Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that the body needs in small amounts to function properly. They are not produced in our bodies and must be obtained from the foods we eat. Trace elements, such as molybdenum, selenium, zinc, iron and iodine, are only required in a few milligrams or less, while macrominerals, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium and phosphorus, are needed in hundreds of milligrams. Knowing the different minerals and what they do can help you make sure you're getting enough of the minerals you need. In the 1950s, most vitamins and multivitamins were available for sale to the general public to prevent deficiencies.
Researchers soon determined the specific amounts of vitamins needed to prevent deficiency diseases. Some population groups (with very little or no exposure to sunlight) don't get enough vitamin D from sunlight and are at greater risk of suffering from a vitamin D deficiency. It helps the other B vitamins break down and release energy from food and to keep the nervous system healthy. Between April and September, most people age 5 and older will likely get enough vitamin D from sunlight when they're outdoors. However, some people who don't get enough vitamins and minerals from food alone, or who have certain medical conditions, may benefit from taking one or more of these nutrients found in single-nutrient supplements or in multivitamin-mineral (MVM) supplements. Many minerals are essential for enzyme function, others are used to maintain fluid balance, develop bone tissue, synthesize hormones, transmit nerve impulses, contract and relax muscles, and protect against harmful free radicals.
Vitamins and minerals are important for overall health and wellbeing. Eating a balanced diet is the best way to get all the nutrients your body needs.