Every living thing whether it be a plant or animal requires vitamins and minerals to function, maintain, and survive. These micronutrients are vital to our existence, as they are used in all bodily processes and functions. Any nutrient you are deficient in can cause significant harm to your body, this is also known as malnutrition. The main difference between vitamins and minerals is that vitamins are organic and can be broken down by heat, air, or acid; and minerals are inorganic and hold on to their chemical structure. Vitamins are more fragile than minerals so when food sources are left out in the open or cooked they can loose necessary nutrients before it is even digested. Interaction between micronutrients is always occurring but can be good or bad depending on what is interacting for instance vitamin D allows our bodies to extract calcium from food sources traveling through the digestive tract. Since these interactions are not always cooperative it can lead to a deficiency of a mineral or vitamin, for example vitamin C blocks your body’s ability to absorb the essential mineral copper. There are two types of vitamins water-soluble and fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins are stored within watery portions of food and get absorbed much quicker as they go directly into the bloodstream while food is being digested. These vitamins are imperative to free the energy from our food, build collagen, protein, and cells, produce and release energy, and assists in keeping tissues healthy.
Fat-soluble vitamins originate from fatty foods and oils and are not easily absorbed into the bloodstream like most water soluble vitamins. However these vitamins gain access to the blood via lymph channels in the intestinal wall. Fatty foods and oils are reservoirs for fat soluble vitamins A,D,E, and K and are stored within fat tissues and the liver, being released when needed. These vitamins support bone growth, protect vision and the body, and they interact positively. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored for long durations so if they accumulate too much over time it can cause toxic levels to build up, this can be due to over supplementation and rarely is it caused by food sources.
Major minerals are a necessity in your body and are stored in moderately large quantities. These major minerals are just as important as trace minerals and comprise of Calcium, Chloride, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, and Sulfur. Possessing too much of one major mineral can lead to a deficiency of another and is usually caused by overload from supplements not from food sources, for instance too much phosphorus can impede your body’s ability to absorb magnesium. Trace minerals interact with each other just like major minerals and this can lead to deficiency of another if one becomes too excessive. A slight overload of manganese intensify iron deficiency. Some examples of trace minerals functioning in your body: Zinc helps blood clots, iron transports oxygen throughout the body, and selenium prevents cell damage. There are too many trace minerals too list so here are a few; Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Selenium and Zinc. Vitamins and minerals are all about keeping a balance, as long as there is a balance you will be healthy and full of well being.