Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are vital nutrients needed for hundreds of roles in the body. Vitamins are divided into fat-soluble and water-soluble.
Fat-soluble vitamins enter the blood via the lymph vessels in the intestinal wall, and many travel through via proteins which act as carriers. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the liver and fat tissues and released when they are needed. As such, it is possible to go a while without them and not feel the impacts of deficiency, as your body has stores that are still being released. Fat-soluble vitamins include Vitamin A, D, E and K.
They help to:
- Build bones – this would be impossible without Vitamin A, D and K
- Protect vision – Vitamin A plays a part in this and keeps cells healthy
- Interact favourably – Vitamin E helps to absorb and store Vitamin A
- Protect the body – Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant against free radicals
Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins are located in the watery parts of the food you ingest. They are absorbed directly into the bloodstream during digestion, and many circulate easily around the body since our body is made up of lots of water.
Water-soluble vitamins are regulated constantly by the kidneys and excreted in urine if there is too much, so it is vital to have these vitamins regularly as part of your diet. Having said this, there is a significant supply of B12 in our liver that doesn’t need replenished every day. Water-soluble vitamins include Vitamin B and C.
They help to:
- Release energy – many B vitamins are key components of molecules that aid enzymes which release energy from food
- Produce energy – some B vitamins engage in energy production
- Build proteins and cells – Vitamins B6 and B12 metabolise amino acids and help cells to multiply
- Make collagen – Vitamin C helps to make collagen, which supports blood vessel walls, forms a base for teeth and bones and knits together wounds
It is important for both fat-soluble and water-soluble that too much isn’t ingested. Toxic levels can build up when fat-soluble vitamins are stored for a while and high doses of Vitamin B6 can damage nerves, which cause numbness and muscle weakness.
Without vitamins, it would be difficult for some vital minerals to be absorbed into the body.
For information on minerals, scroll to the bottom of the page. Below is our thoughtfully-sourced range of vitamin and mineral supplements.
Minerals are essential for maintaining the proper balance of water in the body. Potassium, calcium and chloride mostly perform this function. Other minerals like magnesium, calcium and phosphorus are vital for keeping bones healthy. Sulfur aids in stabilising protein structures including some that make up skin, nails and hair, while selenium has antioxidant properties. Although mineral consumption is important for maintaining overall good health, specific benefits of minerals include:
- Proper fluid balance
- Healthy bones and teeth
- Muscle contraction
- Nerve transmission
- Immune system health
Trace minerals are just as important as minerals, so don’t be put off by the name. The body simply doesn’t need as many trace minerals as minerals, hence the 'trace' part. Trace minerals are vital for:
- Oxygen transportation around the body
- Making protein and genetic material
- Thyroid hormone
- Iron metabolism
While different minerals are required in different amounts, they are all essential. As ever where diet is concerned, balance is key.