Vitamins and minerals, Nutrients are organic and inorganic compounds with a high degree of biological significance. In the majority of instances, they must be received from external sources; they are not normally created by the human body.
However, what is the primary role of vitamins and minerals in the body? Why must they be consumed frequently? What is the best source of these vitamins and minerals?
This is the subject of the article, so continue reading to discover more!
What is the main function of vitamins and minerals?
In general, we can say that the primary role of vitamins and minerals is to aid in the maintenance of the body’s biological operations by aiding in the manufacture of enzymes and other molecules that serve several tasks in the body.
Some nutrients can contribute to the formation of tissues, while others can stimulate the production of compounds vital to the body’s health, assist in boosting immunity, strengthen bones and muscles, preserve and stimulate the nervous system, and protect cardiovascular health, among other functions. many other functions.
In severe circumstances, a deficit in specific vitamins and minerals caused by nutrient absorption difficulties or an irregular and unbalanced diet may raise the risk of major health issues and even death.
Knowing the true significance of nutrients to our health, it is fascinating to learn the primary purpose of vitamins and minerals regarded as important to the human body. Before proceeding, let’s define each of these compounds.
What are vitamins?
Vitamins are organic compounds that are essential to the proper functioning of the body, which cannot produce them on its own and therefore must obtain them from external sources, such as food or supplements.
Because they are carbon-based, we refer to them as organic substances. They contribute to the synthesis of enzymes, hormones, and other essential molecules for biological processes, acting directly on the activation and control of the metabolism.
Types of vitamins
This substance falls into two primary categories: water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins.
The former are water-soluble compounds, meaning they must be dissolved in water in order to be used by the body. They have a tendency to be more unstable and less resistant to environmental elements including humidity, heat, and light, which might diminish their concentration in meals exposed to these circumstances.
In the case of fat-soluble vitamins, which need an association with lipids for the breakdown and synthesis of their molecules, they are often more resistant and stable, allowing them to retain their concentration with greater ease.
Choosing the best multivitamin for men can depend on several factors, including age, lifestyle, and specific nutritional needs. It’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized recommendations.
Examples of essential vitamins for the human body
Let’s take a look at some instances of necessary vitamins for the body, focusing on their kind and metabolic activity.
|Vitamin A||fat-soluble||Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, strengthens immunity, encourages collagen production, stimulates cell renewal and takes care of vision;|
|Vitamin D||fat-soluble||Regulation of calcium and phosphate, it acts in the formation and strengthening of bones, takes care of blood pressure, control inflammation and fights infections;|
|Vitamin E||fat-soluble||Stimulates the synthesis of carnitine, generates energy in the muscles, also participates in the formation and regeneration of tissues in the body;|
|vitamin K||fat-soluble||It acts in the synthesis and absorption of proteins, mainly those necessary for bone formation and blood clotting;|
|Vitamin C||water-soluble||Stimulates collagen production, participates in carnitine synthesis, improves tissue healing, acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, encourages neurotransmitter synthesis and contributes to disease prevention;|
|Thiamine (B1)||water-soluble||Improves the body’s ability to break down and synthesize carbohydrates and amino acids;|
|Niacin (B3)||water-soluble||Stimulates energy production in cells and participates in the synthesis of hormones and fatty acids;|
|Folic acid (B9)||water-soluble||Essential for fetal development, it participates in the formation of our DNA and stimulates cell production and structuring of various tissues and components of the human body.|
What are mineral salts?
On the other end of the spectrum are mineral salts, inorganic compounds composed of cations and metal ions. They are also necessary for the body’s proper functioning and must be consumed frequently via food or nutritional supplements.
Their qualities cause them to behave in certain circumstances, such as boosting the transmission and reception of nerve impulses, contributing to the capacity of muscles to contract, and aiding in the building of bone and dental structure.
In addition, they aid in the clotting process, cellular respiration, and osmoregulation, which maintains the body’s water and salt balance.
Types of mineral salts
Two kinds of mineral salts may also be distinguished. First, there are water-soluble mineral salts, which may be dissolved in water and so provide the body with ions.
Next, we have immobilised mineral salts, which have poor solubility and are often employed to construct bodily structures, particularly bones and teeth.
Examples of important minerals for the human body
- Calcium contributes to the creation and strengthening of bones, enhances muscular contraction, aids in the conduction of nerve impulses, promotes blood clotting, bolsters immunity, and boosts energy generation in cells.
- Sodium: necessary for osmoregulation, nerve impulse conduction, and capable of elevating blood pressure;
- Potassium: a crucial mineral for activating the nervous system, it also increases the formation of proteins and glycogen and participates in several metabolic processes.
- Iron: contributes to the formation of red blood cells, which serve to carry oxygen throughout the body;
- Zinc has antioxidant properties, contributes to the creation of many bodily structures throughout pregnancy, infancy, and adolescence, and follows us into maturity. It affects insulin synthesis and activates the immune system;
- In addition to preventing cancer, selenium inhibits degenerative and cardiovascular disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and hypertension. Boosts immunity, enhances thyroid function, and has antioxidant properties;
- Iodine: vital mineral for the thyroid; consequently, it is also crucial for hormone synthesis, body development, child growth, and weight management, among other functions;
- Magnesium contributes to the development of cellular structures and the creation of energy in the body’s cells by participating in the manufacture of vital enzymes and vitamin D.
Food or supplementation: how to get all the essential nutrients?
Now that we understand what vitamins and minerals are and their primary purpose, it is essential to identify the optimal source of these substances.
As humans are incapable of producing vitamins and minerals, with the exception of vitamin D, which may be increased by exposure to the sun’s UV rays, they must get them from external sources.
Food is the primary option, consisting of a balanced and nourishing diet, which provides the recommended daily amounts for these components and helps to maintain the intake on a regular basis, which promotes the maintenance of reserves of these nutrients in the body, thereby providing long-term benefits.
Dietary supplements, which combine many nutrients into a single pill, are the most prevalent option. Despite their convenience, they are recommended for those who have trouble obtaining or maintaining a nutrient-rich diet.
They may also be prescribed to those who engage in physically demanding activities, such as sports and hard labour, which increase the need for particular components.
Lastly, some individuals may have trouble absorbing specific nutrients from diet, with supplements providing increased concentrations of these substances.
In any event, it is necessary to consume vitamins and minerals on a regular basis to maintain and maximise biological functioning, hence promoting health and well-being.