A micronutrient is a nutrient that is necessary in small amounts (typically measured in milligram, or even smaller, quantities) in the diet. Two main types of micronutrients are minerals and vitamins. Minerals and vitamins are at times peddled as doing everything from curing diseases to augmenting energy and sexual prowess. The real role of minerals and vitamins in health promotion and disease deterrence continues to be explored. The human body requires various minerals for an extensive diversity of metabolic functions. For instance, calcium is needed for bone and tooth development and function, nerve broadcast, and muscle contraction. Iron is essential for oxygen transport and is also a constituent of enzymes necessary for energy metabolism. Phosphorus, magnesium, iron, calcium, and the electrolytes potassium, sodium, and chloride are often called the major minerals. Hormones control the levels of many of the minerals in the body.
As stated previously, minerals fall into two categories: macrominerals and trace minerals. The total mineral content of the body is about four percent of body weight. Macrominerals are present in the body in larger amounts than trace minerals. By designation, trace elements are chemical components that unsurprisingly occur in plants, soil, and animals in minute concentrations. Though necessary in much smaller quantities than macrominerals, trace elements, also known as trace minerals, are essential for optimal health. Most minerals that are ingested are carried away to regions where they need to be used. However, the body does have a tendency to store a small percentage away just in case. This partition is stored in the skeleton, specifically, bones. They are storage structures for minerals like phosphate, magnesium, and calcium. Beyond just being stored, the minerals serve to reinforce the integrity of the bone where they are found, thereby supporting the rigidity of the skeletal system.
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- Mervyn, Leonard. Thorsons complete guide to vitamins & minerals: all you need to know about vitamins & minerals for your health. 3rd rev. ed. London: Thorsons, 2000.