1235 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee FL •  850.942.2557

All About Vitamin Supplements & Minerals

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What Are Vitamins & Minerals and What’s the Difference Between Them?

The main difference between vitamins and minerals is that vitamins are organic while minerals are inorganic.

Vitamins are organic substances made by plants and animals, which are then eaten by humans. There are 13 vitamins: A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate). You are able to get all the needed vitamins from the foods you eat, but your body also makes vitamins D and K.

Minerals are inorganic substances that are not made by living things. They are found naturally in soil and water and are absorbed by plants. Examples of minerals include iron, calcium, and potassium. You obtain minerals from both the plant and animal products that you eat.

Whereas all vitamins are needed by the body, only some minerals are required for nutrition. Some necessary minerals include calcium, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, and zinc. Minerals and trace elements are mainly found in meat, cereals, fish, milk and dairy foods, vegetables, dried fruit, and nuts.

What Are Supplements Used For?

The body needs the right mix of nutrients for optimal health. Beyond getting the right amounts of macronutrients (carbs, proteins, and fats), your body also needs the right amounts of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Micronutrients help your body use macronutrients and support many body processes, including:

  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Blood sugar regulation
  • Brain function
  • Digestion
  • Heart function
  • Hormone production
  • Immune function
  • Metabolism of drugs and toxins
  • Nervous system function
  • Red blood cell formation
  • Reproduction
  • Wound healing

 

Who Can Benefit From Taking Vitamin and Mineral Supplements?

Your body requires only a small amount of vitamins and minerals on a daily basis, and a varied diet generally provides enough of each required vitamin and mineral. However, there are some people that may need supplements to correct deficiencies of particular vitamins or minerals. People who may benefit from vitamin and mineral supplements include:

  • Pregnant & breastfeeding women
  • Excessive drinkers
  • Cigarette smokers
  • Illegal drug users
  • Those who crash diet or people on chronic low-calorie diets
  • Elderly people
  • Some vegetarians or vegans
  • Women with excessive bleeding during menstruation
  • People with allergies to particular foods
  • People with malabsorption problems

 

Vitamin & Mineral Health Warnings

Taking higher than the daily recommended doses of some vitamins can be a potential health hazard. High doses of fat-soluble vitamins including A, D, E, and K are stored in the body and high doses can be toxic. Excessive doses of some minerals can also cause problems. If you were to ingest five times the recommended dietary intake (RDI) for minerals such as zinc, iron, chromium, and selenium, these minerals can then be raised to toxic levels in the body.

Some Examples of How Excessive Doses Can Affect the Body Include:

  • Large doses of fish oil can lead to decreased blood clotting
  • Too much iron can cause gastrointestinal upset and nausea
  • High levels of vitamin B6 have been linked to some types of nerve damage
  • High doses of vitamin A can cause birth defects, as well as liver, bone, skin and central nervous system disorders

If you are taking vitamin and/or mineral supplements, it is important to follow the RDI and any other instructions on the bottle. If you are not getting enough of a certain vitamin or mineral, altering your diet is also an option. Research indicates that most of the vitamins you get from the foods you eat are better than those contained in pills. Even though vitamins in supplements are synthesized to the exact chemical composition of naturally-occurring vitamins, they aren’t the same and don’t work as well.

 

At New Leaf Market Co-op we carry high-quality vitamins, minerals, herbal supplements, and more from a variety of trusted brands. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us, or stop by our store in Tallahassee, FL today! Our staff members would be glad to assist you in finding the right vitamin supplement.

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