Jump to content


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Micronutrients)

Micronutrients are essential dietary elements required by organisms in varying quantities to regulate physiological functions of cells and organs.[1][2] Micronutrients support the health of organisms throughout life.[3][4][5]

In varying amounts supplied through the diet, micronutrients include such compounds as vitamins and dietary minerals.[3][6] For human nutrition, micronutrient requirements are in amounts generally less than 100 milligrams per day whereas, macronutrients are required in gram quantities daily.[6] A multiple micronutrient powder of at least iron, zinc, and vitamin A was added to the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines in 2019.[7] Deficiencies in micronutrient intake commonly result in malnutrition.[3][8]

Inadequate micronutrient intake[edit]

Inadequate intake of essential nutrients predisposes humans to various chronic diseases with some 50% of American adults having one or more preventable disease.[3] In the United States, foods poor in micronutrient content and high in food energy make up some 27% of daily calorie intake.[3] One US national survey (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2006) found that persons with high sugar intake consumed fewer micronutrients especially vitamins A, C,E and magnesium.[3]

A 1994 report by the World Bank estimated that micronutrient malnutrition costs developing economies at least 5 percent of gross domestic product.[9] The Asian Development Bank has summarized the benefits of eliminating micronutrient deficiencies as follows:

Along with a growing understanding of the extent and impact of micronutrient malnutrition, several interventions have demonstrated the feasibility and benefits of correction and prevention. Distributing inexpensive capsules, diversifying to include more micronutrient-rich foods, or fortifying commonly consumed foods can make an enormous difference. Correcting iodine, vitamin A and iron deficiencies can improve the population-wide intelligence quotient by 10–15 points, reduce maternal deaths by one-fourth, decrease infant and child mortality by 40 percent and increase people's work capacity by almost half. The elimination of these deficiencies will reduce health care and education costs, improve work capacity and productivity, and accelerate equitable economic growth and national development. Improved nutrition is essential to sustain economic growth. Micronutrient deficiency elimination is as cost-effective as the best public health interventions and fortification is the most cost-effective strategy.[10]

Salt iodization[edit]

Salt iodization is a major strategy for addressing iodine deficiency which is a major cause of mental health problems. In 1990, less than 20 percent of households in developing countries were consuming iodized salt.[11] By 1994, international partnerships had formed in a global campaign for Universal Salt Iodization. By 2008, it was estimated that 72 percent of households in developing countries were consuming iodized salt,[12] and the number of countries in which iodine deficiency disorders were a public health concern reduced by more than half from 110 to 47 countries.[11]

Vitamin A supplementation[edit]

Vitamin A deficiency is a major factor in causing blindness worldwide particularly among children.[13] Global vitamin A supplementation efforts have targeted 103 priority countries. In 1999, 16 percent of children in these countries received two annual doses of vitamin A. By 2007, the rate increased to 62 percent.[14]

Fortification of staple foods with vitamin A has uncertain benefits in reducing the risk of subclinical vitamin A deficiency.[15]


Fortification of staple foods may improve serum zinc levels in the population. Other effects such as improving zinc deficiency, children's growth, cognition, work capacity of adults or blood indicators are unknown.[16] Experiments show that soil and foliar application of zinc fertilizer can effectively reduce the phytate zinc ratio in grain. People who eat bread prepared from zinc-enriched wheat show a significant increase in serum zinc suggesting that the zinc fertilizer strategy is a promising approach to address zinc deficiencies in humans.


Plants tend not to use vitamins, although minerals are required.[8][17]

Structure of the Mn4O5Ca core of the oxygen-evolving site in plants, illustrating one of many roles of the trace mineral, manganese.[18]

Some seven trace elements are essential to plant growth although often in trace quantities.[citation needed]

