In the battle of micro vs macronutrients, it is often easy to overlook micronutrients. It’s very easy to get in the habit of monitoring your macros daily without even a second glance at your micros. We’re all familiar with these calorie-counting tools like MyFitnessPal and LoseIt!. But how many times have you stopped to analyze the number of micronutrients – such as vitamin A or potassium – in your daily diet?
The World Health Organization (WHO) refers to micronutrients as, “The ‘magic wands’ that enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones and other substances essential for proper growth and development.” Essentially – the micronutrients in your body are the key to getting the absolute most out of your macros. The macros may keep you moving, but the right amount of micronutrients are what keep you healthy and uses energy efficiently.
In the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey it was found that, “93% of the US population does not meet the estimated average requirement for vitamin E, 56% for magnesium, 44% for vitamin A, 31% for vitamin C, 14% for vitamin B6 and 12% for zinc,” and that’s only in the United States, “it has been estimated that 1 billion people in the world have either vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency.” That’s more than 10% of the world’s population.
The vitamins and minerals that we simply call micronutrients play a key role in important body functions. They help facilitate essential body behaviors such as –
- Strengthening the immune system – Vitamin C, B6 and E
- Reducing systemic inflammation – Magnesium, Vitamin A, Coenzyme Q10
- Protecting against free radical damage – Vitamins E, Beta Carotene, Selenium
- Maintaining insulin sensitivity – Chromium, Alpha-lipoic acid, Zinc
- Protecting against the development, progression and recurrence of cancer – Folate, Selenium, Vitamin C, Vitamin E
The question then becomes – how am I supposed to know if my body is getting the correct micronutrients? The sad truth is – you probably are not. But every day there are more and more ways to test for these micronutrients within your body. Like any action that affects your body it is important to research, study and come to the correct conclusion whether it is the right thing to do to your body or not.
Finding the right micronutrient test
There are more and more companies popping up every day. Some you can even order online! While researching what micronutrient test you are going to take – it is always important to do as much research as you can. Do you have the ability to go to a lab or do you need it mailed it to you? Some tests require a quick self-administered finger prick to draw blood, but others might require you to drive to a partnered lab to draw vials of blood. You may even be able to order a test through your physician or doctor’s office. As is the case with any test, the important part is what you do with the results.
Why do you need a dietitian?
After receiving the results from any micronutrient test it is imperative that you share the results with a dietitian. If you don’t have one, your primary care physician should be able to recommend one to you. A dietitian will be the best professional to interpret your nutrient lab work. Being armed with the test results and a dietitian – you will be able to create a plan of action that can begin to supplement some of the deficiencies that may have been identified in the report generated from your micronutrient test. In some cases – a simple diet change may be called upon. Your dietitian may also recommend dietary supplements depending on the severity of some deficiencies.
The Magic of Personalized Nutrition
Simply put – the more precise the better. In an article for Natural Product Insider Rony Sellam wrote, “The human being is forgotten in the world of population nutrition.” Everybody is different and when creating a plan for yourself it is important to remember the human part of it. If you and your coworker share the same exact diet – it’s completely possible for your bodies to have completely different reactions. With the micronutrient test you will be able to create a science-backed individualized plan that combines the data gathered from your body, your daily habits and the changes available.
A micronutrient test can help paint a picture of how your body has been reacting to everything that you feed it. It helps pinpoint the speed bump that you might need to get over to continue to be your best self. Although Personalized nutrition is a process that begins with you – you don’t have to go at it alone. Nutrilyze is here to help.
Along with our personalized meal scores – we show you all the micronutrients available in each meal. Keep an eye out for our dietitian-crafted recipes which will be launching soon. We asked some of the smartest dietitians we know and asked them to curate custom recipes for Nutrilyze app users.