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What are Micronutrients?

Micronutrients,asopposedtomacronutrients(protein
,carbohydratesand
fat),arecomprisedofvitaminsandmineralswhichare
requiredinsmall
quantitiestoensurenormalmetabolism, growth
andphysicalwellbeing.
The physiologic roles of micronutrients are as varied as
their composition;
some micronutrients are used in enzymes as either
coenzymes or prosthetic groups
others as biochemical substrates or hormones
Under normal circumstances, the average daily dietary intake for each micronutrient
What are
vitamins?
Vitamins
Theseareessentialorganicnutrients,mostofwhicharenotmade
inthe body,or only in insufficient amounts, and are mainly obtained
through food. When their intake is inadequate, vitamin deficiency
disorders are the consequence.

Although vitamins are only


present and require in minute
quantities, compared to the
macronutrients, they are as vital
to health and need to be
considered when determining
nutrition security.
Eachofthe13vitaminsknowntodayhavespecificfuncti
onsinthebody:
Vitamin A
Provitamin A (Betacarotene)
Vitamin B1
Vitamin B2
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B12
Biotin
Vitamin C
Vitamin D
Vitamin E
Folic Acid
Vitamin K
Niacin
Pantothenic Acid
Vitamin A and Provitamin A
(Betacarotene)
Vitamin A is a group of unsaturated nutritional organic
compounds that includes retinol, retinal, retinoic acid, and
several provitamin A carotenoids (most notably beta-
carotene).
Vitamin A has multiple functions: it is important for growth
and development, for the maintenance of the immune system
and good vision.
Vitamin A is needed by the retina of the eye in the form of
retinal, which combines with protein opsin to form rhodopsin,
the light-absorbing molecule necessary for both low-light
(scotopic vision) and color vision.
Vitamin A also functions in a very different role as retinoic acid
(an irreversibly oxidized form of retinol), which is an important
hormone-like growth factor for epithelial and other cells.
Vitamin A and Provitamin A
(Betacarotene)
Deficiency: Follicular hyperkeratosis and night blindness
are early indicators. Conjunctival xerosis, degeneration of
the cornea (keratomalacia), and de-differentiation of
rapidly proliferating epithelia are later indications of
deficiency. Bitot spots (focal areas of the conjunctiva or
cornea with foamy appearance) are an indication of
xerosis. Blindness, due to corneal destruction and retinal
dysfunction, ensues if left uncorrected. Increased
susceptibility to infection is also a consequence.
[F: 700 g; M: 900 g]
Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very
few foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement.
It is also produced endogenously when ultraviolet rays from
sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis.
Vitamin D promotescalciumabsorption in the gut and maintains
adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to enable
normal mineralization of bone and to prevent hypocalcemic tetany.
It is also needed for bone growth and bone remodeling by
osteoblasts and osteoclasts . Without sufficient vitamin D, bones
can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Vitamin D sufficiency
prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.
Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults
from osteoporosis.
Vitamin D

Deficiency: Deficiency results in disordered bone


modeling called rickets in childhood and
osteomalacia in adults. Expansion of the
epiphyseal growth plates and replacement of
normal bone with unmineralized bone matrix are
the cardinal features of rickets; the latter feature
also characterizes osteomalacia. Deformity of bone
and pathologic fractures occur. Decreased serum
concentrations of calcium and phosphate may
occur.
[15 g, ages 19-70 yr; 20 g, age >70 yr].
Vitamin E

