You may remember mom telling you to eat your fruits and vegetables because these are rich in vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, mom did not make an effort into detailing what these micronutrients are. Now that you’ve grown, you see and hear a lot of advertisements about these stuffs. Even your doctor and your fitness instructor would tell you time and again that you need to take vitamin and mineral supplements. If your knowledge of these micronutrients is limited to the general notion that they are important to health, don’t worry as you’re not alone. Nevertheless, to help you understand more about these substances, here are some of the things you need to know about vitamins and minerals.
All about Minerals
- Minerals are substances of inorganic nature – they don’t contain carbon compounds. These are essentially the different substances that are contained in the Periodic Table of the Elements in 6thgrade chemistry. Silicon, Aluminum, and Oxygen, substances that are found in liquid zeolite, are examples of minerals.
- Minerals are important in making sure that the body functions and develops normally.
- Macrominerals are those that the body needs in large quantities. Examples are Calcium, Potassium, Sodium, Magnesium, and Phosphorus.
- Trace minerals are those that the body needs in minute quantities. Examples are Iron, Zinc, Copper, Chromium, Fluoride, Selenium, Manganese, and Iodine.
- A deficiency in any of these substances can lead to a dysfunction in a specific organ system. For example, a deficiency in calcium can lead not only to loss of bone structure but also problems in muscle contraction, especially the heart.
- An excess of these substances can also lead to a dysfunction in the body. Too much calcium, for example, can lead to the formation of stones in the kidney. It can also interfere with normal brain and heart functioning.
All about Vitamins
- Vitamins are organic substances – they contain carbon compounds – that are important in supporting the different process of the different organs of the human body.
- With the exception of Vitamins B3 and D, the human body cannot produce vitamins on its own. As such, these must be taken from the food that we eat.
- Vitamins are categorized into two: whether they are soluble in water or are soluble in fat.
- Vitamins that dissolve best in a water environment are the B-vitamins and C. these are easily flushed from the body if there is too much of it in the tissues. As such, these have to be replenished at a much faster rate than fat soluble vitamins.
- Vitamins A, D, E, and K are best bound to lipid molecules for these to exert their action in the body. These are often stored in certain tissues of the body for later use. Because these are stored, it is easy to build toxicity to these vitamins especially if there is overconsumption of these substances.
- Eating a low-fat diet can lead to a deficiency in any or all of the fat-soluble vitamins. This is because there is less lipids that can bind to these substances for more efficient absorption.
- A deficiency in a specific vitamin can lead to a disorder that is characteristic of that deficiency. For example, night blindness is almost always associated with vitamin A deficiency while a deficiency in Vitamin B3 or Niacin can lead to pellagra.
- An excess in a certain vitamin can also lead to disease, although this is more frequent among fat-soluble vitamins. For instance, too much Vitamin D can harden the soft tissues in a process called calcification.
Without a doubt, your mom is right about vitamins and minerals. These are very important for optimum health and normal body development and functioning.