Micronutrient Science Definitions

Here we have gathered numerous definitions of the terms used throughout our website, science, and products to help our visitors better understand their meanings.

Antioxidant

  • Antioxidants may neutralize the effects of free radicals (oxidants), which many scientists believe can be a cause of cell damage. Examples of antioxidant nutrients include: vitamins C and E and vitamin A and beta carotene.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

  • Coenzyme Q10 is found in the mitochondria ( a specialized component of cells) of all cells. It functions as part of the cellular system that generates energy from oxygen for bodily processes. Coenzyme Q10 is naturally found in foods such as beef, chicken, salmon, and broccoli, and is synthesized in all body tissues.

Folic Acid

  • Folic Acid is essential for the manufacture of DNA, the substances necessary for cell reproduction. It also promotes normal red blood cell formation. An adequate intake of folic acid is important to reduce the risk of certain birth defects. Good sources of folic acid include: leafy vegetables, some fruits, legumes, liver, yeast breads, wheat germ, and vegetable oils such as soybean, corn, cottonseed, and safflower.

Free Radicals

  • Free radicals may be produced naturally through normal metabolism or even more through exposure to outside factors such as stress, aging, extreme environmental stressors (cold & heat), exposure to toxic chemicals, smoking, strenuous aerobic training and in combat, high-calorie, high fat diet and environmental pollution. As you can see we are all affected by free radicals and the goal is to lessen its damage on our bodies.
  • An excess of free radicals can cause damage to tissue, including cells and DNA. Other potential consequences include reduced immune function and increased risk of other chronic conditions including aging. The body’s natural defenses against oxidative stress are easily overwhelmed so additional nutritional support may be helpful. This is particularly true for anyone who has been exposed to high levels of oxidative stress such as smokers, elite athletes, radiation workers, transportation workers, soldiers, and those who are overweight.

Micronutrient

  • Micronutrients are essential elements needed for life in small quantities. They include minerals, vitamins, and other chemicals necessary for cellular health. More than two billion people (i.e. one in three persons worldwide) suffer from micronutrient deficiency.

Nutrient

  • A chemical compound (such as protein, fat, carbohydrate, a vitamin, or mineral) that is found in food. Nutrients are used by the body to function and maintain health.

Oxidative Stress / Oxidative Damage

  • Oxidative stress refers to an imbalance in the chemistry of the body caused by excessive amounts of free radicals (tissue and cell toxins).

Pantothenic Acid

  • Pantothenic Acid – Pantothenic acid is essential for the metabolism of fat and sugar within the body. Good sources of pantothenic acid include: meat, poultry, fish, whole-grain cereals and legumes.

Selenium

  • Selenium is a trace mineral that, along with vitamin E, protects the cells from damage from oxygen radicals. Good sources of selenium include: seafood, liver and kidney, as well as other meats.

Thiamin

  • Also known as vitamin B1, thiamin participates in the body’s ability to use protein and carbohydrates to produce energy. It also aids in metabolism, especially of carbohydrates. It is important for normal functioning of the nervous system. Good sources of thiamin include: whole-grain and enriched grain products, such as beans, rice, pasta and fortified cereals.

Vitamin A

  • Vitamin A is important for the growth and development of bones, teeth and gums. It is also essential for night vision, healthy skin, hair and mucous membranes. Good sources of vitamin A include: liver, fish, oil, eggs, and vitamin A-fortified foods.

B vitamin or Vitamin B Complex

  • The term “B complex” refers to the mixture or combination of 8 B vitamins: Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pyridoxine (B6), Pantothenic Acid (B5), Folic Acid (B8), Cyanocobalamin (B12) and Biotin. Most of the B vitamins play a critical role as cofactors in cellular energy metabolism. Cofactors can be thought of as “helper nutrients” that assist chemical reactions. For example, the process of glycogenolysis, which converts energy stored as glycogen into glucose molecules, requires Vitamin B6 and Thiamin.