Vitamin E refers to a group of compounds that include both tocopherols


and tocotrienols.
Of the many different forms of vitamin E, -tocopherol is the most
common form found in the North American diet.
As a fat-soluble antioxidant, it interrupts the propagation of reactive
oxygen species that spread through biological membranes or through a
fat when its lipid content undergoes oxidation by reacting with more-
reactive lipid radicals to form more stable products.
Regular consumption of more than 1,000 mg (1,500 IU) of tocopherols
per daymay be expected to cause hypervitaminosis E, with an associated
risk of vitamin K deficiency and consequently of bleeding problems.
Vitamin E
Deficiency: Deficiency due to dietary inadequacy rare.
Usually seen in (1) premature infants, (2) individuals with fat
malabsorption, and (3) individuals with
abetalipoproteinemia. Red blood cell fragility occurs and can
produce a hemolytic anemia. Neuronal degeneration
produces peripheral neuropathies, ophthalmoplegia, and
destruction of posterior columns of spinal cord. Neurologic
disease is frequently irreversible if deficiency is not corrected
early enough. May contribute to the hemolytic anemia and
retrolental fibroplasia seen in premature infants. Reported to
suppress cell-mediated immunity. [15 mg].
Vitamin K
Vitamin K is a group of structurally similar, fat-soluble
vitamins the human body requires for complete synthesis of
certain proteins that are prerequisites for blood coagulation
that the body needs for controlling binding of calcium in
bones and other tissues.
The vitamin K-related modification of the proteins allows
them to bind calcium ions, which they cannot do otherwise.
Without vitamin K, blood coagulation is seriously impaired,
and uncontrolled bleeding occurs.
Low levels of vitamin K also weaken bones and promote
calcification of arteries and other soft tissues.
Vitamin K
Deficiency: Deficiency syndrome, uncommon except in
(1) breast-fed newborns, in whom it may cause
hemorrhagic disease of the newborn, (2) adults with
fat malabsorption or who are taking drugs that interfere
with vitamin K metabolism (e.g., coumarin, phenytoin,
broad-spectrum antibiotics), and (3) individuals taking
large doses of vitamin E and anticoagulant drugs.
Excessive hemorrhage is the usual manifestation.
[F: 90 g; M: 120 g]
Thiamin (Vitamin
B1) Thiamine is a vitamin, also called vitamin B1. Vitamin B1 is found in
many foods including yeast, cereal grains, beans, nuts, and meat. It
is often used in combination with other B vitamins, and found in
many vitamin B complex products.
People take thiamine for conditions related to low levels of thiamine
(thiamine deficiency syndromes), including beriberi and
inflammation of the nerves (neuritis) associated with pellagra or
pregnancy.
Thiamine is also used for digestive problems including poor
appetite, ulcerative colitis, and ongoing diarrhea.
Thiamine is also used for AIDS and boosting the immune system,
diabetic pain, heart disease, alcoholism, aging, a type of brain
damage called cerebellar syndrome, canker sores, vision problems
such as cataracts and glaucoma, motion sickness, and improving
athletic performance. Other uses include preventing cervical cancer
and progression of kidney disease in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Thiamin (Vitamin
B1) Deficiency: Classic deficiency syndrome (beriberi)
described in Asian populations consuming polished rice
diet. Alcoholism and chronic renal dialysis are also
common precipitants. High carbohydrate intake increases
need for B1. Mild deficiency: irritability, fatigue, and
headaches. More severe deficiency: combinations of
peripheral neuropathy, cardiovascular dysfunction, and
cerebral dysfunction. Cardiovascular involvement (wet
beriberi): congestive heart failure and low peripheral
vascular resistance. Cerebral disease: nystagmus,
ophthalmoplegia, and ataxia (Wernickes
encephalopathy); hallucinations, impaired short-term
memory, and confabulation (Korsakoffs psychosis).
Deficiency syndrome responds within 24 hr to parenteral
thiamin but is partially or wholly irreversible after a
certain stage.
Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
Vitamin B2, also called riboflavin, is one of 8 B vitamins.
All B vitamins help the body to convert food
(carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is used to
produce energy.
These B vitamins, often referred to as B-complex
vitamins, also help the body metabolize fats and protein.
B complex vitamins are necessary for a healthy liver,
skin, hair, and eyes.
They also help the nervous system function properly.
In addition to producing energy for the body, riboflavin
works as an antioxidant, fighting damaging particles in
the body known as free radicals.
Free radicals can damage cells and DNA, and may
contribute to the aging process, as well as the
development of a number of health conditions, such as
Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
Deficiency: Deficiency is usually seen in
conjunction with deficiencies of other B vitamins.
Isolated deficiency of riboflavin produces
hyperemia and edema of nasopharyngeal
mucosa, cheilosis, angular stomatitis, glossitis,
seborrheic dermatitis, and a normochromic,
normocytic anemia. [F: 1.1 mg; M: 1.3mg]
Niacin (vitamin B3)
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinic acid, is an organic
compound with the formula C6H5NO2 and, depending on the
definition used, one of the 20 to 80 essential human nutrients.
Pharmaceutical and supplemental niacin are primarily used to
treat hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) and pellagra (niacin
deficiency). Insufficient niacin in the diet can cause nausea, skin
and mouth lesions, anemia, headaches, and tiredness.
The lack of niacin may also be observed in pandemic deficiency
disease, which is caused by a lack of five crucial vitamins (niacin,
vitamin C, thiamin, vitamin D, and vitamin A) and is usually found
in areas of widespread poverty and malnutrition.
Niacin has not been found to be useful in decreasing the risk of
cardiovascular disease in those already on a statin but appears to
be effective in those not taking a statin
Niacin (vitamin B3)
Deficiency: Pellagra is the classic deficiency syndrome
and is often seen in populations in which corn is the major
source of energy. Still endemic in parts of China, Africa,
and India. Diarrhea, dementia (or associated symptoms of
anxiety or insomnia), and a pigmented dermatitis that
develops in sun-exposed areas are typical features.
Glossitis, stomatitis, vaginitis, vertigo, and burning
dysesthesias are early signs. Reported to occasionally
occur in carcinoid syndrome because tryptophan is
diverted to other synthetic pathways.
[F: 14 mg; M: 16 mg]
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
Pyridoxine is a vitamin. It can be found in certain foods such as cereals, beans,
vegetables, liver, meat, and eggs. It can also be made in a laboratory.
Pyridoxine is used for preventing and treating low levels of pyridoxine (pyridoxine
deficiency) and the tired blood (anemia) that may result. It is also used for heart
disease; high cholesterol; reducing blood levels of homocysteine, a chemical that
might be linked to heart disease; and helping clogged arteries stay open after a
balloon procedure to unblock them (angioplasty).
Pyridoxine is also used for Alzheimer's disease, attention deficit-hyperactivity
disorder (ADHD), Down syndrome, autism, diabetes and related nerve pain, sickle
cell anemia, migraine headaches, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, night leg
cramps, muscle cramps, arthritis, allergies, acne and various other skin conditions,
and infertility.
It is also used for dizziness, motion sickness, preventing the eye disease age-
related macular degeneration (AMD), seizures, convulsions due to fever, and
movement disorders (tardive dyskinesia, hyperkinesis, chorea), as well as for
increasing appetite and helping people remember dreams.
Vitamin B6

