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Nutrition: vitamins and minerals
Both vitamins and minerals are essential in the diet in small quantities. Learn about...
Both vitamins and minerals are essential in the diet in small quantities. Learn about the two main vitamin groups and the major mineral elements. 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, the B group and vitamin C. It also examines the major mineral elements, and the importance of fluid balance in the body.
After studying this course you should know:
- that certain minerals are required in the body and that some minerals form essential structural components of tissues;
- that sodium, potassium, calcium and chloride ions are important in maintaining the correct composition of cells and of the tissue fluids around them (homeostasis);
- that some minerals are essential components of important molecules such as hormones and enzymes;
- that the correct fluid balance is essential for normal functioning of the body;
- that tapwater, and not just mineral water, contains minerals.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Vitamins
- 1.1 Introduction to vitamins and why we need them
- 1.2 Vitamin A
- 1.3 Vitamin D
- 1.4 Vitamin E
- 1.5 Vitamin K
- 1.6 Vitamin B
- 1.7 Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
- 1.8 Key points about vitamins
- 2 Minerals and fluids
- 2.1 Introduction to minerals and why we need them
- 2.2 Major minerals
- 2.3 Calcium (Ca)
- 2.4 Phosphorus (P), magnesium (Mg) and sulphur (S)
- 2.5 Sodium (Na), chlorine (Cl) and potassium (K)
- 2.6 Trace elements
- 2.7 Fluorine (F)
- 2.8 Iodine (I)
- 2.9 Iron (Fe)
- 2.10 Selenium (Se)
- 2.11 Zinc (Zn)
- 2.12 Fluid balance
- 2.13 Key points about minerals
- Keep on learning
- Further reading
Study this free course
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Nutrition: vitamins and minerals
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.
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 Wellbeing courses or view the range of currently available Health & Wellbeing courses.
Enrol on OpenLearn to gain a record of achievement
If you would like to gain a record of achievement, you can study this free course on OpenLearn. Once you set up a free Open University account and enrol on this course, you can track your progress in MyOpenLearn. When you’ve finished you can print off the free activity record to demonstrate your learning.
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This is an extract from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Biology courses or view the range of currently available OU Biology courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Tuesday, 2nd November 2010
Last updated on: Tuesday, 28th April 2015
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements section.
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