IntroductionVitamins are dietary substances required by the body in very small amounts for normal function. As well as proteins, fats, carbohydrates, calories and water there some 45 different vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids required by our bodies to be healthy.
There are two major groups of vitamin, water soluble vitamins (Vitamin B and C) and fat soluble vitamins (Vitamin A, D, E and K). Minerals or elements are a major group of vital substances necessary for normal life. The essential elements can be categorised in different ways: the micro-minerals, the trace minerals, the ultra-trace-elements and research-trace-elements. On our website we only discuss the most common minerals.
How much of each vitamin and mineral do I need? Recommended daily allowances (RDA) are guidelines to the quantities of nutrients that should be taken on a daily basis. Expert committee’s set these values based on scientific evidence and their own opinions, and each country has its own daily allowances.
Of course each person is different, and what is good for one person is not good for another, that is why it is often better to see a specialist in the field of nutrition before changing your diet.
Pages about vitamins and minerals
## What is Vitamin A? Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, that is essential to the body. Carotenoids are the natural source of pro-vitamin A, which is then converted into Vitamin A. Carotenoids include: Alpha-Carotene, Beta-Carotene, Cryptoxanthin, Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Lycopene. Vitamin A is vital for healthy immune and respiratory system development, as well as the formation of bones. In addition, it aids the digestion of protein. Most people can easily incorporate foods that contain a plentiful supply of Vitamin A into their diet.
## What is Vitamin B (complex)? Vitamin B is a group of water-soluble vitamins, that are essential to the body. Each of the B group of vitamins plays a very important biological role, but are often found in the same foods; because of this, they are often called the B complex. Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) helps to control the metabolism and helps nerve conduction Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) again helps to control the metabolism.
## What is Vitamin C? Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, that can not be manufactured by the body. Probably one of the best known sources of this vitamin is oranges. Also known as absorbic acid, this vitamin is a great antioxidant. It’s not difficult to ensure you get enough Vitamin C into your diet. How could Vitamin C help my body? improve your immune system’s function. reduce the severity of colds.
## What is Vitamin D? Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which helps maintain healthy bones by improving your body’s ability to absorb calcium. Our bodies can make this vitamin when exposed to sunlight. It is often recommended that people who are not regularly exposed to the sun take a supplement instead.How could Vitamin D help my body? Mainly, this Vitamin helps the body to process Calcium. It is particularly important for woman as it has been shown to help reduce the chances of osteoporosis
## What is Vitamin E? Vitamin E is one of the most popular supplements. This vitamin is said to reduce the risk of heart disease, and also has antioxidant properties that fight free radicals at a cell membrane level; thus preventing cells from being damaged. Experts recommend that some people need to take a supplement of this vitamin, as it is difficult to take enough through food alone. How could Vitamin E help my body?
## What is Vitamin K? Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin. This vitamin is said to be essential for blood clotting and healthy bones. Normally most people with a healthy diet will get enough of this vitamin. How could Vitamin K help my body? Help with blood clotting. Help keep bones healthy. Foods that are high in Vitamin K Green Leafy Vegetables Seaweeds Kelp Molasses Lentils Peas
## What is Calcium? Calcium is a very well researched and understood mineral. Building strong bones, healthy teeth, and regulating muscle contractions are the main things it does for us. Calcium is always present in the blood, if we ever get short of calcium our bodies start to use the reserve supply in our bones! It is important to ensure we get enough calcium. How could Calcium help my body? Calcium helps to build strong bones and teeth.
What is Chromium? Chromium is needed for energy, it maintains stable blood sugar levels. Also, along with other substances,it controls insulin as well as certain enzymes. It works with GTF (Glucose Tolerance Factor) when this hormone-affiliated agent enters the bloodstream because of an increase of insulin in the bloodstream. Foods that are high in Chromium Brewers Yeast Bananas Green Leafy Vegetables Potatoes Wholegrains Eggs Beef Molasses
## What is Iodine? Iodine is a mineral, that is essential for the thyroid gland. This mineral helps to regulate our metabolic process. Its important to have this trace mineral in the right quantity, as deficiency or excess consumption can imbalance our body. Iodine content in vegetables depends on where they are grown, some area's have low iodine content within the soil. ## How could Iodine help my body? Mainly, iodine is responsible for proper function of the thyroid gland as well as controlling body temperature.
What is Iron? Iron is an essential mineral, the average person contains about four to five grams of iron of which 60-70% is in the blood. Absorption of Iron is aided by Vitamin C. Fortified cereals always contain Iron. You should exercise caution before taking an iron supplement, as you may already have a sufficient quantity in your diet. How could Iron help my body? Iron plays a major role in transporting oxygen from the lungs to the organs; then removes carbon dioxide from them.
What is Magnesium? Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is essential to good health. Approximately 50% of total body magnesium is found in bone. The other half is found predominantly inside cells of body tissues and organs. Only 1% of magnesium is found in blood, but the body works very hard to keep blood levels of magnesium constant. How could Magnesium help my body? Magnesium helps to keep normal muscle and nerve function, in addition it helps steady your heart’s rhythm and supports a healthy immune system.
## What is Potassium? Potassium is a necessary mineral in daily nutrition; it assists in muscle contraction and helps to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in your body's cells. Potassium is also important in sending nerve impulses as well as releasing energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates during metabolism. Eating a variety of foods that contain potassium is the best way to get an adequate amount. Healthy individuals who eat a balanced diet rarely need supplements.
## What is Selenium? Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential to good health but required only in small amounts. Selenium generates important antioxidant enzymes in the body. These antioxidant properties of Selenium help to prevent cellular damage from free radicals. Free radicals are natural by-products of oxygen metabolism that may contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. How could Selenium help my body?
## What is Sodium? Our bodies use sodium to regulate blood pressure and muscle function. However, if we eat too much sodium it can increase our blood pressure. Over time, one thing is sure, nearly all bodies representing health professionals recommend keeping intake low. ## Do I get enough Sodium? For the vast majority of people, it is unlikely that you need to increase your sodium intake. Most people in the west actually consume too much Sodium, because of the amounts in processed and pre-prepared food.
## What is zinc? The mineral zinc is present in every part of the body and has a wide range of functions. It helps with the healing of wounds and is a vital component of many enzyme reactions. Zinc is vital for the healthy working of many of the body’s systems. It is particularly important for healthy skin and is essential for a healthy immune system and resistance to infection. Various chemicals added to many processed foods can also reduce zinc absorption How could zinc help my body?