Functions And Sources Of Macronutrients And Micronutrients

Macronutrient Function Symptoms of deficiency Symptoms of excess Sources of macronutrient Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) per day


Provide energy, construction of body tissues and nerve cells Hypoglycemia (not enough sugar in the blood), feelings of hunger, ketosis (bad breath, confusion, tiredness, sickness), headaches, constipation Tooth decay, carbs become stored as fat, develop type 2 diabetes Milk, fruit, vegetables, honey, sugary foods (made with added table sugar), fruit juice Not set


Provide energy, construction of body tissues and nerve cells Hypoglycemia (not enough sugar in the blood), feelings of hunger, ketosis (bad breath, confusion, tiredness, sickness), headaches, constipation Carbs become stored as fat, develop type 2 diabetes Cereals, potatoes, pasta, rice, bread Not set
Proteins Regulates processes in the body, growth and repair, provide energy, acquire muscle mass and tone Malnutrition – muscle wastage (atrophy) as body converts the protein into fat to use as energy, metabolic disorders (diabetes), low energy, fatigue Metabolic disorders (control of specific amino acids needed), excess protein stored as fat Meat, fish, eggs, cheese, milk, pulses, cereals, nuts 0-3 months 12.5g

4-6 months 12.7g

7-9 months 13.7g

10-12 months 14.9g

1-3 years 14.5g

4-6 years 19.7g

7-10 years 28.3g

Adults 0.75g of protein per 1kg of body weight

Pregnancy +6g

Lactation 0-6 months 11g

Lactation 6+ months 8g

Fats Provides energy, essential fatty acids make cell membranes and form hormones, allow fat soluble vitamins to be absorbed, protect internal organs Hunger, unable to regulate body temperature, for women amenorrhea may occur, dry skin Obesity, coronary heart disease – high cholesterol, diabetes type 2 (all from excess of saturated fats or trans fatty acids) Meat, fish, eggs, milk, sunflower seed, rapeseed, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, olives, soya beans, avocado Not set







Fat Soluble Vitamin Main function Deficiency Food sources Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) per day
A Helps vision

Immune system

Maintains healthy skin and mucus membranes

Normal growth in children

Night blindness may be first symptom of Vitamin A deficiency

Blindness, eye conditions; xerophthalmia

Growth retardation

Full fat milk, cheese eggs, oily fish, liver, butter, carrots, spinach, broccoli 0-12 months 350?g

1-3 years 400?g

7-10 years 500?g

11-14 years 600?g

Males: 15+ 700?g

Females 15+600?g

Pregnancy +100?g

Lactation +350?g

D Enables calcium to be absorbed by the intestines

Bone, teeth and muscle health

Rickets in children, osteomalacia in adults; weakened bones

Bone or muscle pain

Depression or fatigue

Sunlight on skin, meat (especially lean and red), oily fish, egg yolks, liver 0-6months 8.5?g

7 months to 64 years 7?g

65 + 10?g

Pregnancy and Lactation 10?g

E Antioxidant (against diseases)

Healthy cell membranes (against heart disease and cancer)

Healthy skin and eyes

Neurological issues

Muscle weakness

Retina degeneration

Haemolysis of red blood cells

Polyunsaturated oils (soya, vegetable oils), oily fish, wholegrains, cereals, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds Not set
K Blood clotting

Healthy bones

Rare but newborn babies may be deficient

Excessive or easy to bleed (menstrual, nose, gums, internal)

Easy to bruise

Leafy green vegetables, red meat, cereals, vegetable oils Not set


Water Soluble Vitamin Main function Deficiency Food sources Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) per day
Thiamine (B1) Break down and release energy from food

Healthy nervous system

Headaches, fatigue, depression, abdominal cramp, cardiac failure, nerve inflammation, loss of appetite and weight}all can cause beriberi disorder Fresh and dried fruit, peas, eggs, wholegrain bread, liver, fortified cereals 0-9months 0.2mg

