Minerals and vitamins

Amino acids are derived by the body from proteins from our diet. Proteins occur in meat, fish, whole grains, pulses, beans, eggs. The body can produce most of the 24 amino acids from other proteins, but 9 amino acids that the body needs can only come from the diet and therefore we need to consume enough of the foods where these so-called essential amino acids occur.

These are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine, which we can obtain from meat, fish, egg and dairy products and vegetable sources.

Minerals

Electrolytes and trace elements are the two main groups of minerals. Electrolytes are needed in larger quantities than trace elements. Electrolytes include sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. The remaining minerals are trace elements and like electrolytes are found in a variety of foods. In general, the body takes most minerals it needs from food, not from water.

Vitamins

13 Vitamins are found in a variety of foods and are key in normal cell functions, growth and development of the body. Almost all vitamins are considered essential, but a couple of vitamins are actually made in the body. Conditionally, vitamin D is one example since it is synthesized by skin cells using sunlight. But if there is not enough access to sunlight, you are at risk of not having an adequate amount for your body. Biotin is  another vitamin that is a not essential amino acid (i.e. it does not need to be taken from your diet) because it is made in your intestines by gastrointestinal bacteria. Unless you have digestive diseases, the lining of you intestines will produce adequate amounts for your bodily processes. Other vitamins, like vitamin K, are made in the body but there are still some additional daily recommendations for intake. Vitamin B12 is found in animal and fish sources only, and vegetarians should take foods that are fortified with Vit B12 or take separate Vit B12 capsules to prevent long term negative and serious health effects. The following vitamins exist. Vitamins A, D, E and K are oil soluble and are best absorbed when taken with dietary fat. All others are water soluble and do not last long in the body with the exception of Vit B12, which is stored in the liver and can be stored for years.

Be careful with taking vitamin supplements: too much may be damaging for your body. 

  • Vitamin A (beta-carotene, retinol)
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamin)
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin)
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B7 (biotin)
  • Vitamin B9 (folic acid/ folate)
  • Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
  • Vitamin D (ergocalciferol D2, cholecalciferol D3)
  • Vitamin E (tocopherol)
  • Vitamin K (naphthoquinoids

All our knowledge pages