Educating yourself to gain a better understanding of what vitamins and minerals do and why you want to make sure that you are getting enough of them, is extremely important. Vitamins and minerals are all considered micronutrients. Vitamins can be broken down by heat, air, or acid whereas minerals can hold on to their chemical structure. Important to remember is that minerals have an easier path into your body through plants, fish, animals, and fluids you consume. It is tougher for vitamins to get into your body through foods because cooking, storage, and exposure to air can inactivate the more fragile compounds.
Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body’s liver, fatty tissue, and muscles. The four fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K. Absorption of these vitamins are much easier with the presence of dietary fat. Fat-soluble vitamins play an integral role in many physiological processes such as vision, bone health, immune function, and coagulation. Fat-soluble vitamins are most abundant is in high-fat foods and should only be supplemented if you find you have a vitamin deficiency.
The nine water-soluble vitamins consist of vitamin C and all the B vitamins. Other than vitamin B12, which can be stored in the liver for many years, water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body. The excess amounts of these vitamins leave the body through the urine. It is essential that these vitamins are consumed on a regular basis to prevent shortages and deficiencies in the body. Your diet should have foods that contain most of these vitamins and provide an adequate dosage. If ever you feel that you do not consume enough nutrients through your regular diet, supplements are available.