nutrition label

Nutrients for Life: What We Are Missing and Why It's Important

Across the globe, consumers’ focus on health has risen since the pandemic began, including their interest in healthy nutrition. Explore some of the key nutrients that many consumers are not getting enough of and why they’re essential to achieving good health.

Key Shortfall Nutrients

Consuming a healthy, balanced diet with the right amounts of all the essential nutrients is fundamentally important to keeping the body running smoothly. However, a large number of consumers—in underdeveloped and developed countries—are falling short on certain nutrients. While the pandemic is driving many consumers to take steps to improve their health, it’s important that food and supplement manufacturers offer products with the nutrients they need most.

Here’s a look at some of the essential nutrients that many consumers are low on and the critical roles they play in the body:

1. Calcium

The most abundant mineral found in the body, calcium is known for a variety of functions, such as:

  • Development and maintenance of bones
  • Muscle contraction
  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Nerve signaling
  • Blood clotting
  • Secretion of hormones

Since calcium stored in the bones is released into the bloodstream as needed, inadequate calcium intake poses the risk of depleting the bones’ reserves, leading to soft or brittle bones and fractures. While calcium fortification typically relies on calcium carbonate or tricalcium phosphate, innovative ingredients like TruCal® offer a balanced complex of seven key minerals at similar levels found in bone.

woman making a smoothie

2. Iron

Iron, which is most likely to be low in women of childbearing age and infants, is another essential mineral with many roles, including:

  • Metabolism and energy production
  • Transport of oxygen throughout the body
  • Growth and development
  • Cell division
  • Synthesis of hormones
  • Synthesis of connective tissue

Low iron intakes can result in iron deficiency anemia, with symptoms of fatigue, weakness, and impaired immune function. In children, it’s associated with learning difficulties and even stunting. Since the impacts of different iron fortificants can vary widely, it’s important for brands to understand their options. For example, Bioferrin® lactoferrin is an iron-rich milk protein that can improve iron absorption while being gentler on the stomach than traditional fortificants.

3. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is another powerhouse nutrient that’s been gaining recent attention by consumers for its role in healthy immune function. Vitamin D’s many roles in the body include:

  • Immune system regulation
  • Calcium absorption
  • Nerve and muscle function
  • Bone growth
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Reduction of inflammation

Since vitamin D is synthesized in the skin in the presence of the sun’s UV rays, those with limited sunlight exposure are at risk for deficiency, as well as seniors, breastfed infants, and people with dark skin. Vitamin D’s close relationship with calcium means inadequate vitamin D can have the same negative effects on the bones as a calcium deficiency.

man and woman high fiving

4. Magnesium

While magnesium is becoming more widely known for its possible effects on regulating mood, this essential mineral is active in hundreds of biochemical reactions that occur in the body, such as:

  • Energy production
  • DNA synthesis
  • Protein synthesis
  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Muscle contraction
  • Blood glucose regulation

The importance of magnesium is largely tied to its role as a cofactor in many of the body’s numerous enzyme systems. For this reason, low magnesium levels can have far-reaching effects with symptoms ranging from appetite loss to weakness to irregular heartbeat.

Toward a Healthier Future

As more consumers become proactive about their health and seek out products that can support their efforts, brands that deliver the right nutrients to meet their needs will stand out from the crowd. 

As a leader in the formulation of nutritional supplements and functional food and beverages, we offer an extensive portfolio of vitamins and minerals, health beneficial bioactive ingredients like TruCal® and Bioferrin®, and unmatched experience in the formulation of custom premixes. Get in touch to find out how we can help your consumers reach their nutrient requirements. 

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