Why Do We Need Vitamins and Minerals?
Our bodies are like machines that are beautiful, intricate, and complicated. Each day, our bodies build skin, muscle, and bone. They create important red blood cells that carry nutrients and oxygen to all of our organs, and they direct nerve signals through thousands of miles of body and brain pathways. They also make chemical messengers that come and go from one part of our bodies to another, distributing the instructions that help sustain our lives.
In order to achieve all of this, our bodies need some raw materials. Similar to how machines may need fuel. These include at least 30 vitamins and minerals that our bodies require, but cannot produce on their own in adequate amounts.
Vitamins and minerals are regarded as essential nutrients, because by working together, they execute hundreds of functions in the body. They help fortify bones, heal wounds, and strengthen our immune system. Transforming food into energy, and repairing cell damage are other responsibilities they have.
Vitamins and minerals are considered micronutrients because our bodies only require tiny amounts of them. Yet, falling short of getting even those small quantities can make us more vulnerable to diseases.
What is the Difference Between Vitamins and Minerals?
Both vitamins and minerals are considered micronutrients, but they differ in basic ways. Vitamins are organic and can be broken down by heat, air, or acid. Minerals are inorganic and can maintain their chemical framework.
This is important because your body can easily absorb and use the minerals in soil and water from the plants, fish, animals, and fluids you eat and drink. It is more difficult to shuttle vitamins from those same sources into your body because cooking, storage, and even basic air exposure can inactivate these more delicate compounds.
How can most people Benefit from Vitamin Supplementation?
The overwhelming majority of us do not get enough vitamins and minerals from our diets alone. Between lack of resources, busy schedules, and limited information, our diets are full of calories, but inadequate in nutrition. Even with our best efforts, diets high in fruits and vegetables can be insufficient fresh out of the ground from soil stripping after decades of commercial farming.
Supplementation with vitamins can help fill in those gaps to keep our bodies running smoothly.