Vitamins And Minerals

Learning about nutritional needs can sometimes feel incredibly overwhelming and complex. While we all have a basic understanding on the importance of vitamins, it can be hard to delve deeper into the different types. This is particularly true with vitamins and minerals, as both terms are often used interchangeably.

We’re here to settle that. Read on to discover the main differences between vitamins and minerals.

What Are Vitamins And Minerals?

Vitamins and minerals are both classed as “essential nutrients”. This is because both of them contribute towards hundreds of different roles in the body, from strengthening bones to supporting the immune system. Some are even responsible for converting food into energy and transporting blood!

Some of the essential nutrients are as follows:

  • Vitamin A
  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Calcium
  • Iodine
  • Iron

Luckily, a lot of people get the above nutrients through a balanced diet. The trick here is to keep it varied and focus on the five main food groups. Some people also take multivitamins if they feel as though they have to safeguard their intake.

What’s The Difference Between Vitamins And Minerals?

While both vitamins and minerals come under the same “micronutrient” classification, they do have some differences.

To put it simply, vitamins are organic. They can be broken down by external sources like heat, air and acid. Minerals, on the other hand, hold on to their chemical structure when faced by an outside force. They are also inorganic.

What Difference Does This Make?

As a whole, vitamins and minerals are both sourced in the same way – through a balanced diet. The only main difference is that minerals are more prominent in foods as they don’t break down when cooked or stored. You have to be a bit more careful with vitamins, as it’s slightly tougher to get them into your body.

Distinguishing Vitamins Vs. Minerals

To further understand the different types of vitamins and minerals, we’ve split the following sections up into four groups:

  • Water-soluble vitamins
  • Fat-soluble vitamins
  • Major minerals
  • Trace minerals

Water-Soluble Vitamins

Water-soluble vitamins are absorbed directly into your bloodstream. They are typically found in the more watery foods that you eat. As water-soluble vitamins aren’t stored in the body, your body removes excess vitamins through your urine.

Essential water-soluble vitamins include:

  • Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B7, B9, B12
  • Vitamin C

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body. They gain entry to your blood through lymph channels. When travelling through the body, most fat-soluble vitamins use proteins as “carriers”.

Essential fat-soluble vitamins include:

    • Vitamin A
    • Vitamin D
    • Vitamin E
    • Vitamin K

Major Minerals

Let’s move on to minerals! The body needs and stores large amounts of major minerals. Not all major minerals work in the same way; some will move about freely, whereas others require carriers.

Essential major minerals include:

  • Calcium
  • Chloride
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Sodium

Trace Minerals

Trace minerals are just as important as major minerals. The only difference is that they aren’t as prominent in the body; they usually come in small quantities, instead.

Essential trace minerals include:

  • Chromium
  • Iodine
  • Iron
  • Zinc

Just as long as you maintain a balanced diet, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about the differences between vitamins and minerals. After all, both are incredibly important for your body!