Sunday, May 06, 2018 by Isabelle Z.
You might think that micronutrients aren’t that important given the small amounts that the body requires, but overlooking these essential dietary components can have significant repercussions for your health. They’re required for everyone to maintain a healthy immune system as well as brain, bone, nerve, blood and skin health, and a new study shows this is particularly important for those with HIV.
Micronutrients aren’t produced by the body, so you have to get them from your diet. They include iron, zinc, folate, iodine, iron, magnesium, and Vitamins A, B, C, D and E.
In adults who have HIV, micronutrient deficiencies are very common, especially in low-income areas where diets are lacking nutrients. In these immune-compromised individuals, supplementation is essential given the role that micronutrients play in immune system health.
In a recent review of scientific literature, researchers looked at studies that examined micronutrient supplementation in HIV-positive subjects. After looking at more than 10,000 participants, they concluded that micronutrient supplementation can be useful for those HIV patients who are vulnerable to specific deficiencies or have a poor dietary intake. They believe larger studies could indicate important benefits from routine micronutrient supplementation. For example, they found that supplementation could increase the blood concentrations of zinc, vitamin D, and vitamin A in those with deficiencies.
Regardless of HIV status, everybody needs to ensure they’re getting enough micronutrients. To give you an idea of just how powerful they are, a report from Harvard Medical School says that neglecting to get proper micronutrients “virtually guarantees disease.” Some of the problems you might face by ignoring micronutrients include type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancer.
Iron is essential for the production of red blood cells and lymphocytes. You are probably already aware that not getting enough iron results in anemia, a fairly common deficiency that affects 43 percent of children and 38 percent of pregnant women around the world. Iron-rich foods include eggs, pulses, beans, seeds, nuts, meat, and fish.
Iodine is another important micronutrient. This mineral is essential for cognitive and brain development, and it helps your thyroid gland to function. Iodine is also important for metabolizing fats and energy production. You can get it from foods like sea vegetables, eggs, seafood, cranberries, and yogurt.
Zinc is a mineral that helps to promote immunity and infection resistance, and it’s needed for your nervous system. You can find it in foods like turkey, beef, crab and oysters. It is also essential to male reproductive health.
Magnesium is needed to help your heart keep up a normal rhythm. It also helps your body to convert glucose into energy, and it’s required to metabolize vitamin C and calcium. It can be found in seeds, nuts and legumes.
Vitamin D is needed for strong bones, and lately it’s been getting a lot of attention for its ability to help prevent cancer and protect against diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease. It’s not easy to get enough from food, but spending a short amount of time in the sun without sunscreen can prompt your body to produce the amount you need.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps your body to fight free radical damage. You can get vitamin E from sunflower seeds, peanut butter, and almonds.
Vitamin C is essential for your immune system to function properly. It’s found in citrus fruits, peppers, tomatoes, kiwis and broccoli.
Eating a well-rounded diet is the best way to make sure you’re getting enough micronutrients. It’s always preferable to get vitamins and minerals from your diet rather than through supplements whenever possible, but there is nothing wrong with turning to supplements if you just can’t seem to get enough micronutrients through food.
See more stories on good health habits at Health.news.
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