Macronutrients vs. Micronutrients: What’s the Difference?
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
- Both macronutrients and micronutrients are important parts of your diet.
- Learn the differences between them and how you can make sure you are getting enough of both.
We don’t want to sound like your one CrossFit friend, but have you looked at your macros lately?
Even if you don’t actively track your macros, you’ve definitely got a friend that does, and they’ve probably tried to explain to you the importance of macro-tracking.
We’ll explain what macronutrients and micronutrients are, what they do, and how you can make sure you’re getting enough.
Macros vs. Micros
Macronutrients and micronutrients are the basic building blocks of a healthy diet. They make up the essential compounds, vitamins, and nutrients our bodies need to function properly. It’s essential that we get enough of each, but there are differences between both categories and different dietary requirements for each individual macronutrient and micronutrient.
What are Macronutrients
Macronutrients or “macros” refer to the three main nutritional compounds that make up our diets. They are fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Each component is needed for our bodies to thrive, and each person will have different dietary needs for each compound.
When your macro-tracking friend refers to their macros, they’re actually talking about the grams of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates they intake per day. Normally, a person will allocate a percentage of their total caloric intake per day to each compound.
Macros are tracked and calculated based on individual dietary need, goals, sex, and activity level, however there are general guidelines for adults that suggest the following:
- 45%-65% of total diet for carbohydrates
- 10%-35% of total diet for protein
- 20%-35% of total diet for fat
Each macronutrient has a specific function in keeping our bodies healthy.
Carbohydrates are broken down into fuel for your body to use for everything from physical activity to cellular function.
Fats play a major role in the total health of your body, but they’ve gotten a bad wrap. In the 1970’s, heart disease became the number one killer. Dietary guidelines were established telling us to avoid fat to save our hearts.
As it turns out, however, not all fats are bad.† In fact, some fats (like omega-3) are essential for us to stay healthy. Essential fatty acids like omega-3 are necessary for our bodies to function properly, but can’t be made by our bodies. That means, we have to get them from our foods.
Fat helps play a role in metabolizing carbohydrates and protecting your cells, but too much of certain fats (even omega-3) has negative health markers.
Your macro-loving friend loves their protein, and there's a good reason why. Proteins help build strong muscles, but it does a lot more to keep your body healthy.
When your body ingests protein, it is broken down into smaller compounds called amino acids. Amino acids are then distributed around your body to help your organs carry out their specific functions.
There are twenty amino acids, but nine are essential, which again means your body can’t make them and must obtain them from food or supplements.
What Are Micronutrients?
Micronutrients are smaller compounds but still an integral part of our diets.
Micronutrients refer to vitamins and minerals that our bodies need in much smaller amounts than macronutrients. Don’t let the lower recommended daily allowances fool you, micronutrients are crucial to our health.
Being deficient in just one micronutrient can affect an entire process in your body. For instance, if you’re low on B12, you’ll experience changes in energy levels and mood. Skip out on iron, and you’ll become anemic. Forgo fresh fruits and vegetables and you could even develop a vitamin C deficiency.
Clearly, micronutrients are important, we just need less of them than our macros.
For most healthy Americans, it’s easy to get the proper amounts of vitamins and minerals we need in our diets. However, if you have an unbalanced diet or a condition that causes malabsorption, you could experience a micronutrient deficiency.
Of the numerous vitamins and minerals your body needs, nearly 30 are essential, which means they’ve got to come from your diet, or from supplementation.
How Macronutrients and Micronutrients Work
Both macronutrients and micronutrients work together to support your body so it can carry out the processes required for you to survive.
Ultimately, both micronutrients and macronutrients work in your body to:
- Give you energy. Without proper amounts of all the macronutrients, your body won’t be able to produce enough energy to carry out bodily functions or keep you energized for daily activities.
- Protect you from illness and disease. Both macronutrients and micronutrients are essential in protecting you from illness and diseases. While you might hone in on vitamin C as the great immunity booster, fatty acids also play a major role in balancing your immunity and keeping you well.
- Support growth and repair. Macronutrients and micronutrients are essential in helping a developing body and brain grow and develop properly. They’re also important in helping your body repair damage from injury, illness, and disease.
Macros and micros work hand in hand to protect and support your health and wellness, but too often the sources of our macros and micros aren’t top notch. So, how can you make sure you’re getting enough of the good stuff without loading up on the bad? It comes down to your dietary choices.
Everyone is on a diet, because a diet simply refers to the foods we eat. While we need macros and micros to keep us healthy, it goes without saying there are better sources of protein than fried chicken and healthier ways to get micronutrients than eating bowl after bowl of sugar-laden, “fortified” cereal.
One of the best ways to eat a healthier diet is by eating “cleaner.” Eating cleaner simply refers to eating foods that spoil, but eating them before they do. Look for foods that aren’t loaded with preservatives and lean meats that haven’t been raised with questionable hormones.
One way to learn to eat healthier? Shop the perimeter of your local grocery store. Pre-packaged, less healthy options are usually found in the inner aisles, while fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, and fresh meats are normally all located around them.
How To Boost Your Diet With Pentadecanoic Acid
If you’re already eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and practicing stress-relief techniques, there’s more you can do to level up your health stack.
If you want to take care of your body the best way you can, being proactive in promoting cellular health is an essential piece of the puzzle. As we get older, our cells become fragile, leaving us weaker and more susceptible to injury, premature aging, and illness.
We might feel the effects of aging: we’re tired, carrying a little excess weight, and suffering from conditions like insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and unhealthy cholesterol levels.
Thankfully, there’s something we can do to support the health of our cells.
Pentadecanoic acid is an odd-chain, saturated fatty acid that an increasing body of research shows can help give our cells the ability to stay stronger, longer.* In fact, this acid, also called C15:0, may be the first essential fatty acid to have been discovered in over 90 years.†*
C15:0 helps support your cellular health by:*†
- Strengthening cell walls. Our cell membranes begin to break down with age, leaving them fragile. C15:0 digs into the cell walls and helps fortify them, keeping them strong and helping them avoid damage from external stressors.
- Boosting mitochondrial function. Our mitochondria get sluggish as we get older. C15:0 helps support mitochondrial function, which can help increase cellular energy output and reduce cellular stress.
C15:0 also helps keep your body healthy by:*†
- Balancing immunity and metabolism. Getting older can take a toll on your metabolism and immunity, leaving both a little unbalanced. Proper diet can help, but taking C15:0 can help support both by interacting with the receptors in your body (called PPARs) that control immunity and metabolism.
- Improving sleep and mood. By binding to receptors in your brain that control sleep and mood, C15:0 can help restore and balance your mood and help promote healthy sleep patterns.
You can get C15:0 into your macros by taking a once daily supplement called fatty15. Fatty15 helps support your body at the cellular level, and can help ensure you’re getting all the essentials in your diet, even if you’re not tracking your macros.*†
Both macronutrients and micronutrients play an important role in keeping you healthy and ensuring your body is functioning correctly. It’s important to get your macronutrients and micronutrients from quality sources.
Taking fatty15 can help you establish a firm foundation of health by supporting your cells and promoting overall wellness.*† In addition to a balanced diet, fatty15 can help you take care of your health and make sure you’re actively caring for your cellular health.
Get started with fatty15 today with our 30-day trial kit.
Sources:Micronutrients Have Major Impact on Health|Harvard Health
Eric Venn-Watson M.D.
Senior Scientist, Co-Founder
Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.
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