Another characteristic of micronutrients? Your body can’t always produce enough of them on its own—so it can be important to get enough of these nutrients from external sources (for example, through a healthy diet and dietary supplements). If you’re consistently not meeting your needs, you could find yourself facing micronutrient shortfalls—which can have an impact. (It’s why you might feel sluggish or foggy if you’re short on iron or vitamin B12, for example; or grumpy if you’re running low on vitamin D.)
To sum things up, micronutrients are all those vitamins and minerals your body needs to function.
How micronutrients differ from macronutrients
So, now that you understand what micronutrients are, let’s talk about what they aren’t—and, in particular, how they compare to macronutrients.
To understand the difference between micronutrients and macronutrients, all you have to do is consider how they're named. Micronutrients are dietary components we need in small quantities; hence the title “micro.” Macronutrients, on the other hand, are dietary components we need a lot of in our diet—carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
How to make sure you’re getting the micronutrients you need to help support your health
You might only need a small amount of micronutrients—but, as mentioned, getting the right amounts of the vitamins and minerals you need is essential in supporting health.
But how do you make sure you’re getting adequate amounts of all the micronutrients you need to support your health?
Your first source for ensuring an adequate intake of micronutrients is, of course, your diet. Eating a balanced diet full of whole grains (which are a source for a variety of micronutrients, including folate), fruits, veggies, and other whole foods can be a great way to increase your micronutrient intake. (2)
While your diet is a good place to start, getting all of the micronutrients you need from diet alone can be challenging. This can be especially true for vegans, as a variety of micronutrients—like vitamin B12, vitamin D3, and heme iron—can be hard to find in plant foods, as they’re mainly found in animal food sources. Genetic variations can also come into play: For example, up to 1/3 of women have something called the MTHFR gene, which makes it tricky to efficiently utilize the synthetic form of folate, folic acid.
That’s why it’s so important to find the right multivitamin with nutrients to help fill gaps and lend additional micronutrient support. We formulated our multivitamins to provide micronutrients people tend to need—with unique variables like the MTHFR gene and dietary restrictions in mind.
- 2019, August 12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Micronutrient Facts. Retrieved from the CDC
- 2011, May. Putting the Whole Grain Puzzle Together: Health Benefits Associated with Whole Grains—Summary of American Society for Nutrition 2010 Satellite Symposium. J Nutr. 141(5): 1011S–1022S. Retrieved from the National Institutes of Health