According to the CDC, micronutrients, also referred to as vitamins and minerals, are important for healthy growth, prevention of diseases and well-being. While required only in small amounts, micronutrients are not produced in the body and have to be obtained from the diet. Lack of micronutrients can have catastrophic consequences.
- Iron is critical for motor and cognitive development.
- Iron is a leading cause of anemia which is defined as low hemoglobin concentration.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends iron and folic acid supplements for reducing anemia and improving iron status among women of reproductive age.
- Fortifying flour with iron and folic acid is globally recognized as an effective, low-cost intervention.
- Vitamin A supports healthy eyesight and immune system functions.
- Globally, vitamin A deficiency affects an estimated 190 million preschool-age children.
- Providing vitamin A supplements to children ages 6-59 months is highly effective in reducing deaths from all causes where vitamin A deficiency is a public health concern.
- Vitamin D builds healthy bones.
- Vitamin D deficiency causes bone diseases, including rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.
- Vitamin D is required for muscle and nerve functions.
- Vitamin D helps the immune system resist bacteria and viruses.
- Iodine is required during pregnancy and infancy for the infant’s healthy growth and cognitive development.
- Globally an estimated 1.8 billion people have insufficient iodine intake.
- Fortifying salt with iodine is a successful intervention – about 86% of households worldwide consume iodized salt.
- Folate (vitamin B9) is essential in the earliest days of fetal growth for the healthy development of the brain and spine.
- Ensuring sufficient levels of folate in women prior to conception can reduce neural tube defects (such as spina bifida and anencephaly).
- Folic acid is another form of vitamin B9.
- Zinc promotes immune functions and helps people resist infectious diseases including diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria. Zinc is also needed for healthy pregnancies.
- Providing zinc supplements reduces the incidence of premature birth, decreases childhood diarrhea and respiratory infections, lowers the number of deaths from all causes, and increases growth and weight gain among infants and young children.
For references and additional information, visit the link below from the CDC website.