When you hear the word micro, you automatically think small. So, when you hear the term “micronutrients,” you might think they’re not a very big deal.
But you’d be wrong. Micronutrients are a small but mighty part of supporting a nutritional foundation—and without them, our body doesn’t have what it needs to properly function. (It’s why every Ritual capsule contains essential micronutrients to help fill nutrient gaps and lend support at different life stages for both men and women, from pregnancy to age 50 and beyond.)*
Let’s get a little more specific.
What are Micronutrients?
While bigger nutritional building blocks like protein, fat, and carbohydrates fall under the category of “macronutrients,” all vitamins and minerals—like zinc, vitamin C, iron, vitamin A, fatty acids, B vitamins, and more—fall under the micronutrient umbrella. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, notes that although micronutrients are “only required by the body in small amounts, [they] are vital to development…and wellbeing.”* (1)
Another characteristic of micronutrients? The 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 these needs, you could find yourself facing micronutrient shortfalls.*
To sum things up, micronutrients are all those vitamins and minerals our bodies need 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.