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Nutrition: vitamins and minerals


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Both vitamins and minerals are essential in the diet in small quantities.The term ‘vitamin’ was not coined until early in the 20th century, to describe those chemicals in food without which a pattern of deficiency symptoms (often called a deficiency syndrome) occurs. Minerals, also called mineral elements, are those elements other than carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen that are found in the body.

This free course, Nutrition: Vitamins and minerals, looks at the two main groups of vitamins: the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and the water-soluble vitamins, those of the B group (numbered B1, B2, etc.) and vitamin C. It also examines the major mineral elements, and the importance of fluid balance in the body.

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This OpenLearn course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Science, Maths & Technology courses or view the range of currently available OU Health and Wellbeing courses.

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