Minerals and vitamins are extremely important nutrients for us. These nutrients are also known as micronutrients since they are only needed in tiny amounts. Even required in trace amounts, they are involved in numerous biological processes.
You might often doubt what is the most important vitamin or mineral? But you should know that it’s necessary to consume enough of all the micronutrients to maintain optimum health and carry out all bodily functions efficiently.
Let’s talk about 7 vital micronutrients that are crucial for our health in this article. Let’s get started!
Retinol is the chemical term for vitamin A. Our body gets vitamin A through Provitamin A – beta-carotene (converted into retinol inside our body) and preformed vitamin A (all-trans-retinol and its esters).
Retinal, which is necessary for vision, and retinoic acid, which plays a significant role in controlling the genes involved in cell proliferation and differentiation, are produced by the oxidation of retinol inside our body.
Have you heard that eating carrots improves your ability to see in the dark? What a myth, huh? No, it’s not! It’s because carrots contain beta-carotene, which improves your dark light vision. So do many other foods having both preformed and provitamin A.
Highest dietary provitamin A concentrations are found in leafy green vegetables and orange and yellow vegetables, while preformed vitamin A concentrations are highest in liver, fish, eggs, and dairy products. It's one of the best vitamins to take as a supplement if your diet isn't enough.
In addition to improving night vision, vitamin A also assists your body’s natural defenses against disease and infection, maintains the health of your skin and the interior lining of several body parts, including the respiratory, urogenital, and gastrointestinal tracts.
Another essential vitamin is Vitamin C or ascorbic acid. For their own needs, the majority of plants and animals generate ascorbic acid.
The absence of the gulonolactone oxidase enzyme prevents humans and apes from being able to produce ascorbic acid. As a result, supplies for ascorbic acid must primarily be obtained through fruits, vegetables, and supplements.
Vitamin C necessary to produce neurotransmitters, collagen, immune cells, and carnitine. It helps the body to metabolize drugs efficiently.
Vitamin C inhibits the production of carcinogens like nitrosamines and is excellent at preventing oxidative damage to tissues. Plasma vitamin C levels and blood pressure are inversely correlated.
Blood pressure is lowered by vitamin C, more so by systolic pressure than diastolic pressure. Low plasma vitamin C levels are linked to an increased risk of stroke and vascular diseases. Additionally, it contributes to tissue repairs and healing. It's the best vitamin to take daily.
From womb to tomb, a healthy skeleton requires vitamin D for formation, growth, and function. The fundamental job of vitamin D is to keep calcium levels in balance. It achieves this by enhancing the intestine’s capacity to absorb dietary calcium. It also promotes dental, muscular and neural health.
In addition to leading to osteomalacia and osteoporosis in adults as well as rickets in children, vitamin D deficiency can also have several long-lasting consequences.
Chronic vitamin D deficiency may have severe adverse effects, such as an increased chance of type 1 diabetes, hypertension, multiple sclerosis, colon, prostate, breast, and ovarian cancers. According to research, people with vitamin D deficiency may be more susceptible to COVID-19 infection-related morbidity and mortality. Thus it's one of the most important vitamins.
Now let’s look at another essential but often neglected vitamin – vitamin K. It's another most important vitamin. The biosynthesis of proteins from the Gla-protein family tends to require vitamin K. Four blood coagulation factors necessary for blood clotting belong to this family. Osteocalcin, matrix Gla-protein, and Gas6 are other Gla-protein family members that have essential roles in preserving bone strength, preventing artery calcification, and controlling cell development, respectively.
Vitamin D is frequently taken for bone health. Vitamin K must be taken in addition to vitamin D to ensure that calcium absorbed by vitamin D reaches bones and not other body parts like arteries.
By encouraging blood coagulation, bone health and arterial flexibility vitamin K becomes a vital element in maintaining health.
This vitamin was long known as a fertility vitamin, but it turns out that its function is not just limited to enhancing fertility. Due to its antioxidant activity, vitamin E plays several crucial roles in the body.
Vitamin E has been demonstrated to be beneficial against several ailments and diseases, which include cataracts, arthritis, cancer, and aging, all of which have been associated with oxidation.
Vitamin E may also prevent hyper platelet aggregation, which can result in atherosclerosis; it also aids in lowering the formation of prostaglandins like thromboxane, which induce platelet clotting.
According to in research, the vitamin prevents the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, a key precursor to atherosclerosis. Additionally, it shields cell components from free radicals’ destructive effects, which, if left unchecked, could lead to the development of cancer, cataracts, macular degeneration, and cognitive decline. This is the best vitamin to take daily.
One of the minerals in the human body that is most often overlooked is magnesium. For a healthy and long life, it is extremely important. More than 300 enzymes throughout the body are activated by magnesium.
Magnesium aids in digestion and absorption by assisting in the activation of enzymes. Further, magnesium aids in generating and then supplying energy to the human body. It supports the body’s ability to sustain healthy nerve and muscle function.
Magnesium supports immune function and regulates heartbeat. According to research, magnesium helps regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels. In addition, it controls and prevents joint pain, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
For optimal human health, selenium, an essential trace mineral, is crucial. Selenium plays both structural and enzymatic activities as a subunit of selenoproteins. Its enzymatic functions include antioxidant activities and catalytic role in the production of active thyroid hormone.
In addition to being essential for the immune system’s efficient functioning, selenium also appears to be a crucial nutrient in inhibiting the development of virulence and preventing the progression of HIV to AIDS.
It lowers the chance of miscarriage and is also necessary for sperm motility. Its deficit has been connected to negative mood states, lower immunity, risk of cancer, and oxidative stress.
While it is crucial to ensure that these micronutrients are provided, it is also essential to understand their daily recommended amounts because both a deficit and an excess of micronutrients may be detrimental.
Do not think that other vitamins and minerals are not necessary for our health. We require all nutrients in appropriate quantities for optimum growth and wellbeing. However, the abovementioned nutrients are frequently found to be deficient in diets, and hence the purpose of this article is to highlight how crucial they are. We hope that this helps. Any doubts? Comment below!