The Difference Between Vitamins and Minerals

In 2002, Harvard researchers found that adults don’t consume enough vitamins from their diet.

In fact, they urged all adults should take vitamin supplements. Incredible, isn’t it? Getting an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals is essential for maintaining optimal health.

These nutrients fulfill several crucial functions in the body. From maintaining the health of our skin and hair to regulating our metabolism. But what’s the difference between vitamins and minerals?

Keep reading to find out.

What Are Vitamins?

Vitamins are essential, organic substances required by the body. Our bodies cannot produce vitamins, so these important nutrients have to be taken in through the diet alone.

That’s right, vitamins come from plant and animal sources. There are 13 essential vitamins in total and deficiencies can cause serious health problems. To cure a deficiency, you need to take the vitamins that are right for you.

There are two main classes of vitamins. These are water-soluble and fat-soluble.

Water-Soluble Vitamins

Water-soluble vitamins are vitamins that can dissolve in water. The following vitamins are water-soluble:

  • Vitamin C
  • All of the B vitamins

Water-soluble vitamins are generally absorbed quicker and easier than fat-soluble vitamins. And any excess is excreted in the urine. Vitamin B12 is unique in that the liver can store it for many years.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins that can dissolve in fat. The fat-soluble vitamins include:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

Each of these vitamins performs vital functions in the body. In fact, vitamin D plays a role in many illnesses including diabetes and depression.

What Are Minerals?

Unlike vitamins, minerals are inorganic substances required by the body in varying amounts. Minerals have a variety of functions in the body. They act as cofactors to enzymes and help to regulate important bodily processes.

Minerals come from the soil and the water. It’s important to eat a nutrient-rich diet in order to get enough of the essential minerals. There are two groups of minerals. The microminerals and the macrominerals.


Macrominerals refer to those minerals that the body needs in relatively large amounts. This includes magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium, and phosphorous.

Macrominerals have important structural functions (such as magnesium and calcium in bone). They are also involved in muscle contraction and nerve impulses.


The microminerals are those minerals that the body needs in small amounts. These include iron, zinc, manganese, and copper.

The dietary supply of microminerals is wholly dependant on their availability in the soil. This is of great concern considering that modern farming practices are depleting the soil of nutrients.

Now You Know the Difference Between Vitamins and Minerals

Getting proper amounts of vitamins and minerals is crucial for maintaining a healthy body. Most people don’t know the difference between vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins are organic substances required by the body that we consume through our diet. Minerals are inorganic elements that are also essential for health.

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