Deficiency: Deficiency usually seen in conjunction with other


water-soluble vitamin deficiencies. Stomatitis, angular cheilosis,
glossitis, irritability, depression, and confusion occur in moderate
to severe depletion; normochromic, normocytic anemia has been
reported in severe deficiency. Abnormal electroencephalograms
and, in infants, convulsions have also been observed. Some
sideroblastic anemias respond to B6 administration. Isoniazid,
cycloserine, penicillamine, ethanol, and theophylline can inhibit B6
metabolism. [Ages 19-50 yr: 1.3 mg; >50 yr: 1.5 mg for women,
1.7 mg for men]
Folate (Folic Acid)

Folic acid, another form of which is known as folate, is one of the B


vitamins.
It is used as a supplement during pregnancy to prevent neural tube
defects (NTDs).
It is also used to treat anemia caused by folic acid deficiency.More
than 50 countries require fortification of certain foods with folic
acid as a measure to decrease the rate of NTDs in the population.
Long term supplementation is also associated with small reductions
in the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.
It may be taken by mouth or by injection.
Folate (Folic Acid)
Deficiency: Women of childbearing age are most likely to
be deficient. Classic deficiency syndrome: megaloblastic
anemia, diarrhea. The hematopoietic cells in bone
marrow become enlarged and have immature nuclei,
reflecting ineffective DNA synthesis. The peripheral blood
smear demonstrates macro-ovalocytes and
polymorphonuclear leukocytes with an average of more
than 3.5 nuclear lobes. Megaloblastic changes also occur
in other epithelia that proliferate rapidly (e.g., oral
mucosa, gastrointestinal tract), producing glossitis and
diarrhea, respectively. Sulfasalazine and diphenytoin
inhibit absorption and predispose to deficiency.
[400 g of dietary folate equivalents (DFE); 1 DFE = 1 g
food folate = 0.6 g folic acid]

