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Vitamins for Mental Health, Vitamins and Minerals - Introduction

Mental Health > supplements-vitamins : Vitamin and Mineral Introduction

Vitamin and Minerals: Introduction

The use of vitamins and minerals and other nutritional supplements continues to grow and at astounding rate. Research is occurring in these areas and more scientific information is available about the proper uses of many substances. Vitamins and minerals in the form of supplements have been around for many years, even before this recent revolution. Both are essential to life. Neither can be made by the body and must be ingested. Vitamins are key components of enzymes and coenzymes. Enzymes speed up chemical reactions in the body either by building or breaking chemical bonds that create molecules. Coenzymes help the enzymes in their chemical reactions. Minerals are also components of enzymes and coenzymes. In addition, minerals are needed to maintain the proper composition of body fluids, to help build bone and make blood cells and to maintain proper nerve function.

There are 13 different vitamins. They are divided into two groups, water-soluble and fat-soluble. The water-soluble vitamins (all the B vitamins, vitamin C and folic acid) are very safe. They are readily excreted from the body and are not stored. The fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, K) are stored in the fat tissue and fatty organs like the liver. You can therefore experience toxicity from these vitamins if you take them in large quantities.

There are at least 18 minerals that are important for body functions. They are divided into major minerals that are needed in larger quantities to maintain health and trace minerals which are needed in smaller amounts. The major minerals include calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, and chloride. The trace minerals include copper, zinc, iron, manganese, selenium, chromium, boron, and iodine. Minerals are stored primarily in the bones and in the muscle tissue. Too much of any one mineral can cause signs of toxicity and may also create an imbalance of other.

Common guidelines for the daily needs of vitamins and minerals, called the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), have been established. The RDAs are the amounts of nutrients needed by most people to prevent symptoms of deficiency. Dosing guidelines may instead be based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI). This is the amount of the nutrient that is needed by most healthy people and may be based on weight, gender, pregnancy and lactation. Unfortunately, neither system is designed to meet the varying and often increased needs of those who are sick, taking medications, exercising, or aging.

Vitamins and minerals can be obtained by eating a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Supplements can be very beneficial to health but are not a substitute for healthy living that includes the healthy diet, regular exercise, moderate or no alcohol and no smoking.

Mental Health > supplements-vitamins: Vitamin and Mineral Introduction