Did you know that micronutrient inadequacies are actually common in the United States?
Because I sure didn't.
Micronutrient deficiencies are not necessarily prevalent here, but inadequacies -- which occur when someone is getting enough of the nutrient to be outside of the "deficient" category but not enough to meet the estimated average requirement for their needs -- are surprisingly common.
According to Oregon State University, "micronutrient inadequacies could elicit symptoms of general fatigue, reduced ability to fight infections, or impaired cognitive function (i.e., attention [concentration and focus], memory, and mood). Micronutrient inadequacies may also have important implications for long-term health and increase one’s risk for chronic diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, and age-related eye disease."
It can be difficult to pinpoint signs of a micronutrient inadequacy, since symptoms can vary widely depending on the nutrient and intake levels. However, "The long-term solution for solving micronutrient inadequacies is using food-based approaches to ensure a diverse, sustainable and nutritious diet, which may be complemented with food fortification and, for specific life-stages and population groups, micronutrient supplementation to ensure supply of micronutrients that might be insufficient in the usual diets" (source).
To supplement these materials, I thought it might be fun to take a closer look at micronutrients. What they are, what they do, and how to get more of them into an eating pattern. That brings us to our next series: Micronutrients and You.
First we'll explore micronutrients. What they are, how they differ from macronutrients, and their general impact on health. Then, we'll take a detailed look at the CDC's six essential micronutrients: vitamin A, vitamin D, folate, iodine, iron, and zinc. All of these explorations will come with handouts and fun facts.
Stick around. The world of micronutrients is about to get a whole lot bigger.
Handout: Micronutrient Fact Handout
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.