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The Importance Of Micronutrients In The Diet

1217 words - 5 pages

The human body requires small amounts of nutrients in microgram or milligram quantities in our diet because it cannot synthesize the necessary amounts on its own. These nutrients are considered micronutrients. Micronutrients are a combination of water, vitamins, and minerals. Vitamins are organic compounds that do not provide energy, but are essential to the body in helping “aid in metabolism, as well as the growth, development and maintenance of body tissues” (Byrd-Bredbenner, Moe and Beshgetoor 402). Vitamins are broken down into two groups, water-soluble and fat-soluble. The water-soluble vitamins are the B-vitamins, and vitamin C. The fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K. Minerals are ...view middle of the document...

Deficiency in Vitamin D can lead to poor mineralization of bone in children (rickets) and demineralization of bone in adults (osteomalacia) as well as low birth weight in infants. To aid in vitamin D intake I can safely consume salmon or the popular cod liver oil, approximately 2 tbsp. daily and also spend time in the sun 3 days a week.
Due to supplementation I reached almost toxic levels of Vitamin A. I took in a total of 3,205.11 mcg which is 416% of my DRI. Vitamin A toxicity is called hypervitaminosis A. It can cause spontaneous abortion and birth defects. Luckily I was made aware of my overconsumption and adjusted my diet accordingly. Toxicity is only reached in excess consumption of retinoids, i.e. liver, fish, fish oils and fortified dairy. Carotenoid sources of vitamin A are found in sweet potatoes, carrots, kale and broccoli. Excessive intake of carotenoids are non-toxic, though will tinge the skin orange. Vitamin A is important for the growth and development of the embryo. It also aids in cell differentiation, vision and immune function as well as a decrease in cancer and heart disease. Deficiency in Vitamin A is the leading cause of blindness in underdeveloped nations.
Supplementation is also to blame for my overindulgence of Vitamin B-12.I consumed 9.66 mcg or 372% of my DRI. Vitamin B-12 assists in energy metabolism, as well as protein and amino acid metabolism, and blood formation and clotting. Vitamin B-12 is found in high amounts in organ meats and fortified cereals. There is no UL for B-12 therefore toxicity is not an issue. However, a deficiency in B-12 could cause macrocytic anemia, neurological changes such as nerve degeneration, and elevated plasma homocysteine concentrations.
Unlike my stellar intake of vitamins, I lacked in several minerals. My magnesium intake was poor with only 108.34 mcg compared to the 310 mcg recommended intake. This equates to 35% of my DRI. Magnesium is found in the chlorophyll of most plants. Brazil nuts, beans and spinach are three of the highest magnesium containing foods. Less than 25% of adults take in the necessary amount of magnesium. Magnesium should not be ignored for it plays a vital role in nerve and heart function. A deficiency in Magnesium “causes irregular heartbeat, weakness, disorientation, nausea, vomiting and seizures” (Byrd-Bredbenner, Moe and Beshgetoor 530).
My potassium intake was 35% as well, with only 1638.49 mg. Bananas are well known to contain potassium, however, potatoes with skin and beans contain much higher amounts. Potassium is important because it is the major positive ion (cation) in...

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