The function of micronutrients as Enzymes
Vitamins and minerals are vital micronutrients to our system. When dealing with these nutrients, we can divide the metabolism into two basic processes: energy metabolism and nitrogen metabolism. Whatever the metabolism is, the work of enzymes is necessary. Every enzyme needs to be activated in order to start working. Enzymes are activated by coenzymes. Coenzymes work as if they were percussion caps. Without
them, the enzymes become inactive and the biochemical reactions compromised. In the case of energetic metabolism, for example, for all the energy production by the cells, from the entry of glucose, fatty acids and amino acids, to total ATP production, we need some vitamins – which are precursors of specific coenzymes – such as thiamine (B1) , Riboflavin (B2) niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), lipoic acid, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), ubiquinone (CoQ10) and minerals, among them manganese, iron, calcium and magnesium. Those coenzymes cause the dehydrogenase enzymes to work in a homogeneous way producing significant amounts of ATP which is so badly necessary to metabolism. In the nitrogen metabolism it is not different as the nitrogen transfer by transaminase enzymes to amino acids biosynthesis and protein synthesis also require specific coenzymes derived from vitamins, among them pyridoxine (B6), cobalamin (B12), niacin (B3), ascorbic acid ( Vit. C), folic acid, and also of the minerals, among them zinc and magnesium.
Nitrogen metabolism is affected when these coenzymes are absent, causing deficiency in protein synthesis which leads to strength loss, immune system impairment and imbalance in the neuroendocrine system. Therefore, we need to ingest these vitamins and minerals through the diet so that the metabolism works properly. That’s because our body, with the exception of niacin, does not synthesize these micronutrients and the lack of them can cause serious damage to health.