Vitamins and Minerals - What Are They?
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Most people now realize that a wide variety of vitamins and minerals like iron, potassium and copper are essential for a healthy body - but what are they exactly? Vitamins are chemical compounds and minerals are chemical elements that are present in natural, unprocessed foods.
Vitamins let the body convert food into energy and living tissue and also to repair and maintain it. Minerals are needed to build strong bones, send signals within the nervous system, maintain a normal heartbeat and produce hormones.
Humans need 13 vitamins and only four of these are made by the body itself. These are biotin, pantothenic acid and vitamin K which are made inside the intestines and vitamin D, which is produced by the action of sunlight on the surface of our skin.
That leaves 9 more vitamins that we can only get from food or dietary supplements. If the body lacks any one of these, it has a negative effect on the way the other different vitamins or minerals work.
Effects of deficiency
In extreme cases where a vitamin/mineral deficiency continues for a long time, the body will be attacked by certain diseases directly linked to a lack of vitamins or minerals. And on the other hand, taking in too much of some minerals/vitamins can be toxic, so getting the right balance matters.
We all know we should be eating a varied, healthy diet every day to get the right nutrients for a healthy body, but that also means cutting out all ready-made snacks, all processed foods and cooking with fresh food from ‘scratch' all the time! It's just not going to happen.
I'm fairly switched on to good nutrition, but if I ate all the things I should each day I'd be the size of a brick house in no time. And as an athlete, my chances of ever winning would be nil. That's why the well-established science of Sports Nutrition is leading the way with scientifically researched supplements.
Folks who find it hard to even find the time to shop for so many different foods use dietary supplements and targeted sports supplements as the 21st century way to get the right balance of vitamins and minerals. And no worries!