Testing for Micronutrient Deficiencies

Nutrients are often divided into two groups. There are macronutrients, which the body needs in large quantities, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. On food labels, these macronutrients are measured in grams (g). And then there are micronutrients — vitamins and minerals that the body needs in much smaller quantities, for normal growth, development, and function. Quantities of micronutrients are given in milligrams (mg).

While macronutrients get the most press — in the context of diets to lose weight, reduce fat, increase muscle mass, and increase energy — it is often micronutrients that steal the headlines in news stories related to illness and preventing infection.

Take, for example, the recent worldwide COVID-19 outbreak. Many articles, as well as published reports, highlight the potential benefits of vitamins C and D and the mineral zinc in boosting the body’s immune system to fight this deadly virus and other disease-causing microbes.

However, micronutrients are also important for supporting the health and function of not only the immune system but other systems in the body, including the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, endocrine, nervous, muscular, skeletal, and reproductive systems.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the major micronutrient issues affecting populations in developed and developing countries are shown in the following table: continue reading

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