Vitamins and minerals in health and nutrition


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Interactions between dietary supplements and prescription drugs and among several dietary supplements taken at the same time may occur. Too much iron can increase the risk of chronic disease, and too much vitamin A can cause birth defects. For example, supplement users may be less overweight and more physically active.

This dietary approach has been shown to reduce coronary heart disease risk in both healthy people and those with coronary disease. Many people are interested in antioxidant vitamins A, C and E. Scientific evidence does not suggest that consuming antioxidant vitamins can eliminate the need to reduce blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol or stop smoking cigarettes.

Clinical trials are under way to find out whether increased vitamin antioxidant intake may have an overall benefit. However, a recent large, placebo-controlled, randomized study failed to show any benefit from vitamin E on heart disease.

Fish intake has been associated with decreased risk of heart disease. Examples of these types of fish include salmon, herring and trout. NOTE: All fields required unless indicated as optional. By clicking the sign up button you agree to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. Overwhelmed by the towering shelves of vitamin and mineral supplements in the grocery store? Food first! Supplements May Help While diet is the key to getting the best vitamins and minerals, supplements can help.

This approach has been shown to reduce coronary heart disease risk in healthy people and those with heart disease. This should ideally come from fish. As always, consult with a physician first. Scientific evidence does not suggest these can eliminate the need to reduce blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol or stop smoking.

Definitions of Health Terms: Nutrition: MedlinePlus

Do not rely only on supplements. AHA Scientific Position We recommend that healthy people get adequate nutrients by eating a variety of foods in moderation, rather than by taking supplements. Regardless of type, vitamins and minerals are absorbed in similar ways in your body and interact in many processes. Most vitamins dissolve in water and are therefore known as water-soluble.

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While each water-soluble vitamin has a unique role, their functions are related. For example, most B vitamins act as coenzymes that help trigger important chemical reactions. A lot of these reactions are necessary for energy production. As you can see, water-soluble vitamins play an important role in producing energy but also have several other functions. After consumption, fat-soluble vitamins are stored in your liver and fatty tissues for future use.

Sources and recommended intakes of fat-soluble vitamins are 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 :.


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Macrominerals are needed in larger amounts than trace minerals in order to perform their specific roles in your body. Sources and recommended intakes of the macrominerals are 21 , 22 , 23 , 24 , 25 , 26 , 27 :. Trace minerals are needed in smaller amounts than macrominerals but still enable important functions in your body. Sources and recommended intakes of trace minerals are 28 , 29 , 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 , 34 :. Consuming an adequate amount of the different vitamins and minerals is key to optimal health and may even help fight disease. This is because micronutrients are part of nearly every process in your body.

Moreover, certain vitamins and minerals can act as antioxidants.

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For example, research has linked an adequate dietary intake of vitamins A and C with a lower risk of some types of cancer 4 , 5. Research has linked low blood levels of selenium to a higher risk of heart disease. Additionally, a review of 22 studies noticed that adequate calcium intake decreases the risk of death from heart disease and all other causes These studies suggest that consuming enough of all micronutrients — especially those with antioxidant properties — provides ample health benefits. Most healthy adults can get an adequate amount of micronutrients from a balanced diet, but there are some common nutrient deficiencies that affect certain populations.

The signs, symptoms and long-term effects of these deficiencies depend on each nutrient but can be detrimental to the proper functioning of your body and optimal health. They are most likely to occur with large doses of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K since these nutrients can be stored in your liver and fatty tissues. They cannot be excreted from your body like water-soluble vitamins.


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A micronutrient toxicity usually develops from supplementing with excess amounts — rarely from food sources. Signs and symptoms of toxicity vary depending on the nutrient.

Vitamin Supplements: Hype or Help for Healthy Eating

One study examined over 18, people with a high risk of lung cancer due to past smoking or asbestos exposure. The intervention group received two types of vitamin A — 30 mg of beta-carotene and 25, IU of retinyl palmitate a day The safest and most effective way to get adequate vitamin and mineral intake appears to be from food sources 51 , However, people at risk of specific nutrient deficiencies may benefit from taking supplements under the supervision of a doctor.

The term micronutrients refers to vitamins and minerals, which can be divided into macrominerals, trace minerals and water- and fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamins are needed for energy production, immune function , blood clotting and other functions while minerals benefit growth, bone health, fluid balance and other processes. To get an adequate amount of micronutrients, aim for a balanced diet containing a variety of foods.

A diet lacking in nutrients may cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms.


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Here are the 8 most common signs of vitamin and mineral deficiencies…. Here are eight symptoms that you may have a vitamin d deficiency. This is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world.

Amino Acids

Vitamin C is vital for many important processes in your body, and citrus fruits aren't the only way to get enough of it. Here are 20 foods that are….

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