Vitamin B6

  • Vitamin B6 influences many body functions including regulating blood glucose levels, manufacturing hemoglobin and aiding the utilization of protein, carbohydrates and fats. It also aids in the function of the nervous system. Good sources of vitamin B6 include: chicken, fish, pork, liver and kidney. It may also be found in whole grains, nuts and legumes.

Vitamin B12

  • Vitamin B12 is essential for normal growth, healthy nerve tissue and blood formation. It is also a crucial element in the reproduction of every cell of the body. Good sources of vitamin B12 include: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk and other dairy foods.

Vitamin C

  • Vitamin C serves as an antioxidant and plays a role in collagen formation, neurotransmission and tissue repair. Good sources of vitamin C include: oranges, grapefruits and tangerines, many other fruits and vegetables, including berries, melons, peppers, dark green leafy vegetables, potatoes and tomatoes.

Vitamin D

  • Vitamin D helps the body properly utilize calcium and phosphorus necessary to build strong bones and teeth. Good sources of vitamin D include: fortified milk, cheese, eggs and fish (sardines and salmon).

Vitamin E

  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can prevent a chemical reaction called oxidation, which can sometimes result in harmful effects in your body. It is also important for the proper function of nerves and muscles. Good sources of vitamin E include: vegetable oils, such as soybean, corn, cottonseed, and safflower, as well as nuts, seeds and wheat germ.

Vitamin K

  • Vitamin K helps the blood clot when the body is injured and is important in bone metabolism. Good sources of vitamin K include: green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli.

Biotin

  • Biotin is used in cell growth, the production of fatty acids, metabolism of fats, and proteins. It plays a role in the Krebs cycle, which is the process in which energy is released from food. Biotin is also indicated for healthy hair and skin, healthy sweat glands, nerve tissue, and bone marrow, and assisting with muscle pain.

Calcium

  • Most people know that calcium is needed for strong bones, but it’s also needed to help blood vessels and muscles contract and expand, to send messages through the nervous system, and to secrete hormones and enzymes. This is the most abundant mineral in your body and makes up 1%-2% of adult human body weight. Over 99% of it is stored in bones and teeth with the rest stored in blood, muscle, and other tissues.

Magnesium

  • Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.

Zinc

  • Zinc is involved in numerous aspects of cellular metabolism. It is required for the catalytic activity of approximately 100 enzymes and it plays a role in immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing, DNA synthesis and cell division.

Chromium

  • Chromium is an essential nutrient required for normal sugar and fat metabolism and works supporting the action of insulin. It is present in the entire body but with the highest concentrations in the liver, kidneys, spleen and bone.

NAC n-acetylcysteine

  • NAC helps the body synthesize glutathione, an important antioxidant. Glutathione is a small protein composed of three amino acids: cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine. Glutathione is involved in detoxification—it binds to toxins, such as heavy metals, solvents, and pesticides, and transforms them into a form that can be excreted in urine or bile

Lipoic Acid

  • Alpha lipoic acid is a fatty acid found naturally inside every cell in the body. It’s needed by the body to produce the energy for our body’s normal functions. Alpha lipoic acid works with enzymes to help convert glucose (blood sugar) into energy. Alpha lipoic acid is also an antioxidant, a substance that neutralizes potentially harmful chemicals called free radicals. What makes alpha lipoic acid unique is that it functions in water and fat, unlike the more common antioxidants vitamins C and E, and it appears to be able to recycle antioxidants such as vitamin C and glutathione after they have been used up. Glutathione is an important antioxidant that helps the body eliminates potentially harmful substances. Alpha lipoic acid increases the formation of glutathione.

L-Carnitine

  • L-Carnitine helps maintain blood lipid profile and promote fatty acid utilization within heart muscle, helps the body convert fatty acids into energy.

Carotenoids

  • Carotenoids are powerful antioxidants, protecting the cells of the body from damage caused by free radicals. Carotenoids, and specifically beta-carotene, are also believed to enhance the function of the immune system.