You’ve likely heard the term “micronutrients” bandied about on social media, blogs, and YouTube videos and how “important” or “beneficial” they are. But, how many individuals really understand what a micronutrient is, let alone how it helps you, whether that be building muscle, losing fat, or improving total-body health?
What Are Micronutrients?
Micronutrients are important compounds that help our metabolic machinery function better. They are non-caloric containing nutrients (as opposed to macronutrients -- protein, carbs, fats, and alcohol which contain calories).
Vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, and antioxidants all play a critical role in healthy development, disease prevention, and wellbeing. With few exceptions, such as vitamin D, micronutrients must be obtained from either food or supplements as our bodies cannot synthesize adequate amounts of them to ensure continued health and wellness.
Micronutrient deficiencies are (unfortunately) very common, which can hamper weight-loss, impair immunity, and cause a whole host of unwanted side effects.
Here are three common micronutrient deficiencies that can help support a healthy metabolism for better results during your transformation challenge.
Best Micronutrients for Weight Loss
Iodine is a trace mineral, commonly found in seafood and seaweed that plays a vital role in a healthy metabolism as it serves as a building block for thyroid hormones. Furthermore, iodine significantly impacts cognitive function, mood, skin health, fetal development, and more.However, iodine is also one of the most common micronutrient deficiencies, which is one of the main reasons it was added to salt (i.e. iodized salt).
Since most individuals do not consume enough iodine-containing foods, supplements are a cost-effective and accessible option. Our men’s and women’s multivitamins, 1UP Multi-Go Men and 1UP Multi-Go Women, provide 100% of the Daily Value of iodine in each serving.
Folate (aka Vitamin B9) is a water-soluble B vitamin required for the rejuvenation of healthy cells. It’s also essential for optimal healthy brain and spinal cord development of fetuses.
Additionally, folate also helps the body metabolize nutrients and serves as a necessary coenzyme in the synthesis of DNA and RNA. To top it off, folate also aids the conversion of homocysteine (an amino acid correlated with cardiovascular disorders) to methionine (an essential amino acid). Subsequently, methionine is used to create S-adenosyl-methionine (SAM-e), an important methyl donor that supports cardiometabolic health. SAM-e also supports joint health and mood!
Foods high in folate include:
- Spinach (and other dark, leafy greens)
- Beef liver
Zinc is an essential mineral heavily involved in immune support, insulin function, and hormone synthesis. It’s also one of the most common micronutrient deficiencies around the world, especially in hard-training athletes. In fact, deficiencies in zinc are associated with an increased risk/duration of illness as well as lower testosterone levels.[1,2]
Zinc-rich foods include:
- Whole grains
Zinc is also available in a number of affordable supplements, including our men’s and women’s multi-vitamins.
Micronutrients serve an essential role in metabolic health, mood, productivity, and weight loss. However, common nutrition habits leave millions of individuals deficient in numerous key micronutrients, which not only stall their weight loss progress but puts their health and well-being at risk.
Base your nutrition plan on whole foods that are minimally-processed to maximize your micronutrient intake, and consider incorporating the right supplements to fill in those gaps that may develop.
- Prasad AS. Zinc in human health: effect of zinc on immune cells. Mol Med. 2008 May-Jun;14(5-6):353-7. doi: 10.2119/2008-00033.Prasad. PMID: 18385818; PMCID: PMC2277319.
- Prasad AS, Mantzoros CS, Beck FW, Hess JW, Brewer GJ. Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults. Nutrition. 1996 May;12(5):344-8. doi: 10.1016/s0899-9007(96)80058-x. PMID: 8875519.