Nutrition – Macronutrients and Micronutrients

Social Pharmacy, Pharmacy notes, Nutrition, Micronutrient, Macronutrients, Pharmapedia

Nutrients provide all of the necessary elements to promote our bodies growth and development and to regulate our bodies’ processes. so It a critical part of health and development.

Good nutrition is related to improved health, stronger immune systems, safer pregnancy and childbirth, lower risk of non-communicable diseases and longevity.

Healthy children learn better. People with adequate nutrition are more productive.

Nutrients can be divided into two categories: macronutrients, and micronutrients.

Nutrition, Macronutrient, Micronutrient
Type of nutrients: Macronutrients & Micronutrients

A. Macronutrients

The term macronutrient simply means that the nutrient is needed in large quantities for normal growth and development. Macronutrients are the body’s source of calories, or energy to fuel life processes.

Macronutrients include carbohydrate, protein, and fat.

Macronutrient, Health

1. Carbohydrates

  1. Carbohydrates include sugar, starches & fibres (fruits, grains & vegetables).
  2. Carbohydrates are easily broken down into glucose (directly used by brain & muscle) so it is the main source of Energy.
  3. Energy 4 calories/1g of carbohydrates
  4. Simple or bad carbohydrates generally release sugar faster (like refined table sugar) & do not contain any micronutrients like vitamins, minerals or fibres.
  5. While complex/good carbohydrates are available with various nutrients and good for health.
Simple/bad carbs
Complex, good,  carbohydrates, carbs
Complex/ good carbohydrates
  • Complex carbohydrates should be incorporated into diet
    • Fruits
    • Vegetable
    • Whole wheat grains (Brown rich, whole wheat bread)
    • Legumes such as lentils, Chickpeas
  • Carbohydrates consumed in the diet are also stored as glucose in liver & muscles cells to provide a rapid source of energy by breakdown into glucose.

2. Protein

  • Protein are made up of amino acids.
  • It function as hormones, enzymes & Antibody (Immune system).
  • Also make up parts of body structures like connective tissue, skin, hair & muscle fibres- Building Blocks of human structure).
  • Protein do not serve as a direct source of energy like carbohydrates.
  • Essential amino acids- Body can not synthesize them so must be supplied into diet.
  • Recommended daily intake= 0.75-1 g/kt of body wt.
  • Better source of proteins are Animals & Soy
  • Other sources are
    • Legumes
    • Eggs
    • Fish
    • Nuts
    • Seeds
    • Meat

3. Fats

  • There are two types of fats: Saturated & Unsaturated fat.
  • Our body needs the unsaturated fat & since unsaturated fat regulate metabolism, maintains the elasticity of cell membrane, improve blood flow, promote cell growth & regeneration.
  • Also fat helps in delivery of fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E & K) into the body.
  • Cholesterol (saturated) fat is also synthesize by our body. It play important role in hormone production (Vitamin D, Sex steroid), building of cell membranes, bile acid production etc. However, a diet in rich cholesterol can increase the risk of heart diseases.
  • Daily recommended intake= 30-35 % of your daily caloric intake.
Saturated, Unsaturated, fats, social pharmacy,
Saturated & Unsaturated fats
  • Fats to be include in our diet are-
    • Avocados
    • Fish
    • Olive oil
    • Dairy
    • Nuts
    • Eggs
    • Chia seeds

  • Essential Fatty acid (unsaturated fat) must be supplied in the diets since carbs & protein cannot produce them. Omega-3/Linolenic acid; Omega-6/Linoleic acid.
  • Omega-3 reduce blood clotting, dilate blodd vessels, reduce inflammations, reduce cholesterol & TG levels.
  • Also Omega-3 reduce the risk of mental illness & ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

B. Micronutrients

Micronutrients, are only needed in small amounts, (as per WHO) also called ‘magic wands’.

These enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones and other substances essential for proper growth and development”

Micronutrients are classified into two major classes i.e vitamins and minerals.

  1. Vitamins
  2. Minerals
  3. Water
Micronutrient, Vitamins, Minerals, water, Social Pharmacy,
Water Soluble
-Vitamin B1
-Vitamin B2
-Vitamin B6
-Vitamin B12
-Vitamin C
-Folic Acid
Fat Soluble
-Vitamin A
-Vitamin D
-Vitamin E
-Vitamin K
Summery of Micronutrients

