Vitamins and minerals are essential for normal growth and optimal health. They are organic compounds that our bodies use in very small amounts for a variety of metabolic processes. Minerals are inorganic elements found in the Earth (soil and water), while vitamins are organic substances found in plants and animals. To make sure you're getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs, it's important to understand where they come from and how to get them. Most vitamins must come from food because the body doesn't produce them or produces very little.
Eat a variety of foods to get all the essential nutrients you need, from vitamin A to potassium and zinc. Vitamin A is a single vitamin, but two types are found in foods: preformed vitamin A, which the body can use immediately, is found in animal foods; while provitamin A is found in plant foods and is a precursor to the type of vitamin A that the body can use. Beta carotene is the most common example of provitamin A.The onset of scurvy symptoms depends on how long it takes for a person to exhaust their limited vitamin C. For this reason, it is important that they consume adequate amounts of these vitamins regularly as part of a nutritious and balanced diet.
Vitamin C (from foods and beverages) is essential, as the human body cannot produce this vitamin from other compounds. Vitamin E is an antioxidant responsible for many body functions, including the formation of red blood cells. Cobalt is found in the body as part of vitamin B-12 and helps the body process and absorb the vitamin. Vitamin E is best obtained with a healthy diet that contains lots of fresh, minimally processed foods. Water-soluble vitamins, such as B complex and vitamin C, are mostly only stored for a shorter period of time. People taking blood-thinning medications should talk to their doctor about vitamin K before increasing their intake.
The best source of vitamin D is sunlight, but many foods contain small amounts of vitamin D to support a complete diet. By focusing on the big picture, it's easy to get enough vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients you need to stay healthy and prevent disease. Many people in the United States take multivitamins and other supplements, although they may not be necessary or helpful, according to research. Vitamin and mineral supplements may be recommended under certain circumstances to correct vitamin and mineral deficiencies, such as folate, for women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy.