Medically reviewed on Aug 14, 2023 by Jillian Foglesong Stabile, MD, FAAFP. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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In order for our bodies to work properly, we require nutrients. These essential substances play a fundamental role in our growth and development, disease prevention, and energy production. 
When it comes to a balanced diet and healthy eating habits, it’s important to understand macronutrients vs. micronutrients. While macronutrients—like carbohydrates, protein, and fats—are required in large quantities, we only need small amounts of micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. Even in small quantities, however, micronutrients are essential to our overall health and well-being.  Essential micronutrients can also promote bone health and immune function.
A well-balanced diet can help ensure you’re receiving the nutrients you need to feel and perform your best. In this guide, we’ll help you identify the types of micronutrients and where to find them.
Types of Micronutrients
So, what are micronutrients, exactly? They are the vitamins and minerals found in many nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. The following vitamins and minerals are common micronutrients.
As organic compounds, vitamins can be categorized as either fat-soluble or water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins will dissolve in fat and stay in the body for long periods of time to help promote growth and reproduction.
As such, it’s critical to not consume too much of a fat-soluble vitamin, since it can build up in the body tissues to potentially toxic levels. This condition is extremely rare, however, and often occurs as a result of excessive supplement consumption, rather than ingesting too many vitamin-rich foods. As organic compounds, vitamins can be categorized as either fat-soluble or water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins will dissolve in fat and stay in the body for long periods of time to help promote growth and reproduction.
As such, it’s critical to not consume too much of a fat-soluble vitamin, since it can build up in the body tissues to potentially toxic levels. This condition is extremely rare, however, and often occurs as a result of excessive supplement consumption, rather than ingesting too many vitamin-rich foods.
Fat-soluble vitamins include :
- Vitamin A – A vitamins like carotenoids and retinoids are essential to vision and the integrity of mucous membranes. They’re found in animal-based foods like butter, whole milk, and egg yolks. Carotenoids are also present in dark leafy greens and yellow/orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots.3 For women, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 700 micrograms and 900 micrograms for men. 
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D plays a role in the digestion and intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphorus, which helps strengthen the bones. We can get vitamin D from the sun as well as animal-based foods like liver, butter, and fatty fish.3 The RDA for vitamin D varies depending on age, however recommended amounts range from 600 to 800 UI for both women and men. 
- Vitamin E – As an antioxidant, vitamin E helps protect the body against harmful free radicals, which can cause oxidative stress and damage to cells and tissues. You’ll find vitamin E in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and wheat germs.3 For women and men, the RDA is 15 milligrams. 
- Vitamin K – The liver requires vitamin K to regulate blood clotting. Leafy green vegetables, cereals, dairy products, meats, and fruit contain the essential vitamin.  For women, the RDA is 90 micrograms. For men, it’s 120 micrograms. 
Water-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, dissolve in water, making them easy for the body to absorb. They play roles in energy metabolism, immune function, and cell growth. However, the body cannot store water-soluble and they require regular replenishment through the foods we eat.4 Water-soluble vitamins include B vitamins and vitamin C :
- Thiamine (vitamin B1) – Thiamine helps break down glucose to promote energy production and support the health of the nervous system. You’ll find vitamin B1 in pork, fish, lentils, beans, sunflower seeds, and yogurt.  The RDA for women is 1.1 milligrams, and 1.2 milligrams for men. 
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2) – Riboflavin helps promote skin and eye health, as well as nervous system function and energy production. It’s found in milk, eggs, mushrooms, yogurt, and fortified breakfast cereals.6 Women should have 1.1 milligrams daily and men 1.3 milligrams. 
- Niacin (vitamin B3) – Niacin helps support the nervous system, energy production, and skin health. Meat, fish, whole wheat, and eggs are rich in this B vitamin.  While women should intake 14 milligrams daily, men should increase their intake to 16 milligrams. 
- Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) – Vitamin B5 plays a role in the production of energy and hormones. Sources of pantothenic acid include chicken, beef, eggs, mushrooms, and avocado.  Both men and women should intake 5 milligrams of the vitamin daily. 
- Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) – This vitamin helps to store energy from proteins and carbohydrates and form hemoglobin to help deliver oxygen throughout the body. It’s found in pork, poultry, and fish, as well as peanuts, soya beans, oats, bananas, and milk.  The RDA for vitamin B6 varies depending on age: The intake for women ranges from 1.3 to 1.5 milligrams. For men, It’s 1.3 to 1.7 milligrams, with RDA increasing with age. 
- Biotin (vitamin B7) – Biotin supports the production of fatty acids, and it’s primarily produced within the gut microbiome. However, small amounts of vitamin B7 are also found in organ meats, eggs, fish, meat, seeds, and sweet potatoes.  The RDA for both men and women is 30 micrograms. 
- Folate (vitamin B9) – Folate helps to support the production of healthy red blood cells and it can help reduce the risk of certain birth defects in those who are pregnant. You can fortify your diet with folate-rich foods like broccoli, brussels sprouts, leafy greens, peas, chickpeas, and kidney beans.  Some breakfast cereals are also fortified with folic acid, the man-made version of folate. The RDA for folate is 400 milligrams; however, people who are pregnant may require more. 
- Cobalamin (vitamin B12) – Vitamin B12 helps the body use folate effectively, as well as produce red blood cells, maintain nervous system health, and release energy from food. It’s found in meat, fish, cheese, eggs, milk, and fortified breakfast cereals.  2.4 micrograms is the RDA. 
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C protects cells, supports skin health, and promotes wound healing. It’s found in citrus fruits, peppers, strawberries, blackcurrants, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and potatoes.  The RDA is 75 milligrams for women and 90 milligrams for men. 
Minerals are essential micronutrients that help support the health of your brain, muscles, bones, and heart. There are two types: trace minerals and macrominerals, of which your body requires higher amounts. Macrominerals include :
Trace minerals, of which you require smaller amounts, include :
You can find both types of minerals in a variety of foods, including meat, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, legumes, and fresh fruit. 
Support Your Nutritional Health With Everlywell
Micronutrients in the form of vitamins and minerals are critical to your balanced diet for overall health and well-being. Failure to absorb enough of the essential compounds can lead to adverse symptoms like fatigue and muscle weakness.
To fortify your nutritional health with essential vitamins and minerals, Everlywell has you covered with the Multivitamin Supplement, which contains seven essential vitamins as well as iodine and zinc.
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- Micronutrients. CDC. URL. Accessed August 12, 2023.
- Micronutrients have major impact on health. Harvard Health Publishing. Published February 15, 2021. URL. Accessed August 12, 2023.
- Fat-Soluble Vitamins. Diet and Health: Implications for Reducing Chronic Disease Risk. URL. Accessed August 12, 2023.
- Vitamins and Minerals. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Published March 2023. URL. Accessed August 12, 2023.
- Lykstad J, Sharma S. Biochemistry, Water Soluble Vitamins. StatPearls. Published March 6, 2023. URL. Accessed August 12, 2023.
- Vitamins and minerals. NHS. Published August 3, 2023. URL. Accessed August 12, 2023.
- Minerals. Kaiser Permanente. Published February 29, 2023. URL. Accessed August 12, 2023.