Main Differences between Vitamins and Minerals
Are you interested in taking care of your body? If so, you have probably wondered about the main differences between vitamins and minerals. If you want to know what each one consists of, here we tell you everything in detail.
Discover the simple definition of each concept
First, you should know that vitamins are organic substances that are naturally present in many animal and vegetable products. However, they can also be ingested with specialized vitamin products, such as those from OhMyVit!.
You should also know that the human body produces the "D" and "K" variants (FDA, 2020), although you could also be deficient in one of these vitamins. Now, are you wondering which are the important ones? In general, you could say that there are 14 (FDA, 2020):
- Vitamin A.
- Vitamin C.
- B vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12.
- Vitamin E.
- Vitamin D.
- Vitamin K.
You know the most relevant vitamins of an organism. So, you still don't know what minerals are? They are inorganic substances that occur naturally in soil and water. Minerals are obtained from plant and animal products, as they are absorbed by the plants that people and animals consume.
As with vitamins, there are 14 minerals valuable to health (FDA, 2020): calcium, chlorine, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc.
Now, why are minerals essential? Well, according to the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH, 2021), vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that the body needs in small amounts to function properly. These substances are vital for keeping the brain, muscles, bones, nerves, skin, blood circulation, and immune system healthy.
Main differences between vitamins and minerals
You may not yet know the exact differences between vitamins and minerals. In that case, you need to know that the body cannot produce enough vitamins and minerals on its own. Normally, you get them from a varied and balanced diet, although some people may need to take additional supplements to stay healthy, as we mentioned above (HSPH, 2021; NHS, 2020).
So, do you want to stay healthy? Well, you should know the main differences between vitamins and minerals to consume the right amounts.
1. Vitamins are classified into water-soluble and fat-soluble
One of the main differences lies in the classification. Vitamins are a wide range of substances that the human body needs for normal growth and development. In terms of their classification, they are divided according to their solubility (Ryding, 2020, NHS, 2020):
- Water-soluble or water-soluble vitamins: these are essential vitamins that dissolve in body water. They cannot be stored, as the body retains the amount needed and the remainder is eliminated in the urine. Moreover, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is also water-soluble.
- Fat-soluble or fat-soluble vitamins: these are vitamins that dissolve in body fat. If you have an excess of these vitamins, they can be stored in the liver and fatty tissues. This category includes vitamins A, D, E, and K.
2. Minerals are classified into macrominerals and trace elements
Now, minerals serve to maintain the proper functioning of the bones, heart, and brain. As for classification, you should know that there are two types of minerals (Medline Plus, 2020):
- Macrominerals: these are nutrients that your body needs in more significant amounts. They include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and chlorine.
- Trace elements: these are the elements your body needs in smaller amounts. They include iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, molybdenum, and selenium.
3. Vitamins are organic compounds necessary for normal body processes
Vitamins are organic compounds formed by plants and animals. If you do not consume them in sufficient quantity, you could have some health problems. So, each vitamin has a specific function in the body (FAO, n.d.; Ryding, 2020):
- Vitamin A is necessary for vision, bone development, and the immune system.
- Vitamin D contributes to the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.
- Vitamin E is an antioxidant and protects against cell damage.
- Vitamin K is relevant for blood clotting, stimulates protein and calcium transport.
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant and strengthens the immune system. It is essential to produce collagen and neurotransmitters.
4. Minerals are inorganic compounds necessary to form the structures of the body
Minerals are inorganic compounds found in soil and water. They are absorbed by plants and used by animals and people when they eat plant foods. The body needs a balance of minerals to maintain optimal health. Each type of mineral has a specific function in your organism (FAO, n.d.; Fletcher, 2021):
- Macrominerals are going to serve you for better skin, hair, and nail health. They also play an essential role in improving bone health, i.e., making your teeth and bones healthier.
- Trace elements are necessary for the body. They also strengthen bones and prevent tooth decay. However, they stand out from the previous ones for strengthening blood clotting and oxygen transport. They will improve your immune system and make you have healthy blood pressure.
Why is it important to know the differences between vitamins and minerals?
In short, you already know what the differences are between these nutrients. In all cases, they are essential substances for your body to function properly. If you consume adequate amounts of these nutrients, your body will be much healthier.We invite you to include them in your daily diet to improve your health!