The Importance of Micronutrients

By Dr. Paul Deglmann

Edited by Meghan Feir Walker

Are you feeling drained, sluggish and ill-equipped to handle the demands of everyday life? It’s not uncommon for people to feel like their energy, sleep and overall health are suffering. However, this is often due to more than just work, family, home and social commitments. It’s often due to micronutrient deficiencies. 

For your body to be able to function well, micronutrients are vital. In this article, I’ll highlight what micronutrients are, why they’re so important for your health, what can lead to micronutrient deficiencies, how you can address common deficiencies and much more. 

The importance of micronutrients

What are micronutrients and why are they important?

Micronutrients play an essential role in the value of the foods and drinks we choose to consume every day. But what exactly are micronutrients? 

Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids.

Vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids make up and/or influence every cell, organ, tissue, hormone, and enzymatic reaction in your body. In other words, you can’t live and function without them. These are essential nutrients that your body needs to be able to rebuild, repair and recover. 

Understand the importance of micronutrients

To illustrate the importance of these nutrients, imagine a house is in need of repair. There are many situations that could lead to the poor state of this home. For example, the house could have been abandoned for years, void of any attention or care, or maybe a tree landed on the roof during a violent storm. 

To address the repairs this house needs, you first need to identify and understand what damage has been done and the specific materials that are needed to repair it. The size of your project and the amount of time your repairs take will vary depending on the extent of the damage. 

If there’s a shortage of materials, the house can’t get fixed and the state of the home will remain compromised.

In our analogy, the materials used to rebuild your home are equally as important as the nutrients needed to repair your body. 

Just like a damaged home, there are many situations that could lead to micronutrient deficiencies, impairing how well you feel and how well your body is able to function.  

Perhaps you’ve been afflicted with a chronic infection for years that has depleted your body of essential nutrients. Maybe you’ve been burning the candle at both ends for far too long, and the chronic stress and lack of sleep have led to health problems.

It’s crucial to understand the root cause(s) of what led to these nutritional deficiencies and symptoms. During your healing process, it’s also critical to understand that if your body is low in nutrients, your ability to repair or rebuild certain tissues or cells within the body is much more limited. This can continue to compromise your overall health, so we need to test to see what you are currently depleted in to support and continue the repair process.

What are common nutrient deficiencies?

Some of the most common conditions people experience include gut problems, compromised immunity, nerve pain, and energy issues. 

While we recommend getting a full micronutrient panel done, it’s especially important to check specific nutrients for certain conditions.

If you are having gut and GI issues, consider testing your glutamine, vitamin A and zinc levels.

  • Glutamine is the fuel for the cells of the small intestine.
  • Vitamin A is needed for the lining of the gut.
  • Zinc is needed to enhance tissue repair.

If your immune system is compromised or unbalanced, check to make sure you aren’t low in glutathione, vitamin D, vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Glutathione helps protect and defend your immunity.
  • Vitamin D, vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids help balance the immune response.

If you’re experiencing nerve pain, make sure your B vitamins, specifically vitamin B12, and alpha lipoic acid (ALA) levels are high enough. 

  • Both B12 and alpha lipoic acid are important for nerve repair.

If you’re having significant issues with fatigue, check your coQ10, carnitine, and B vitamin levels, along with other important nutrients.

  • CoQ10, carnitine, all of the B vitamins and other nutrients are important to generate energy from food.

If you’re troubled with soft tissue pain, it’s important to look at manganese, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C, copper and other nutrient levels.

  • Manganese, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C, copper and other nutrients are needed to support the health of ligaments, muscles and collagen.

Symptoms of micronutrient deficiencies

Your symptoms will vary depending on what nutrients are too low in your body.  

For example:

  • B12 deficiency symptoms can include fatigue, depression, anemia and numbness/tingling (peripheral neuropathy).
  • Magnesium deficiency symptoms can include fatigue, high blood pressure, muscle twitching/muscle spasms and bone loss.
  • Zinc deficiency symptoms can include fatigue, skin inflammation/acne, loss of taste, poor wound healing, lowered immunity or getting sick often.
  • Vitamin C deficiency symptoms can include bleeding gums, bruising easily, tender joints, poor wound healing, and lowered immunity/getting sick often.

If you’re regularly experiencing fatigue, yet you’re getting adequate sleep, it could be caused by low nutrient levels. If you’re catching every sickness you encounter, your immune system probably isn’t getting the support it needs. You can experience many signs that nutrient levels aren’t optimal, and it can have a great effect on your everyday life.

