The human body needs a lot of essential nutrients to stay healthy and perform its normal functions. Vitamins and minerals are very important nutritional elements that play hundreds of roles in the body and keep it fit and active.
It is very necessary to take in a diet which contains adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals for normal development and functioning of the body.
Vitamins are organic compounds which are found in all living things. Derived from two words, vita meaning life and amine meaning containing nitrogen, vitamins are either water soluble or fat soluble; water soluble vitamins require water for absorption and are excreted in the urine, while fat soluble vitamins require fats for absorption and are stored in the fat tissues.
There are 9 water soluble vitamins which include vitamin C and the eight B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, folate, biotin, and pantothenic acid), and 4 different fat-soluble vitamins: vitamins A, D, E, and K. All these vitamins have unique roles and functions; they help the human body in various ways and protect it from developing various diseases and ailments.
Minerals are pure inorganic elements and the human body needs them to stay active and perform its daily functions without facing any health issues.
Minerals are distributed in two categories; namely major or macro and trace or micro. The major or macro minerals include calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, and sulfur, and of these 100mg/day or more are required; while the trace or micro minerals that include iron, iodine, zinc, chromium, selenium, fluoride, molybdenum, copper, and manganese are required in small or trace quantities. All these minerals help the body perform its normal activities and processes the right way.
Vitamins vs Minerals
What is the difference between vitamins and minerals? Although both are essential nutrients required by the human body to stay healthy and fit and to functional normally, they both have distinctive functions to perform and help the human body in their respective ways.
The main difference between the two is that while all vitamins are essential and required by the body, only some minerals are essential. Vitamins are sensitive to heat, light and chemical reactions and thus should be handled very carefully when cooking or storing them, or their nutrient value will be lost, but minerals are more stable and do not lose their nutritional value as easily.
Vitamins are found in all types of food and are highly concentrated in fruits and vegetables. Thus having a proper diet which includes fruits and vegetables is very essential to getting the required amount of vitamins. On the other hand, minerals are found in soil and water and can be obtained very easily through the intake of fish, meat, dark leafy vegetables, dairy products and fluids.
Even though both vitamins and minerals are essential for a healthy body and play a key role in human health, they are different in their composition, biological functions and nutritional value.
|Vitamins are chemical compounds.||Minerals are chemical elements.|
|Vitamins are found in all types of fruits and vegetables.||Minerals are found in liquids and soil and even plants.|
|Vitamins help in releasing energy from the food, building red blood cells, blood clotting and maintaining healthy skin, eyes and hair.||Minerals are essential for bone and tooth formation, blood coagulation, muscle contraction and maintaining the acid-alkaline balance.|
|All vitamins are very essential for the body and play specific roles in keeping it healthy and active.||Not all minerals are good for the body; some of them are contaminant and can disrupt normal body functions and processes, such as lead.|
|All vitamins are equally necessary for the human body; if they are fat soluble, it is important not to take too many of them.||The human body does not require all the minerals and only requires some of them to function normally.|
|Vitamins are easily destroyed if they are cooked for too long or mixed with other chemical agents. Their absorption is sometimes helped by the presence of minerals, e.g. vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron.||Minerals are not affected by heat, sunlight or chemical reactions and when they are formulated into supplements will not deteriorate as quickly as vitamin supplements.|