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a vitamin. Some animals can make their own vitamin


C, but people must get this vitamin from food and other sources.
Good sources of vitamin C are fresh fruits and vegetables,
especially citrus fruits.
Historically, vitamin C was used for preventing and treating
scurvy. Scurvy is now relatively rare, but it was once common
among sailors, pirates, and others who spent long periods of
time onboard ships.
These days, vitamin C is used most often for preventing and
treating the common cold. Some people use it for other
infections including gum disease, acne and other skin infections,
bronchitis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease,
stomach ulcers caused by bacteria called Helicobacter pylori,
tuberculosis, dysentery (an infection of the lower intestine), and
skin infections that produce boils (furunculosis).
It is also used for infections of the bladder and prostate.
Vitamin C
Deficiency: Overt deficiency is uncommon in developed
countries. The classic deficiency syndrome is scurvy:
fatigue, depression, and widespread abnormalities in
connective tissues, such as inflamed gingivae, petechiae,
perifollicular hemorrhages, impaired wound healing,
coiled hairs, hyperkeratosis, bleeding into body cavities.
In infants, defects in ossification and bone growth may
occur. Tobacco smoking lowers plasma and leukocyte
vitamin C levels.
[F: 75 mg; M: 90 mg; increase requirement for cigarette
smokers by 35 mg/day]
Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin. This means that the
body requires vitamin B12 to work properly. Vitamin B12
can be found in foods such as meat, fish, and dairy
products.
It is also taken by mouth to treat pernicious anemia, a
serious type of anemia that is due to vitamin B12
deficiency and is found mostly in older people.
Vitamin B12 is also taken by mouth for memory loss,
Alzheimer's disease, to slow aging, and to boost mood,
energy, concentration, mental function, and the immune
system.
Vitamin B12

Deficiency: Lack of Vitamin B12 might lead to heart


disease, clogged arteries and decreasing the risk of re-
clogging arteries after surgery, high triglyceride levels,
lowering high homocysteine levels (which may contribute
to heart disease), male infertility, diabetes, diabetic nerve
damage, nerve damage in the hands or feet, sleep
disorders, depression, mental disorders, schizophrenia,
weak bones (osteoporosis), swollen tendons, AIDS,
inflammatory bowel disease, diarrhea, asthma, allergies, a
skin disease called vitiligo, and skin infections.
[2.4 g]
Biotin
Biotin is a vitamin that is found in small amounts in
numerous foods.
Biotin is used for preventing and treating biotin
deficiency associated with pregnancy, long-term tube
feeding, malnutrition, and rapid weight loss. It is also
used orally for hair loss, brittle nails, skin rash in infants
(seborrheic dermatitis), diabetes, and mild depression..
Biotin
Deficiency: Signs of overtbiotin deficiencyinclude
hair loss (alopecia) and a scaly red rash around the
eyes, nose, mouth, and genital area. Neurologic
symptoms in adults have included depression, lethargy,
hallucinations, numbness and tingling of the
extremities, ataxia, and seizures.
Pantothenic acid
Pantothenic acid is a vitamin, also known as vitamin B5. It is
widely found in both plants and animals including meat,
vegetables, cereal grains, legumes, eggs, and milk.
People take pantothenic acid for treating dietary deficiencies,
acne, alcoholism, allergies, baldness, asthma, attention deficit-
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, burning feet syndrome,
yeast infections, heart failure, carpal tunnel syndrome,
respiratory disorders, celiac disease, colitis, conjunctivitis,
convulsions, and cystitis.
It is also taken by mouth for dandruff, depression, diabetic nerve
pain, enhancing immune function, improving athletic
performance, tongue infections, gray hair, headache,
hyperactivity, low blood sugar, trouble sleeping (insomnia),
irritability, low blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, muscular
dystrophy, muscular cramps in the legs associated with
Pantothenic acid
Deficiency: Deficiency is rare only reported as a result
of feeding semisynthetic diets or an antagonist to the
vitamin. Experimental, isolated deficiency in humans
produces fatigue, abdominal pain, vomiting, insomnia,
and paresthesias of the extremities. [5 mg]

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