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Nutrition: Vitamins and minerals

Introduction

Unit image

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 unit 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 study unit is an adapted extract from the Open University course SK183 Studying Human Nutrition, which is no longer taught by the University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this subject area. [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

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