  • Boron is believed to be involved in carbohydrate transport in plants; it also assists in metabolic regulation. Boron deficiency will often result in bud dieback.
  • Chloride is necessary for osmosis and ionic balance; it also plays a role in photosynthesis.
  • Copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum and zinc are cofactors essential for the functioning of many enzymes.[19] For plants, deficiency in these elements often results in inefficient production of chlorophyll manifested in chlorosis.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Vitamins". Corvallis, OR: Micronutrient Information Center, Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. 2023. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  2. ^ "Minerals". Corvallis, OR: Micronutrient Information Center, Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. 2023. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Micronutrient Inadequacies in the US Population: an Overview". Micronutrient Information Center, Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. 1 March 2018. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  4. ^ Gernand AD, Schulze KJ, Stewart CP, West Jr KP, Christian P (2016). "Micronutrient deficiencies in pregnancy worldwide: Health effects and prevention". Nature Reviews Endocrinology. 12 (5): 274–289. doi:10.1038/nrendo.2016.37. PMC 4927329. PMID 27032981.
  5. ^ Tucker KL (2016). "Nutrient intake, nutritional status, and cognitive function with aging". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1367 (1): 38–49. Bibcode:2016NYASA1367...38T. doi:10.1111/nyas.13062. PMID 27116240.
  6. ^ a b "Reference Guide: Daily Values for Nutrients". US Food and Drug Administration. 27 September 2023. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  7. ^ World Health Organization (2019). World Health Organization model list of essential medicines: 21st list 2019 (Technical report). hdl:10665/325771. Archived from the original on 14 October 2022. Retrieved 14 January 2023.
  8. ^ a b Blancquaert D, De Steur H, Gellynck X, Van Der Straeten D (2017). "Metabolic engineering of micronutrients in crop plants" (PDF). Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1390 (1): 59–73. Bibcode:2017NYASA1390...59B. doi:10.1111/nyas.13274. hdl:1854/LU-8519050. PMID 27801945. S2CID 9439102.
  9. ^ World Bank (1994). Enriching Lives: Overcoming Vitamin and Mineral Malnutrition in Developing Countries. Development in Practice Series.
  10. ^ Asia Development Bank (October 2000). [www.adb.org/Documents/TARs/REG/tar_oth34014.pdf Regional Initiative to Eliminate Micronutrient Malnutrition in Asia Through Public-Private Partnership]. TAR: OTH 34014. Retrieved on: 2011-10-13.
  11. ^ a b Flour Fortification Initiative, GAIN, Micronutrient Initiative, USAID, The World Bank, UNICEF, Investing in the future: a united call to action on vitamin and mineral deficiencies, p. 19.
  12. ^ UNICEF, The State of the World's Children 2010, Statistical Tables, p. 15.
  13. ^ "Vitamin A". Micronutrient Information Center, Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. 25 February 2021. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  14. ^ Flour Fortification Initiative, GAIN, Micronutrient Initiative, USAID, The World Bank, UNICEF, Investing in the future: a united call to action on vitamin A and mineral deficiencies, p. 17.
  15. ^ Hombali AS, Solon JA, Venkatesh BT, Nair NS, Peña-Rosas JP (May 2019). "Fortification of staple foods with vitamin A for vitamin A deficiency". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2019 (5): CD010068. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD010068.pub2. PMC 6509778. PMID 31074495.
  16. ^ Shah D, Sachdev HS, Gera T, De-Regil LM, Peña-Rosas JP (June 2016). "Fortification of staple foods with zinc for improving zinc status and other health outcomes in the general population". Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 (6): CD010697. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD010697.pub2. PMC 8627255. PMID 27281654.
  17. ^ Marschner P, ed. (2012). Marschner's mineral nutrition of higher plants (3rd ed.). Amsterdam: Elsevier/Academic Press. ISBN 9780123849052.
  18. ^ Umena Y, Kawakami K, Shen JR, Kamiya N (May 2011). "Crystal structure of oxygen-evolving photosystem II at a resolution of 1.9 Å" (PDF). Nature. 473 (7345): 55–60. Bibcode:2011Natur.473...55U. doi:10.1038/nature09913. PMID 21499260. S2CID 205224374.
  19. ^ Dittmar H, Drach M, Vosskamp R, Trenkel ME, Gutser R, Steffens G (2009). "Fertilizers, 2. Types". Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. doi:10.1002/14356007.n10_n01. ISBN 9783527303854.

External links[edit]