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General information on vitamins and minerals

Vitamins are essential substances for the body, each of which has its own function. Vitamins are needed in small quantities. The actual vitamin deficiency diseases are quite rare, but in some cases the intake of vitamins may be too low compared with the recommendations.

Group B vitamins are needed, for example in the body's energy production and the functioning of the nervous system. Vitamin B, especially thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5) and biotin, are essential for the functioning of all cells as they take part in cell energy metabolism.

The need for extra vitamins could be:

- Unilateral eating habits
- Tight vegan diet
- Pregnancy and breast feeding
- Lack of sunlight
- Certain diseases
- Some post-surgical procedures (e.g., intestinal surgery).
- Some medicines can weaken the effect of vitamins.

 

Vitamins are divided into fat soluble and water-soluble. Fat-soluble are vitamins A, D, E and K. Everyone else is water-soluble.

Intake of fat-soluble vitamins is disturbed if you eat food that is very low on fat, have intestinal malabsorption or liver problems.

Water-soluble vitamins have small stocks from a few days to a few weeks, so they have to be provided daily. In particular, vitamins B should be given almost daily, as they are water-soluble and not stored  in the body.

Eat a variety of foods so you usually receive vitamin B from the diet. If nutrition is one-sided, for example due to a longer-term special diet, vitamin B supplementation may be necessary.

Mineral supplements

The body itself can not produce minerals, and they have to be given in food or supplements like vitamins. Minerals are divided into indispensable and non-essential. For example, calcium and magnesium are minerals. Iron, zinc, copper, selenium, manganese, iodine and chromium are generally called trace elements.

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