How do you become deficient in micronutrients?

There are several ways you can become deficient in micronutrients, including chronic infections, but the most common reasons include:

  • Poor digestion and absorption of nutrients from your food
  • Not absorbing enough of the nutrients from food or supplements to meet your body’s demands
  • Eating a diet that is not nutrient-dense and lacks some of the essential nutrients 

A common example of following a diet lacking vital nutrients is the standard American diet, fittingly known as “SAD.”

The SAD includes regularly eating a high concentration of simple carbohydrates, seed oils, processed food, and sugar. Following this diet usually means you aren’t eating enough nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits, protein, and healthy fat. It often leads to conditions like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular issues. The SAD can contribute to developing many other conditions as well. 

The importance of micronutrients

What’s the best way to test for micronutrient deficiencies?

The traditional way to test for some nutritional deficiencies is through serum testing. Serum testing means you’re looking at nutrient levels floating around in the bloodstream.

However, in my opinion, serum testing isn’t the best way to test for most nutrients because many nutrients, such as B vitamins, leave the serum within hours or up to a few days. Also, there are so many other nutrients that serum testing doesn’t cover. 

In our clinic, we may observe vitamin D and iron levels in the serum, but we like to use lymphocyte proliferation testing. 

Lymphocyte proliferation testing allows us to measure the intracellular levels of your vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids. This means we are looking at these nutrient levels inside of the cell instead of in the serum. 

To generate energy called ATP, your body needs to get nutrients inside of the cells. Your entire body runs off of nutrients. They are needed to help the body rebuild, recover, and repair.

Is there a supplement you can take to address deficiencies?

To know exactly what your body is crying out for, it’s important to get accurately tested by an experienced functional medicine practitioner. 

However, if you don’t have access to a functional medicine practitioner or you don’t have the money for testing, we recommend supporting your body with a high-quality multivitamin. 

Multi-Complete

Our preferred multivitamin: Multi-Complete

Our preferred multivitamin is NutriRestore’s Multi-Complete. This product is a comprehensive, hypo-allergenic, multivitamin and mineral blend. As a complete multivitamin, this product provides high-quality nutrients to build a healthy micronutrient reserve. 

B vitamins support energy production, and folate (as Quatrefolic™ – 100% 5-MTHF), the biologically active form of folic acid, improves methylation. Albion TRAACS chelated mineral complexes also enhance the bioavailability of the minerals in Multi-Complete. 

This product includes an optimal 2:1 magnesium-to-calcium ratio. The key antioxidant vitamin C and natural vitamin E mixed tocopherols and carotenoids protect cells from free radical damage. This product also contains the synergistic blend of vitamin K2 as MK-7 and vitamin D3 which are critical for supporting bone strength and cardiovascular health.

Multi-Complete:

  • Provides baseline nutrition for a variety of protocols
  • Full-spectrum antioxidant protection
  • Builds metabolic reserve and protects against dietary deficiencies
  • Protects against stress-induced nutrient depletion
  • Supports healthy metabolism

Multi-Complete does not contain gluten, yeast, artificial colors and flavors. 

Please note: If you are pregnant or nursing, consult your physician before taking this product.

I hope this article has provided vital information that will help you on your own journey toward better health!

Click here to watch our correlating video on micronutrients.

Summary

  • Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids.
  • Micronutrients are essential nutrients your body needs to be able to rebuild, repair and recover. 
  • Some of the most common conditions people experience include gut problems, compromised immunity, nerve pain, and energy issues. 
  • It’s important to test for things like alpha lipoic acid (ALA), calcium, carnitine, copper, coQ10, glutamine, glutathione, magnesium, manganese, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc levels, along with other important nutrients.
  • Your symptoms will vary depending on what nutrients are too low in your body, but common symptoms include fatigue, depression, anemia, numbness/tingling (peripheral neuropathy), high blood pressure, muscle twitching/muscle spasms, bone loss, skin inflammation/acne, loss of taste, bruising easily, poor wound healing, tender joints, and lowered immunity or getting sick often.
  • Multi-Complete provides baseline nutrition, full-spectrum antioxidant protection, builds metabolic reserve and protects against dietary deficiencies. It also protects against stress-induced nutrient depletion and supports a healthy metabolism.
  • Multi-Complete does not contain gluten, yeast, artificial colors and flavors. 
  • If you are pregnant or nursing, consult your physician before taking this product.