10-12 months 0.3mg

1-3 years 0.5mg

7-10years 0.7mg

Males: 11-14 years 0.9mg

15-18 years 1.1mg

19-50 years 1.0mg

50 + years 0.9mg

Females: 11-14 years 0.7mg

15-50+ years 0.8mg

Pregnancy +0.1mg last trimester only

Lactation +0.2mg

Riboflavin (B2) Healthy skin, eyes, nervous system

Release energy from food

Swollen throat and tongue, skin cracking and dermatitis, anaemia, deterioration of eyes, thyroid and metabolic disorders, mood changes Milk, eggs, fortified cereals, rice 0-12 months 0.4mg

1-3 years 0.6mg

4-6 years 0.8mg

7-10 years 1.0mg

Males: 11-14 1.2mg

15-50+years 1.3mg

Females: 11-50+years 1.1mg

Pregnancy +0.3mg

Lactation +0.5mg

Niacin (Nicotinic acid/ B3) Release energy from food

Healthy nervous system

Dermatitis, diarrhea and other digestive disorders, dementia (pellagra), mucus membrane swelling, Meat, fish, wheat flour, eggs, milk 0-6 months 3mg

7-9 months 4mg

10-12 months 5mg

1-3 years 8mg

4-6 years 11mg

7-10years 12mg

Males: 11-14years 15mg

15-18 years 18mg

19-50 years 17mg

50+years 16mg

Females: 11-14 years 12mg

15-18 years 14mg

19-50 years 13mg

50+years 12mg

Pregnancy no change

Lactation +2mg

B6 (pyridoxine) Helps body use and store energy from protein and carbohydrates

Forms haemoglobin

Anaemia, skin disorders, infections, depression Pork, poultry, fish, bread, wholegrain cereal, vegetables, eggs, soya beans, peanuts, milk, potatoes, fortified cereals 0-6 months 0.2mg

7-9 months 0.3mg

9-12 months 0.4mg

1-3 years 0.7mg

4-6 years 0.9mg

7-10 years 1.0mg

Males 11-14 years 1.2mg

15-18 years 1.5mg

19-50+years 1.4mg

Females: 11-14 years 1.0mg

15-50+ years 1.2mg

Pregnancy and lactation no change

Folate (Folic acid/ B9) Forms healthy red blood cells

Reduces risk of unborn baby developing central neural tube defects

Metabolism of amino acids

Production of proteins

Synthesis of nucleic acid

Type of anaemia, poor immune function, chronic low energy, development problems with foetus during pregnancy, premature greying of hair, mood changes, diarrhea Broccoli, brussel sprouts, liver(excl. pregnancy),peas, green leafy veg, asparagus, beans, chickpeas, egg, fortified cereals, dairy, orange juice, brown bread 0-12 months 50?g

1-3 years 70?g

4-6 years 100?g

7-10 years 150?g

11-50+years (male and female) 200?g

Pregnancy +100?g

Lactation +60?g

B12 Making red blood cells

Healthy nervous system

Releasing energy from food

Using folic acid

Type of anaemia, confusion, tingling hands and feet, gradual loss of sensory and motor function, tiredness, depression Meat, salmon, cod, milk, cheese, eggs, fortified cereals 0-6 months 0.3?g

7-12 months 0.4?g

1-3 years 0.5?g

4-6 years 0.8?g

7-10 years 1.0?g

11-14 years 1.2?g (male and female)

15-50+years 1.5?g (male and female)

Pregnancy no change


C (Ascorbic acid) Healthy and protected cells

Healthy skin, blood vessels, bones, cartilage

Wound healing


Scurvy} bone and muscle aches, lowered immunity, easy bruising and bleeding, digestive disorders, dry skin Oranges and orange juice, red and green peppers, strawberry, blackcurrants, broccoli, brussel sprouts, potatoes 0-12months 25mg

1-10 years 30mg

11-14 years 35mg (male and female)

15-50+ years 40mg (male and female)

Pregnancy +10mg



Mineral Main function Deficiency Food source Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) per day
Calcium Hardens skeleton and teeth, Nerve impulse transmission, Muscle contraction,

Blood clotting

Bones and teeth not formed properly, rickets in children and osteomlacia in adults, tetany (muscle and nerve disorder) Milk and dairy, fortified tofu or soya, cerals, green leafy vegetables, bones from small fish, hard water, bread 0-12months 525mg

