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.
How to Get the Essential Micronutrients
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 we need to support our health?*
Your first source for ensuring an adequate intake of micronutrients is, of course, in the 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 micronutrient intake. (2)
While our diet is a good place to start, getting all of the micronutrients we 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 may be missing from the diet alone—with unique variables like the MTHFR gene and dietary restrictions in mind.*