Micronutrients are the nutrients needed by the body in small amounts as compared with macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats). They include vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids (EFAs). Vitamins and minerals serve as structural components of tissues. Both function as coenzymes that facilitate thousands of biochemical reactions in the body.

Water-soluble vitamins are excreted by the body and must be replenished daily. They're typically absorbed into the bloodstream for delivery to cells. The B vitamins and vitamin C are water-soluble.

Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the fatty tissue in the body (primarily the liver). They are absorbed into the lymphatic system and travel in the blood with the aid of protein carriers. Because they're stored in the body, toxic levels can develop. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble.

Minerals are naturally occurring elements that are absorbed by plants and become part of our food supply. More than one-third of all enzymes require a mineral as cofactor for their activity.

Source: Natural Therapeutics Pocket Guide (Lexi-Comp Inc.) by James B. LaValle, R.Ph., D.H.M., N.M.D., C.C.N.; Daniel L. Krinsky, R.Ph., M.S.; Ernest B. Hawkins, R.Ph., M.S.; Ross Pelton, R.Ph., Ph.D., C.C.N; and Nancy Ashbrook Willis, J.D.