What are the differences between macronutrients and micronutrients?

Prior to the differences between macronutrients and micronutrients, let us have the brief understanding of what exactly nutrients, micro and macro nutrients are:


  • Nutrients are chemical substances, present in the food which are required for all living organisms for their proper functioning of cells, tissues, organs and overall system of the body.
  • It helps to nurture the body by providing protection against microbes, growing the new cells and tissues, repairing and maintaining the cells and tissues.
  • It is divided into two types namely macronutrients and micronutrients
  • Macronutrients and micronutrients are determined by their metabolic effects on the body.


  • The word macro suggests that the nutrients needed in the large amount for the proper functioning of the body
  • They include: Carbohydrates, Fats and Protein


  • The word micro means small thus , nutrients required in small amount in compare to macronutrients are micronutrients
  • Vitamins and minerals are often regarded as micronutrients

Differences between macronutrients and micronutrients

Now let us have detailed knowledge of the differences between macronutrients and micronutrients:

S.NDifferences based onMacronutrientsMicronutrients

Required in very large quantities Required in small quantities
2.TypesCarbohydrates, Proteins and FatsVitamins and minerals
3. Type of Functions Help to regulate major functions of the body like: providing energy to body, repairing cells, tissues, etc. Support macronutrients to function well in the body. Majorly, they prevent the body from various kind of diseases.
4.RolePlay role in body composition. Do not play role in body composition.
5.Detailed FunctionsCarbohydrates: helps in energy production, energy storage, building macromolecules, sparing protein, and assists lipid metabolism. 

Protein:  helps in growth and maintenance, helps to form biochemical reactions, some proteins are hormones thus acts like messenger, provides structure to the body, regulates the concentrations of acids and bases blood and other bodily fluids, helps to form immunoglobulins, or antibodies, to fight infection, transports and stores nutrients, and provides energy

Fats: help in storing energy, insulating the body to protect vital organs, helps proteins to function well in the body, also starts chemical reactions
Vitamin A: helps to provide vision in dim light, strengthen the immune system, helps to form and regulate soft tissues, mucous membranes, skin, healthy teeth, and bones  

Vitamin B: is essential for metabolism, to form Red blood cells, for the production of DNA, to maintain the Central nervous system, to convert carbohydrates into energy in a body. [6] [8]

Vitamin C an ascorbic acid: helps to promote healthy teeth and gums, and to absorb iron, maintain healthy tissue and wound healing

Vitamin D a sunshine Vitamin: helps to absorb calcium in the body for proper development and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones, also helps maintain proper levels of Calcium and Phosphorous.

Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant providing protection to cells from the damage caused by free radicals.

Vitamin K: contributes to blood clotting, bone metabolism, and regulating blood calcium levels.

Minerals: are needed for proper fluid balance, nerve transmission, muscle contraction and relaxation, blood pressure regulation, immune system, proper fetal development, production of sperm, normal growth and sexual maturation, the formation of bones and teeth, and prevention of  tooth decay   

6Also recognized asMajor elementsTrace elements
7Types of classesSince required in large amount they are classified into Primary and secondary classesSince required in less amount they are not divided into any classes
8ConcentrationAvailable in high concentration in a bodyAvailable in low concentration on a body
9Deficiency• Carbohydrate: low body weight and accumulation of a large amount of ketone bodies in a body

• Protein: Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM), Kwashiorkor, Marasmus, mixed characteristics of Marasmus- Kwashiorkor

Fats: low immune system, dryness, loss of hairs, brittle nails, issues related to vitamin deficiencies
•Vitamin A: night blindness, hyperkeratosis, and Keratomalacia

•Vitamin B: Beriberi, Anorexia, Pellagra, Anemia, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, Glossitis, Angular Stomatitis, Ariboflavinosis, Paresthesia etc.

•Vitamin C: Scurvy

•Vitamin D: Rickets, Osteoporosis
Vitamin E: very rare, mild hemolytic anemia in infants

• Vitamin K: Bleeding Diathesis
Minerals: osteopenia, goiter, anemia, excessive fluid loss, loss of appetite, taste, smell etc.

10OverdoseCarbohydrate: increase in dental caries, gastric ulcer, cause obesity, increase blood triglyceride thus leads to heart diseases

Protein: overconsumed protein stored as fat in a body can led to unhealthy weight gain in the body

Fats: leads to rising LDL (low-density lipoprotein) in the body, which increases the risk for heart diseases and stroke, increases the weight of the body
Vitamin A: dizziness, nausea, headaches, coma, even death. Birth defects in their babies in cases of pregnant women

Vitamin B:
skin flushing, neurotoxicity, etc.

Vitamin C: damage of body tissues to people with hemochromatosis

Vitamin D: Hypercalcemia

Vitamin K: Decrease in the anticoagulation effect of warfarin

Minerals: high blood pressure, water retention, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even death, thyroid tumor, etc.
11.Food source Carbohydrates: fruits, vegetables, Brown rice, whole wheat bread, wholegrain pasta, wholegrain cereals, sweet potatoes, lentils, chickpeas, etc.

