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Vitamins and Minerals


Updated February 07, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Vitamins and minerals are called 'micronutrients' because you only need small amounts compared to the macronutrients, which are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. But those small amounts are crucial for good health.

A healthy, balanced diet should provide the vitamins and minerals your body needs. People who have certain health conditions, eat nutrient-poor diets, or take some types of medications may need to use dietary supplements to ensure an adequate intake.

1. Water-Soluble Vitamins

The water-soluble vitamins are vital for many of your body's functions, including energy production and immune system function.

Your body doesn't store the water-soluble vitamins very long, so they need to be replenished daily. Learn more about the water-soluble vitamins.

2. Fat-Soluble Vitamins

The fat-soluble vitamins are vital for many of the functions, including cell differentiation and immune system function, and they'll help to keep your bones strong.

Your body does store the fat-soluble vitamins; however, you still need small amounts each day to keep up those stores. Learn more about fat-soluble vitamins.

3. Major Minerals

The major minerals are necessary for fluid balance, maintenance of bones and teeth, muscle contractions and nervous system function. They're available as dietary supplements, but be careful not to go over the tolerable upper levels. Learn more about the major minerals.

4. Trace Minerals

These minerals are all essential for good health, but your body only needs a very small amount of each one. These trace minerals are important for immune system function, energy, metabolism, and antioxidant protection. Learn more about the trace minerals.

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