The human body needs essential vitamins and minerals, also called nutrients, to build tissue, repair tissue, regulate bodily processes, and to use energy. Basically, nutrients are a necessary substance that enriches our body, and keeps it functioning as it should. Nutrients are absorbed with intake of food, or as a supplement when the food doesn’t provide enough on its own.
Nutrients can be classified into two types – essential and nonessential. Nonessential nutrients are nutrients that are extracted from food that we consume, and are then absorbed into the body.
Essential nutrients are nutrients that our body is not able to obtain from the food that we eat. This is either because the nutrients are not present in the food, or the body is not able to acquire a sufficient quantity of nutrients from the food.
When a nutrient is believed to be essential, it should be obtained from another method – usually from an environmental source.
Why Do We Need Essential Vitamins and Minerals?
There are specific essential vitamins and minerals that our body must have to remain at peak performance. A lot of people are under the impression that if they take a multivitamin supplement, they are getting all the essential vitamins and minerals that they need.
The truth is that multivitamin supplements do not always provide a specific enough amount of essential vitamins and minerals that each individual needs.
When taking a multivitamin supplement, you have no control over how much of each vitamin and mineral you are actually ingesting, or how the amounts may affect your body.
For example, if you have a deficiency in a specific vitamin or mineral due to inadequate dietary intake, it could interfere with bodily functions. Or, when there is too much of a specific vitamin or mineral, you may experience a harmful reaction within body organisms.
There are two types of vitamins that our body requires.
• Fat soluble vitamins that dissolve in fat. These vitamins are A, D, E, and K.
• Water soluble vitamins, which are vitamins B complex, C, and folic acid (folate).
Essential minerals are classified into three categories.
• Macro and Trace minerals are calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron, zinc, and fluorine.
• Trace minerals are copper, chromium, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and iodine.
It is important that you know what vitamins and minerals that your body is in need of before starting with supplements. You will want to make sure that you are giving your body the correct amount and not overdosing on others.
Essential vitamins and minerals, as well as nonessential vitamin and minerals in the right amounts, are important for optimal body performance.