Proteins: beef, kangaroo, lamb, pork, veal, chicken, duck, turkey, birds, prawns, fish, clams, scallops, lobster, crab, eggs, milk, especially in Greek yogurt, in cottage cheese, all beans, chickpeas, tofu, almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, etc.

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are present in avocado, nuts (such as peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews, and almonds – including peanut and other nut butter), margarine spreads (such as canola or olive oil-based choices), oils such as olive, canola, and peanut, fish and seafood, polyunsaturated margarine, vegetable oils (such as safflower, sunflower, corn or soy oils), nuts (such as walnuts and Brazil nuts) and seeds.

Saturated and Trans fats are present in fatty cuts of meat, full-fat milk, cheese, butter, cream, biscuits, pastries, deep-fried fast foods, frozen pizza, doughnuts, microwave popcorn, etc.
Vitamin A: liver, fish oils, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, spinach, mangoes, tomato juices, vegetable oils

Vitamin B: ham, soymilk, yeast watermelon, milk, yogurt, grains, cereals, chicken, fish, mushrooms, whole grains, broccoli, avocados, legumes, banana, orange juice, fortified cereals, etc.

Vitamin C: gooseberries, citrus fruits like lemon, orange, orange juices, limes and strawberries, spinach, cauliflower, etc.

Vitamin D: Sunlight, oily fish, red meat, fortified cereals, egg yolks, cheese, etc.

Vitamin E: vegetable oils, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts, wheat germ oil, peanut oil, etc.

Vitamin K: Cabbage, eggs, milk, spinach, broccoli, iceberg lettuce, fats and oils, particularly soybean and canola oil, etc.
Minerals: meat, eggs, nuts, fish, fruits, cruciferous vegetables, shellfish, avocados, fortified salt, etc.
12.Recommended Dietary Allowance
From carbohydrates: 55–75% of total energy

· From protein: 15-20% of total energy or 1g/kg body weight per day

From fats: 20-35% of total energy

From monounsaturated fats: 20% of total energy

From polyunsaturated fats: 10% of total energy

From saturated fats: 7% of total energy [2]

US recommended Dietary Allowances: male and female age (19-70) for Vitamins
Vitamin A: 900 µg/700 µg

Vitamin B1: 1.2 mg/1.1 mg

Vitamin B2 : 1.3 mg/1.1 mg

Vitamin B3: 16 mg/14 mg

Vitamin B 5: 5 mg/5 mg

Vitamin B 6: 1.3–1.7 mg/1.2–1.5 mg

Vitamin B7: AI: 30 µg/30 µg

Vitamin B9 : 400 µg/400 µg

Vitamin B12: 2.4 µg/2.4 µg

Vitamin C: 90 mg/75 mg

Vitamin D: 15 µg/15 µg

Vitamin E: 15 mg/15 mg

Vitamin K: AI: 110 µg/120 µg
Iron – 18 mg
Selenium – 55 mg
Calcium – 1000 mg [2]


Thus, it is vital to eat balanced diet for proper functioning of the body.

Also Read:

Foods for healthy teeth and gums

Are Bananas good for UTI?

What is deaf culture?

What is blood and its composition?


  1. https://byjus.com/biology/difference-between-micronutrients-and-macronutrients/
  2. https://www.publichealthnotes.com/15-differences-between-macro-nutrients-and-micro-nutrients/
  3. https://med.libretexts.org/Courses/American_Public_University/APUS%3A_An_Introduction_to_Nutrition_(Byerley)/Text/03%3A_Carbohydrates/3.04%3A_The_Functions_of_Carbohydrates_in_the_Body
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/functions-of-protein#TOC_TITLE_HDR_6
  5. https://openoregon.pressbooks.pub/nutritionscience/chapter/5a-function-of-fats/
  6. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/micronutrients
  7. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-a#what-it-is
  8. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325292#pantothenic-acid
  9. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002404.htm
  10. https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ALeKk02YzTfdLcwtZ4i-l9yuuaIX1YneiQ%3A1612357276909&ei=nJ4aYJKAN8rD3LUPk76I-As&q=Overconsumption+of+Fats+in+a+body&oq=Overconsumption+of+Fats+in+a+body&gs_lcp=CgZwc3ktYWIQA1CetwZYit4GYOPkBmgAcAJ4AIABww2IAbdOkgELNC0zLjcuMi4xLjGYAQCgAQGqAQdnd3Mtd2l6wAEB&sclient=psy-ab&ved=0ahUKEwiSvvb14s3uAhXKIbcAHRMfAr8Q4dUDCA0&uact=5
  11. https://www.healthline.com/health/mineral-deficiency#:~:text=An%20increased%20need%20for%20the,or%20a%20decreased%20immune%20system.
  12. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-Consumer/#:~:text=Yes%2C%20high%20intakes%20of%20some,birth%20defects%20in%20their%20babies.
  13. https://www.news-medical.net/health/Can-You-Take-Too-Much-Vitamin-B.aspx#:~:text=A%20minimum%20daily%20dose%20of,%2C%20rashes%2C%20and%20nerve%20damage.
  14. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-b-10
  15. https://www.google.com/search?q=deficiency+of+b2&oq=Deficiency+of+B2&aqs=chrome.0.0l5j0i22i30l3.26169j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-

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