1. Vitamins

a. Water Soluble Vitamins

VitaminPhysiological roleDeficiency
Thiamin (B1)Co-enzyme functions in metabolism of carbohydrates and branched-chain amino acidsBeri-beri, polyneuritis, and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome
Riboflavin (B2)Co-enzyme functions in numerous oxidation and reduction reactionsGrowth, cheilosis, angular stomatitis, and dermatitis
Niacin (nicotinic acid and nicotinamide)Co-substrate/co-enzyme for hydrogen transfer with numerous dehydrogenasesPellagra with diarrhoea, dermatitis, and dementia
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, and pyridoxal)Co-enzyme functions in metabolism of amino acids, glycogen, and sphingoid basesNaso-lateral seborrhoea, glossitis, and peripheral neuropathy (epileptiform convulsions in infants)
Pantothenic acidConstituent of co-enzyme A and phosphopantetheine involved in fatty acid metabolismFatigue, sleep disturbances, impaired coordination, and nausea
BiotinCo-enzyme functions in bicarbonate-dependent carboxylationsFatigue, depression, nausea, dermatitis, and muscular pains
Physiologic roles and deficiency signs of B-complex vitamins
Vitamindietary sources
Thiamin (B1)Pork, organ meats, whole grains, and legumes
Riboflavin (B2)Milk and dairy products, meats, and green vegetables
Niacin (nicotinic acid and nicotinamide)Liver, lean meats, grains, and legumes; can be formed from tryptophan
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, and pyridoxal)Meats, vegetables, and whole-grain cereals
Pantothenic acidAnimal tissues, whole-grain cereals, and legumes; widely distributed
BiotinLiver, yeast, egg, yolk, soy flour, and cereals
Dietary sources of water-soluble vitamins

Folate/folic acid & Vitamin 12

VitaminPhysiological roleEffects of Deficiency and Toxicity
Folate (folic acid)Maturation of red blood cells, Synthesis of purines, pyrimidines, and methionine, Development of fetal nervous systemDeficiency: Megaloblastic anemia, neural tube birth defects, confusion
Vitamin B12 (cobalamins)Maturation of red blood cells, neural function, DNA synthesis, myelin synthesis and repairDeficiency: Megaloblastic anemia, neurologic deficits (confusion, paresthesias, ataxia)
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)Collagen formation, Bone and blood vessel health, Carnitine, hormone, and amino acid formation, Wound healingDeficiency: Scurvy (hemorrhages, loose teeth, gingivitis, bone defects)
Physiologic roles and deficiency signs of B-complex vitamins
NutrientPrincipal Sources
Folate (folic acid)Raw green leafy vegetables, fruits, organ meats (eg, liver), enriched cereals and breads
Vitamin B12 (cobalamins)Meats (especially beef, pork, and organ meats [eg, liver]), poultry, eggs, fortified cereals, milk and milk products, clams, oysters, mackerel, salmon
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)Citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, strawberries, sweet peppers
Dietary sources of water-soluble vitamins

b. Fat Soluble vitamin

VitaminPhysiological roleEffects of Deficiency and Toxicity
Vitamin A (retinol)Formation of rhodopsin (a photoreceptor pigment in the retina), Integrity of epithelia, Lysosome stability, Glycoprotein synthesisDeficiency: Night blindness, perifollicular hyperkeratosis, xerophthalmia, keratomalacia, increased morbidity and mortality in young children
Toxicity: Headache, peeling of skin, hepatosplenomegaly, bone thickening, intracranial hypertension, papilledema, hypercalcemia
Vitamin D
(cholecalciferol, ergocalciferol)
Calcium and phosphate absorption, Mineralization and repair of bone, Tubular reabsorption of calcium, Insulin and thyroid function, improvement of immune function, reduced risk of autoimmune diseaseDeficiency: Rickets (sometimes with tetany), osteomalacia
Toxicity: Hypercalcemia, anorexia, renal failure, metastatic calcifications
Vitamin E group (alpha-tocopherol, other tocopherols)Intracellular antioxidant, Scavenger of free radicals in biologic membranesDeficiency: Red blood cell hemolysis, neurologic deficits
Toxicity: Tendency to bleed
Vitamin K group (phylloquinone, menaquinones)Formation of prothrombin, other coagulation factors, and bone proteinsDeficiency: Bleeding due to deficiency of prothrombin and other factors, osteopenia
Fat soluble vitamins: function and effect of Deficiency and Toxicity
NutrientPrincipal Sources
Vitamin A (retinol)As preformed vitamin: fish liver oils, liver, egg yolks, butter, vitamin A–fortified dairy productsAs provitamin carotenoids: dark green and yellow vegetables, carrots, yellow and orange fruits
Vitamin D (cholecalciferol, ergocalciferol)Direct ultraviolet B irradiation of the skin (main source), fortified dairy products (main dietary source), fish liver oils, fatty fish, liver
Vitamin E group (alpha-tocopherol, other tocopherols)Vegetable oils, nuts
Vitamin K group (phylloquinone, menaquinones)Green leafy vegetables (especially collards, spinach, and salad greens), soy beans, vegetable oilsBacteria in the gastrointestinal tract after neonatal period
Dietary sources of fat-soluble vitamins

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