Vitamins and Minerals are grouped into micronutrients, which are essential and are required only in minuscule amounts by our body cells. These organic compounds are involved in building and repairing the damaged tissues in order to control the continuity of the body process. There are 13 essential vitamins and numerous minerals, which are required for the body to function properly and to maintain optimal health. Both vitamins and minerals combined perform hundreds of roles in the body.
The word vitamins is a combination of Latin words “vita” and “amine” which means life and nitrogen, respectively. Casimir Funk discovered a substance that helps for growth and maintenance of the body and named it in 1884.
Explore more: Vitamin-B
We humans cannot live without vitamins and minerals, as they are very essential nutrients and moreover, our body cells cannot produce vitamins and minerals on their own, except a few. So, it should be taken in required quantities through other sources such as the food we take, vitamin capsules, etc. Vitamins can be found in major foods like meat, leafy vegetables, fruits, etc.
Interesting Facts about Vitamins and Minerals
There are more interesting facts about vitamins and minerals, which have been listed below:
Vitamins are of two types. Based on their solubility, vitamins are differentiated into fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. Vitamin A, D, E, K are fat-soluble vitamins and Vitamin B and C are water-soluble vitamins.
Explore more: Functions of Vitamin A, B, C, D, E
The main source of vitamin-D is sunlight. Other food sources include egg yolk, chicken breast, beef, liver, fish, cod liver oil, mushrooms, soy milk, cow’s milk, cheese and cereals.
Vitamin A is abundantly found in green leafy vegetables, carrots, tomatoes, ripe yellow fruits, nuts, oranges, guava, milk, liver, broccoli and watermelon.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, which is abundantly found in tomatoes, broccoli, chestnuts, cashew nuts, beef, lamb, mangoes, grapes, etc.
Vitamin A deficiency is one of the major causes of night blindness in pregnant women and also affects the immune system, which can also result in deaths from certain contagious diseases.
Also Refer: Vitamin A Deficiency
Minerals are essential nutrients for every living cell in the human body. They are required in a bulk amount and are found both in plant and animal food sources. The most essential minerals are calcium, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium.
Phosphorus along with calcium is necessary for the formation and maintenance of healthy bones, teeth and the immune system.
Tocopherol is the scientific name of Vitamin E, which are found naturally in potatoes, pumpkin, guava, mango, milk, nuts and seeds. This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant that helps repair damaged cells and their deficiency results in heart-related problems, hemolysis and sterility.
Vitamin A is an important vitamin that plays a major role in our vision. The deficiency of vitamin A results in severe diseases, infections and preventable blindness in children.
Food rich in Vitamin C, including strawberries, kiwi, citrus fruits, cabbage, etc. are a good diet for maintaining a healthy respiratory system in all humans.
Mineral deficiency is caused due to the poor supply of essential dietary minerals. This type of nutritional deficiency causes several health-related issues including anaemia, goitre, weak or tender bones, hair loss, decrease in certain hormonal levels, etc.
Our body is capable of synthesizing certain vitamins to some extent. These include vitamin B3- synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan, vitamin D- produced when the skin is exposed to sunlight and vitamin K synthesized by bacteria living in the gut.
Onions, sweet potato, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, fresh fruits, milk eggs, seafood, iodised salt are good sources of both sodium and iodine.
Explore more: Food Materials and Sources
Our body requires a certain daily intake of both vitamins and minerals along with other essential nutrients. The recommended daily intake of these nutrients varies with their types, the body requirements and the lifestyle of an individual.
An English biochemist “Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins” in the year 1929 was awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery of vitamins.
Like other macro and micronutrients, our body cells also store a bulk amount of minerals in bones and muscles, which are circulated through the blood to the tissues.
Sodium is an essential mineral, which is required for the regulation of blood pressure and blood volume and also plays a vital role in the proper functioning of nerves and muscles.
Also Read: Difference between Vitamins and Minerals
Calcium, the most essential mineral found naturally in various food sources, such as blackberries, dates, milk, egg, pomegranate, almonds, wheat, soybeans, etc. are important for healthy bones, teeth and the immune system.
These minerals should be included in our daily diet and must be balanced in our body. If any of the minerals are found deficient, it can affect the other minerals, which results in severe mineral and other nutritional deficiency disorders.
Vitamins can be found in both plant-based and animals based food products. Vitamin deficiency may cause some diseases and overdose of vitamins also causes diseases.
Also Refer: Vitamins – Types, Sources & Significance
The importance of vitamins and minerals in our daily life has always been there. These nutrients are necessary as they play a vital role in maintaining proper vision, proper functioning of cells, tissues, organs, healthy immune system, growth and development of cells, healthy skin, healthy bones, teeth and gums, the production of blood cells, etc.
This article concludes an introduction to Vitamins and Minerals, along with their amazing facts. To know more about Vitamins and Minerals, their types, sources, functions and other related topics and important questions, keep visiting our website at BYJU’S Biology.