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The Skinny on: Vitamins vs. Minerals

We all know we should be consuming enough vitamins and minerals. We need them in order to stay healthy, but did you ever think about what the difference between the two is? Vitamins come from the plants and meat we eat. They are essential nutrients that fall into one of two categories: water soluble or fat soluble. Vitamin C and all eight B vitamins are water-soluble, which means water is required for their absorption. These nine vitamins are found mostly in fruits, veggies, and grains. You need water-soluble vitamins every day, and the extra is flushed out when you go to the bathroom. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, and are mostly found in fatty foods such as meat, dairy, vegetable oils, and oily fish. They require fat for absorption and are stored in fat tissue for later use. If you eat excessive amounts of fat-soluble vitamins, they can be harmful to your body so pay close attention to your diet.

To hear all about minerals and find out if taking supplements is necessary


Minerals fall into one of two categories as well: macro or micro. The ones needed in quantities of 100 mg or more are considered macro such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, and sulfur. The ones needed in much smaller, trace amounts are considered micro. Iron, iodine, zinc, chromium, selenium, fluoride, molybdenum, copper, and manganese are micro minerals. There are 16 essential minerals needed by the body, and you can obtain them from a variety of foods including meat, cereals, bread, fish, milk, vegetables, fruit (especially dried fruit), nuts, and also from water.

Fit's Tip: The best way to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs is from your diet. As long as you're eating a variety of foods, vitamin supplements aren't necessary.

pixelhaze pixelhaze 9 years
I had a rommate in collge, ex ballet dancer, who had her pills delivered to her every month automaticaly. It was three bottles: vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. She also ate extremely healthily so I assume they had the right amounts. I kind of wish I had asked her what company she used, as my own diet isn't quiiiiite up to par ;)
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
lilybeth, what is the probiotic you take? My S-I-L was telling me that you need to take one after taking antibiotics. I'd never heard of this. I need to do something for energy. Does that help? or is it more the combo? Lovely, that's what I do. I take the off brand (equate) women's one-a-day b/c the "name brand" has too much of each vitamin in it. I don't take any vitamin that is over the recommended daily dose.
Lilybeth84 Lilybeth84 9 years
I take a probiotic, vitamin D, Omega-3, and a woman's multi vitamin with Emergen-C every morning. I really think it helps keep my energy up.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
I just take a women's vitamin once a day...seems to work perfectly well for me :)
mtiger mtiger 9 years
I have a healthy diet, but I'm not sure I get 100% of every vitamin and mineral I need, so I take a Centrum Multi-vitamin. It can't hurt...
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
you're welcome :) I took a nutrition class last year and my professor said the same thing as fit did about if you eat a well rounded and healthy diet you will get all the vitamins and minerals you need and you don't have to take a vitamin... Except if you are a woman who is planning on getting pregnant soon, trying right now, or even have a remote chance of getting pregnant you need to take FA. So I started taking it and then talked to my gyno the next appt I had and she recommended the same thing.
imcs imcs 9 years
Kikidawn... thank you for the advice, I went to buy FA today, but thought I don't really need it till next year and left it. I am going to the pharmacy first thing tomorrow to get the bottle. :-)
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
"As long as you're eating a variety of foods, vitamin supplements aren't necessary." True, but I still take one for one main reason: folic acid. I'm sexually active. I take the pill, but there is always a chance that I could get pregnant so I take a vitamin. Folic acid is vital to the well being and appropriate development of a fetus during the first month of pregnancy. And since most women don't know they are pregnant until after the first month is done with, you miss the most important part of the baby's spinal and neural development (with folic acid being a large player in that development). Sorry I went off on a soap box here, but I believe that it is very important ... and I don't eat enough of the foods that naturally contain FA so I take a supplement.
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