Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients because they play hundreds of functions in the body. There is a fine line between getting enough of this nutrient (which is healthy) and too much (which can eventually harm you). Eating healthy is still the best way to get enough vitamins and minerals.
Essential nutrients for your body
Every day your body produces skin, muscle, and bone. It produces rich red blood that carries nutrients and oxygen to distant posts and sends nerve signals thousands of miles to the brain and body. He also formulated chemical messengers that move from one organ to another and provide direction to help keep you alive.
But to do all this, your body needs some raw materials. It includes at least 30 vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that your body needs but cannot produce on its own in sufficient quantities.
Vitamins and minerals are considered essential nutrients because together they play hundreds of functions in the body. They help strengthen bones, heal wounds, and boost your immune system. They also convert food into energy and repair damaged cells.
But trying to track what all those vitamins and minerals do can be confusing. Read enough articles on the subject and your eyes will probably be flooded with references to nutrients known by their initials (such as vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K—to name a few).
This article will give you a better understanding of what these vitamins and minerals do in the body and why you want to make sure you are getting enough of these vitamins and minerals.
Trace elements with a large role in the body
Vitamins and minerals are often referred to as trace minerals because your body only needs them in small amounts. But the absence of even this small amount practically guarantees disease. Here are some examples of diseases that can be caused by a vitamin deficiency:
- Scurvy. Ancient sailors knew that living for months without fresh fruit or vegetables – a major source of vitamin C – led to bleeding gums and scurvy apathy.
- Blindness. In some developing countries, people are still blind to vitamin A deficiency.
- Rickets. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets, a condition characterized by soft and weak bones that can lead to bone deformities such as folded legs. Milk has been fortified with vitamin D in the US since the 1930s, among other things to combat rickets.
Just as deficiencies in key micronutrients can cause significant damage to your body, ingesting adequate amounts can provide significant benefits. Some examples of these benefits:
- Strong bones. The combination of calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium, and phosphorus protects your bones from fractures.
- Prevent birth defects. Taking folic acid supplements in early pregnancy helps prevent birth defects in the brain and spine of the offspring.
- Healthy teeth. Mineral fluoride not only promotes bone formation but also protects dental caries from developing or worsening.
Difference between vitamins and minerals
Although they are all considered trace elements, vitamins and minerals are fundamentally different. Vitamins are organic and can be broken down by heat, air or acids. Minerals are inorganic and retain their chemical structure.
Why is that important? This means that minerals in soil and water easily enter your body through plants, fish, animals, and the fluids you consume. But it is more difficult to transfer vitamins into your body from food and other sources because cooking, storing, and exposure to air can deactivate these more fragile compounds.
Interaction – for better or for worse
Many trace elements interact. Vitamin D allows your body to extract calcium from food sources that pass through your digestive tract instead of collecting it from your bones. Vitamin C helps you absorb iron.
However, micronutrient interactions are not always common. For example, vitamin C blocks your body’s ability to absorb honey’s essential minerals. And even a slight excess of the mineral manganese can exacerbate iron deficiency.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
There are 13 essential vitamins. This means that these vitamins are required for the body to work properly. They are:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
- Pantothenic acid (B5)
- Biotin (B7)
- Folate (folic acid or B9)
Not eating enough fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains and fortified dairy foods may increase your risk for health problems, including heart disease, cancer, and poor bone health.
- Vitamin A helps form and maintain healthy teeth, bones, soft tissue, mucous membranes, and skin.
- Vitamin B6 is also called pyridoxine. Vitamin B6 helps form red blood cells and maintain brain function. This vitamin also plays an important role in the proteins that are part of many chemical reactions in the body. The more protein you eat the more pyridoxine your body requires.
- Vitamin B12, like the other B vitamins, is important for metabolism. It also helps form red blood cells and maintain the central nervous system.
- Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is an antioxidant that promotes healthy teeth and gums. It helps the body absorb iron and maintain healthy tissue. It is also essential for wound healing.
- Vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” since it is made by the body after being in the sun. Ten to 15 minutes of sunshine 3 times a week is enough to produce the body’s requirement of vitamin D for most people at most latitudes. People who do not live in sunny places may not make enough vitamin D. It is very hard to get enough vitamin D from food sources alone. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. You need calcium for the normal development and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones. It also helps maintain proper blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. You can read about best vitamin d supplement for everyone.
- Vitamin E is an antioxidant also known as tocopherol. It helps the body form red blood cells and uses vitamin K.
- Vitamin K is needed because without it, blood would not stick together (coagulate). Some studies suggest that it is important for bone health.
- Biotin is essential for the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates, and in the production of hormones and cholesterol.
- Niacin is a B vitamin that helps maintain healthy skin and nerves. It also has cholesterol-lowering effects at higher doses.
- Folate works with vitamin B12 to help form red blood cells. It is needed for the production of DNA, which controls tissue growth and cell function. Any woman who is pregnant should be sure to get enough folate. Low levels of folate are linked to birth defects such as spina bifida. Many foods are now fortified with folate in the form of folic acid.
- Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) is essential for the metabolism of food. It also plays a role in the production of hormones and cholesterol.
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2) works with the other B vitamins. It is important for body growth and the production of red blood cells.
- Thiamine (vitamin B1) helps the body cells change carbohydrates into energy. Getting enough carbohydrates is very important during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is also essential for heart function and healthy nerve cells.
- Choline helps in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system. Lack of choline can cause swelling in the liver.
- Carnitine helps the body to change fatty acids into energy.