Vitamins and minerals are deemed essential nutrients since they work in sync to promote a wide range of bodily functions, including bone support, immune system strengthening, cellular damage repair, food to energy conversion, etc.
This article lists the essential vitamins and minerals and gathers crucial info about them.
So, let’s dive into it!
What Are the Essential Vitamins and Minerals?
There are 13 essential vitamins and many essential minerals.
The essential vitamins include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1 (thiamin)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
- Vitamin B7 (biotin)
- Vitamin B9 (folic acid)
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
The many essential minerals include:
Revealing Facts and Stats on the Essential Vitamins and Minerals
Now that we found out what the essential vitamins and minerals are, let’s go more into detail about their functions, food sources, etc.
Vitamin A plays a crucial role in our ability to see clearly and resist infections.
Additionally, this fat-soluble vitamin enhances reproduction and enables the normal function of numerous internal organs. Our hearts, lungs, kidneys, and other vital organs all need vitamin A’s assistance to carry out their duties properly.
Vitamin A can be found in meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products (preformed vitamin A), as well as in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based products (provitamin A).
B vitamins are commonly associated with converting carbs, proteins, and fats into energy.
(Good Neighbor Pharmacy) (Healthline)
Vitamin B complex vitamins also promote healthy nerve function, optimal brain and cardiovascular health, etc. Additionally, some B vitamins are critical to proper cell development, growth, and function.
You can get B vitamins from various food sources, including meat, poultry, fish, organ meats, eggs, legumes, seeds, etc.
Certain populations may need higher levels of B vitamins than others.
(Good Neighbor Pharmacy)
- The elderly
- Gastrointestinal surgery patients
- Gastrointestinal disorder patients
- Pernicious anemia patients
- Alcohol abusers
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- Vegans and vegetarians
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage.
This water-soluble vitamin, also known as ascorbic acid, strengthens our immunity, helps wounds heal faster, helps absorb iron from plant-based foods, etc.
Vitamin C is present in citrus fruits and vegetables (e.g., broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupe, tomatoes, etc.).
Vitamin D has an indispensable role in bone formation.
Vitamin D enables the body to absorb calcium from food (a mineral essential for bone strength) and helps prevent osteoporosis, a bone-weakening disease.
Additionally, this fat-soluble vitamin is essential for your muscles, nerves, as well as the strong immune system (as it helps prevent various bacterial and viral infections).
Excellent sources of vitamin D include sunlight, fatty fish, fish liver oil, UV-irradiated mushrooms, etc.
Vitamin E is an excellent antioxidant.
This fat-soluble nutrient also has immune-strengthening properties and may prevent blood clots by widening blood vessels.
There are speculations that vitamin E may improve mental function.
Although more research is necessary to confirm these claims, certain studies show promising results in this regard. Namely, they suggest that vitamin E supplements may cause a decline in Alzheimer’s disease progression.
Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting.
(Harvard T.H. Chan) (NIH)
Vitamin K promotes coagulation, slows down healing, and, thereby, helps wounds to heal. Additionally, some studies suggest it may have a role in osteoporosis prevention.
Rich sources of this fat-soluble vitamin include green leafy vegetables (e.g., broccoli, spinach, kale, etc.), some fruit (e.g., figs and blueberries), cheese, meat, eggs, and vegetable oil.
The majority of calcium in the body is stored in teeth and bones.
Expectedly, this mineral is responsible for their sturdiness. Calcium is also necessary for optimal muscle movement and nerve conduction, as well as blood circulation.
Rich calcium sources include milk, cheese, yogurt, canned sardines, and certain vegetables (e.g., kale).
Iron plays a vital role in forming hemoglobin, myoglobin, and certain hormones.
Hemoglobin is the red blood cell protein that transports oxygen from the lungs to other body parts. Myoglobin is a protein that supplies muscles with oxygen.
Adult men generally require less iron than adult women.
Adult women typically require 18 mg of iron a day, while adult men require only 8 mg a day.
We hope this mini-guide managed to show the importance of the essential minerals and vitamins for your health despite its brevity.
All nutrients mentioned above are key to optimal body function and overall well-being, so it’s essential to maintain the required intake through food and alternative sources and avoid any deficiencies.