1-3 years 350mg

4-6 years 450mg

7-10years 550mg

Males: 11-18years 1000mg

19-50+years 700mg

Females: 11-18 years 800mg

19-50+ years 700mg

Pregnancy no change

Lactation +550mg

Phosphorous Works with calcium in the bones and blood

Production of energy

Not known to occur Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, cereals, nuts, legumes 0-12 months 400mg

1-3 years 270mg

4-6 years 350mg

7-10 years 450mg

Males: 11-14 years 775mg

15-50+ years 550mg

Females: 11-14 years 625mg

15-50+ years 550mg

Pregnancy no change

Lactation +440mg

Magnesium Skeletal development

Nerve function

Hypocalcaemia, muscle weakness, neuro-muscular dysfunction, irregular heartbeat, coma Wholegrain cereal, nuts, legumes, seafood, coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, vegetables, red meat, epsom salts 0-3 months 55mg

4-6 months 60mg

7-9 months 75mg

10-12 months 80mg

1-3 years 85mg

4-6 years 120mg

7-10 years 200mg

Males: 11-14 years 280mg

15-50+ years 300mg

Females: 11-14 years 280mg

15-18 years 300mg

19-50+ years 270mg

Pregnancy no change

Lactation +50mg

Trace elements:
Iron Helps carry oxygen in the blood

Helps tissue function via enzyme reactions

Anaemia, reduced immune responses Meat, fish, liver, cereals, fortified flour, legumes, green vegetables, nuts, lentils, poultry, spices, chickpeas, eggs, dried fruit 0-3 months 1.7mg

4-6 months 4.3mg

7-12 months 7.8mg

1-3 years 6.9mg

4-6 years 6.1mg

7-10 years 8.7mg

Males: 11-18 years 11.3mg

19-50+ years 8.7mg

Females: 11-50 years 14.8mg (for high menstrual loss supplements need to be taken)

50+ years 8.7mg

Pregnancy and lactation no change

Zinc Maintains function of enzymes and proteins

Immune system functioning

Wound healing

Sexual maturity

Low immunity, loss of appetite and taste, poor healing, repeat diarrhea, delayed sexual maturity, skeletal abnormalties, rash and infection Lean meat, liver, seafood, dairy, pulses, wholegrains, leafy vegetables, fruit, eggs, nuts 0-6 months 4.0mg

7months to 3 years 5.0mg

4-6 years 6.5mg

7-10 years 7.0mg

Males: 11-14 years 9.0mg

15-50+ years 9.5mg

Females: 11-14 years 9.0mg

15-50+ years 7.0mg

Pregnancy no change

Lactation 0-4 months +6.0mg

Lactation 4+months +2.5mg

Potassium Balance of fluids

Nerve impulses and muscle contraction

Heart muscle function

Works with chloride and sodium

Heart failure (in severe cases) Vegetables, potatoes, cereals, dairy, meat, fruit (especially bananas), fruit juice 0-3 months 800mg

4-6 months 850mg

7-12 months 700mg

1-3 years 800mg

4-6 years 1100mg

7-10 years 2000mg

11-14 years 3100mg (male and female)

15-50+ years 3500mg (male and female)

Pregnancy and lactation no change

Fluoride Production of enamel in the teeth Tooth decay Water supply, tea, seafood, toothpaste Not set
Sodium Works with chloride and potassium

Balance of body fluids

Nerve impulses and muscle contraction

Muscle cramps Add salt to foods (table salt), processed foods, prawns, baked beans, hard cheese 0-3 months 210mg

4-6 months 280mg

7-9 months 320mg

10-12 months 350mg

1-3 years 500mg

4-6 years 700mg

7-10 years 1200mg

11-50+ years 1600mg (male and female)

Pregnancy and lactation no change

Iodine Production of thyroid hormone

Growth and development of organs (in foetus and early life especially brain)


Brain damage


Added to salt, milk, seafoods, seaweed, green vegetables 0-3 months 50?g

4-12 months 60?g

1-3 years 70?g

4-6 years 100?g

7-10 years 110?g

11-14 years 130?g (male and female)

15-50+ years 140?g (male and female)

Pregnancy and lactation no change


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