Vitamins & Minerals: Which, Why and What for?

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Vitamins & Minerals: Which, Why and What for?
by Helen Edelman August 3, 2016

Vitamins are organic compounds; minerals are inorganic and have a much simpler chemical composition than vitamins. Vitamins are obtained from plants and animals; minerals come from soil and water, including mineral or seltzer water, which have naturally occurring or added minerals.

Vitamins are easily destroyed while cooking, due to heat or chemical agents. Therefore, extra attention is needed while preparing food or storing it. Minerals are not vulnerable to heat chemical reactions or sunlight. While vitamins are destructible, minerals are indestructible.

Types of Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins can be water soluble or fat-soluble. While water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body and have to be taken with water, fat-soluble vitamins get dissolved in the body’s fat cells and are also stored in the body.

Minerals are divided into macro minerals and trace minerals. Trace minerals are needed by the body in small quantities, while macro minerals are needed in large amounts. While all vitamins (A, B, C, D, E and K) are needed for the body, all minerals are not needed. Some necessary minerals are calcium, magnesium, zinc, iodine, sodium, copper, chromium, iron, sulphur, manganese, potassium and phosphorus.


Vitamins release energy from the food, develop red blood cells, help in blood clotting and help in maintaining healthy skin, eye and hair. Minerals help in bone and tooth formation, blood coagulation, muscle contraction and in keeping acid-alkaline balance in blood.

Times Union - Edited and written by Helen Edelman

LiveSmart supports the Classroom Enrichment Fund at the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region and is made possible by donations from St. Peter’s Health Partners and Price Chopper, with promotional services provided by the Times Union and WNYT/NewsChannel 13. LiveSmart is compiled by Helen Susan Edelman, Project Director. This project ensures 70,000 students and teachers in the Capital Region have equal access to news content during the school year.