The Guide to Vitamins and Mineral

By Jennifer Noble | Aug 15, 2018

Essential vitamins and minerals are nutrients that the body needs to function properly. There are 13 vitamins and about the same number of minerals. They're called essential because in most cases the body can't produce these vitamins itself: one exception is vitamin D, which is produced when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamins are organic compounds, while minerals are elements. Most have an RDA, or a recommended dietary allowance.


Vitamin A

Vitamin A is an antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative damage. There is preformed vitamin A and a precursor called beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is fat soluble, so a person can take too much of it at a time. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A when it's needed, so there's little risk of overdose.

Besides being an antioxidant, vitamin A supports vision, growth and reproduction. Derivatives of vitamin A are used to treat acne and other skin conditions. Good sourced of beta carotene are green leafy vegetables and orange and red fruits such as melons. Other sources of the vitamin are cod liver oil, meat and milk.

B Vitamins

The B vitamins are a complex of vitamins that work best when taken together. Vitamin B6 is necessary for a strong immune system; vitamin B12 protects against pernicious anemia; biotin helps the body metabolize amino acids and synthesize fatty acids; folic acid supports the metabolism and all of the biological reactions in the body; niacin protects against diseases such as pellagra, and riboflavin is important for the growth and the repair of tissues. Good sources of these vitamins include organ meats, brewer's yeast, nuts and fresh, green leafy vegetables.

Vitamin C

Like vitamin A, vitamin C is an antioxidant. Though it is famous for fighting colds and possibly cancer, vitamin C's main job is to help the body produce collagen, a springy substance that is found in ligaments, skin and bone. It's also important for amino acid metabolism and helps the body utilize iron, folic acid and calcium.

Vitamin D

The one vitamin known to be made by the body, vitamin D is considered a hormone by some scientists. It can also be obtained from fatty fish such as sardines and salmon, egg yolks, liver and milk that's fortified with vitamin D. Its main job is to help build and support strong teeth and bones as it helps the body absorb calcium.


Minerals are often needed in the body in the tiniest amounts. The RDA for selenium, for example, is 55 micrograms for most adults. Still, they are as necessary to health as vitamins.


Calcium is one of the best known of the essential minerals. It is necessary to support the strength of the teeth and bones and to lower blood pressure. People who live in areas with hard water, which is water that has a lot of minerals such as calcium and magnesium, seem to have a lower risk of heart disease. Calcium is abundant in green leafy vegetables, dairy products and bone-in sardines.


This mineral is necessary to help the body make red blood cells and also regulates how iron is stored and released in the body. Like vitamin C, it is important in the production of collagen. Copper is found in nuts, fruit, legumes and shellfish including oysters.


Magnesium is also one of those minerals that makes water hard, and it is necessary for nearly every function in the body. It prevents kidney and gall stones and is famously an antacid if it's taken in small doses. It's found in wheat germ, sunflower seeds, dairy products, seafood and green leafy vegetables.


This mineral is interesting because scientists don't quite know what it's good for. However, if children are deficient in manganese, they tend to fail to thrive. It's found in whole grains, shellfish, nuts and organ meats as well as milk.


A good level of this mineral is crucial for maintaining a healthy heart rate and normal muscle contractions. It can also lower blood pressure. It's found in fresh vegetables, fruit, milk and meat.

What are Fulvic Minerals?

Fulvic minerals are those that contain fulvic acid. These types of minerals help to improve brain function and circulation. They cleanse and energize the body and help it produce enzymes and utilize other nutrients. Fulvic minerals are also antioxidants.


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