, etc.

• There are eleven essential minerals that should be supplemented if not present in sufficient quantities in the diet: calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, iodine, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium and molybdenum. Also important are trace minerals, such as boron, bromide, carbonate, sulfate. All of these minerals are required for normal functioning of the body.

• Minerals come in many different forms. Avoid sulfates and oxides (such as zinc oxide, magnesium oxide, cupric sulfate, etc.), since they are very poorly absorbed. The best source for minerals is chelated minerals.

• Coenzyme Q 10 is an important antioxidant and vitamin-like substance found throughout the body, but especially in the heart, liver, kidney and pancreas. It is made by the body; however, as we age, the level of CoQ 10 production decreases. CoQ 10 is beneficial for the heart, blood vessels, high blood pressure, chronic fatigue, asthma and energy production in the body.

• Also important are antioxidants and phyto-extracts. They help neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause. Look for a supplement that contains carotenoids, such as lutein, lycopene, astaxanthin and standardized extracts of herbs and berries.

• Another important micronutrient is omega-3 fatty acid. Its benefits have been verified by a number of studies and include support for cardiovascular system, neurological function, healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels and many others.

In summary, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables will help guarantee that your diet is rich in all the micronutrients. Try to include a rainbow of colors in your daily meals. In addition, consider supplementing with a high-quality multivitamin complex that includes all thirteen vitamins, chelated minerals, omega-3 and standardized phyto-extracts and antioxidants.

Natalia Lukina holds an MS degree in Biology from Caltech and Drug Discovery and Development professional certification from UCSD. She is the founder of Vital Formulas, a company that has developed patentpending Balanced Trio multivitamins. Visit Vital-Formulas.com for more information.

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