Difference Between Vitamins and Minerals

What are Vitamins and Minerals:

Vitamin and minerals are important substances that our body needs to develop and function normally. Vitamins are important natural and essential micronutrients, they are required by the body in small amounts and play a major role in growth and development, they also help in the healing and repairing process. They also play a crucial role in maintaining the immune system and other biological functions. Whereas minerals are food elements present in our food that are required for proper growth and functioning of the body. They are not produced by the body in large amounts so they are taken from food sources in order to make strong bones and muscles.


Vitamins:

Vitamins are organic compounds required by the body in small amounts for metabolic activities of the body. They must be obtained from outside sources like diet, rumen or bacteria, etc. They also assist formation  hormones, blood vessels, nervous system chemicals and genetic material. Most of the time they act as a catalyst combining with protein to create metabolically active enzymes that are essential for the day to day life process. In some cases due to lack of enzymes many reactions slow down or cease.

Vitamins are made up of different chemical nature, these chemicals are alcohols, aldehydes, organic acids, their derivatives and nucleotide derivatives.


Classification of Vitamins:

Vitamins are classified on the basis of their ability to absorbed in fat or water, they are:


1. Fat Soluble Vitamins: these vitamins are oily and hydrophobic compounds, they are mainly stored in the liver and not excreted out of the body. Bile salt and fats are needed for their absorption. Vitamins which comes under fat soluble vitamins are :

  1. Vitamin A

  2. Vitamin D

  3. Vitamin E

  4. Vitamin K


2. Water Soluble Vitamins: Vitamin B complex, VitaminB1, VitaminB2, Vitamin B6, VitaminB12, folic acid and vitamin C are water soluble vitamins. These vitamins are not stored in the body, therefore required daily in small amounts. 


Source and Function of Different Types of Vitamins:


1. Vitamin A: 

  • Source: Vitamin A obtained from  animal sources (retinol): fortified milk, cheese, cream, butter, eggs, liver, etc.

  • Beta-carotene is obtained from plant sources like: Leafy, dark green vegetables; dark orange fruits (apricots, cantaloupe) and vegetables (carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin)

  • Function: Main function of vitamin A Is for vision, healthy skin and mucous membranes, bone and tooth growth, immune system health.


2. Vitamin D:

  • Source: We obtain vitamin D from egg yolks, liver, fatty fish, fortified milk, fortified margarine. When exposed to sunlight, the skin can make vitamin D.

  • Function: They are needed for proper absorption of calcium; stored in bones.


3. Vitamin E:

  • Source: Main source of vitamin E is polyunsaturated plant oils like soybean, corn, cottonseed, safflower; leafy green vegetables; wheat germ; whole-grain products; liver; egg yolks; nuts and seeds.

  • Function: Antioxidant; protects cell walls.


4. Vitamin K: 

  • Source: Main sources of vitamin K are leafy green vegetables such as kale, collard greens, and spinach; green vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus.

  • Function: Vitamin K is needed for proper blood clotting.


5. Vitamin B1: 

Also known as Thiamine.

  • Source: Found in all nutritious foods in moderate amounts: pork, whole-grain or enriched breads and cereals, legumes, nuts and seeds.

  • Function: Part of an enzyme needed for energy metabolism; important to nerve function.


6. Vitamin B2: 

They are also known as riboflavin.

  • Sources: Their main sources are milk and milk products; leafy green vegetables; whole-grain, enriched breads and cereals.

  • Function: They are part of an enzyme needed for energy metabolism; important for normal vision and skin health.


7. Vitamin B6:

  • Source: Their main sources are meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, fruits.

  • Function: Part of an enzyme needed for protein metabolism; helps make red blood cells.


8. Vitamin B12:

They are also known as Cobalamin.

  • Sources: Meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, milk and milk products; not found in plant foods.

  • Function: Part of an enzyme needed for making new cells; important to nerve function.


Minerals:

The human body requires varying amounts of minerals daily in order to build strong bones and muscles. It also helps to maintain various bodily functions. Therefore, we obtain these nutrients from eating foods rich in minerals.

When the body does not receive enough minerals, certain nutritional deficiency diseases may arise. Goitre, Osteoporosis, Anaemia, Hypomagnesaemia, Diarrhoea are few examples of mineral deficiency diseases.

 

Sources of Minerals are:

There are various food source from where we can get minerals, they are:


Calcium

  • Source: Their main sources are milk and milk products; canned fish with bones (salmon, sardines); fortified tofu and fortified soy milk; greens (broccoli, mustard greens); legumes

  • Function: they are important for healthy bones and teeth; helps muscles relax and contract; important in nerve functioning, blood clotting, blood pressure regulation, immune system health


Phosphorus

  • Source: Their main sources are meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, processed foods.

  • Function: They are important for healthy bones and teeth; found in every cell; part of the system that maintains acid-base balance.


Potassium

  • Source: Their main sources are meats, milk, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes

  • Function: Needed for proper fluid balance, nerve transmission, and muscle contraction


Sodium

  • Source: Table salt, soy sauce; large amounts in processed foods; small amounts in milk, breads, vegetables, and unprocessed meats.

  • Function: Needed for proper fluid balance, nerve transmission, and muscle contraction.


Iodine

  • Source: Their main sources are seafood, foods grown in iodine-rich soil, iodized salt, bread, dairy products.

  • Function: They are found in thyroid hormone, which helps regulate growth, development, and metabolism


Difference Between Vitamins and Minerals:

Vitamins 

Minerals

They are organic compounds obtained from animals and plants.

They are inorganic compounds obtained from earth.

They can be easily destroyable by heat, light, etc.

They cannot be easily destroyed by heat and  light.

They are classified as water soluble or fat soluble.

They are classified as macrominerals or microminerals.

All 13 vitamins are needed by body

All minerals are not needed by our body

Example are vitamin A,D, E, K, etc.

Example are Calcium, Phosphorus, etc.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are Water Soluble Vitamins?

These vitamins are not stored in the body, therefore required daily in small amounts.


Example:  Vitamin B complex, VitaminB1, VitaminB2, Vitamin B6, VitaminB12, folic acid and vitamin C are water soluble vitamins. 

2. What are Fat Soluble Vitamins?

These vitamins are oily and hydrophobic compounds, they are mainly stored in the liver and not excreted out of the body. Bile salt and fats are needed for their absorption. Vitamins which comes under fat soluble vitamins are :

  1. Vitamin A

  2. Vitamin D

  3. Vitamin E

  4. Vitamin K

3. Difference Between Vitamins and Minerals?

Vitamins 

Minerals

They are organic compounds obtained from animals and plants.

They are inorganic compounds obtained from earth.

They can be easily destroyable by heat, light, etc.

They cannot be easily destroyed by heat and  light.

They are classified as water soluble or fat soluble.

They are classified as macrominerals or microminerals.

All 13 vitamins are needed by body

All minerals are not needed by our body

Example are vitamin A,D, E, K, etc.

Example are Calcium, Phosphorus, etc.