Essential nutrients for your body
Every day, your body produces skin, muscle, and bone. It churns out rich red blood that carries nutrients and oxygen to remote outposts, and it sends nerve signals skipping along thousands of miles of brain and body pathways. It also formulates chemical messengers that shuttle from one organ to another, issuing the instructions that help sustain your life.
But to do all this, your body requires some raw materials. These include at least 30 vitamins, minerals, and dietary components that your body needs but cannot manufacture on its own in sufficient amounts.
Vitamins and minerals are considered essential nutrients—because acting in concert, they perform hundreds of roles in the body. They help shore up bones, heal wounds, and bolster your immune system. They also convert food into energy, and repair cellular damage.
But trying to keep track of what all these vitamins and minerals do can be confusing. Read enough articles on the topic, and your eyes may swim with the alphabet-soup references to these nutrients, which are known mainly be their initials (such as vitamins A,B,C,D,E, and K—to name just a few).
In this article, you’ll gain a better understanding of what these vitamins and minerals actually do in the body and why you want to make sure you’re getting enough of them.
Basic FunctionsEach of the 13 vitamins has a specific function, but they also work together to facilitate optimal health. Vitamin A supports healthy eyesight, immune function, skin, bones and teeth.
You need vitamin C to support absorption of the mineral iron and also to provide immune protection and encourage healthy tissue development.
Vitamin D, along with the mineral calcium, boosts bone health as well as a solid body defense system.
Vitamin E facilitates your body's use of vitamin K, which helps in blood clotting and bone health, as well as promotes the formation of essential red blood cells.
The eight B vitamins support a healthy metabolism, brain function, hormone production, regular heart operations, functioning of the central nervous system and cell duties.
Be active with Vitamins
Vitamins have different jobs--helping you resist infections, keeping your nerves healthy, and helping your body get energy from food or your blood to clot properly.
Minerals also help your body function. Some minerals, like iodine and fluoride, are only needed in very small quantities.
Others, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, are needed in larger amounts. As with vitamins, if you eat a varied diet, you will probably get enough of most minerals.