Health and Beauty

Guide to vitamins and minerals

Vitamins and minerals/trace elements are essential for the proper functioning of the body. A deficiency or deficiency can lead to more or less serious disorders and diseases.

There are two main groups of vitamins: fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins. In other words, some vitamins are transportable and stored in fats (fat-soluble), and others are transportable and stored in water (water-soluble).

Key minerals include calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. As for trace elements, we find selenium, iron and iodine.

In this article, we will see their roles, the different sources, and the risks of vitamin deficiency.

Minerals or trace elements


It is one of the most important minerals for the body. It is found in 99% of the skeleton. It is necessary for the strength and hardness of bones and tooth enamel. It is also involved in blood clotting, muscle contraction and nerve impulses.

Calcium deficiency or excess both have the same effect: deterioration of bone tissue. This is how the intake of dairy products has been reduced. We are currently encouraged to consume two dairy products per day (previously three). In addition to regular consumption of fruits/vegetables, the needs will be adequately covered.

The main sources of calcium are milk and dairy products, fruits, vegetables (especially algae and leafy vegetables), and water.


It is the second major mineral in our bodies. These main functions are involvement in energy production and bone hardening (by increasing calcium efficiency).

It is found in many foods of animal and plant origin. The richest are ripe cheese, cocoa, dark chocolate, oilseeds (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds), dried vegetables (peas, lentils, whips, etc.).


Magnesium is involved in energy production and regulates bowel movements. Thanks to magnesium we can contract or relax our muscles. Magnesium is also known to reduce the effects of stress by regulating nervous and cardiac activity.

The main sources of magnesium are cocoa, chocolate, oilseeds, whole grains, crustaceans and mollusks.


The functions of iron are:

  • Production of hemoglobin which ensures the transport of oxygen to our cells.
  • Production of myoglobin which ensures oxygen storage in the muscles.

That is why during deficiency (anaemia) the symptoms are extreme fatigue, paleness of the face and tingling in the extremities.

The main sources are meat, grain products and legumes.


This trace element has great benefits in preventing certain diseases (cardiovascular diseases and degenerative diseases) by reducing the aging of our cells and stimulating the immune system.

The main sources are fish, shellfish, crustaceans, meat, eggs, and dairy products.


It is involved in the formation of thyroid hormones. These hormones are involved in regulating weight, affecting mood and much more.

Iodine is found in marine products, eggs, milk and dairy products. Iodized salt is also available commercially.


Fat-soluble vitamins

Vitamin A

Essential for vision, boosts the immune system and antioxidants. It is mainly found in butter, liver, and various fruits and vegetables in the form of beta-carotene.

Vitamin D

It allows calcium to be absorbed and stabilized in the bones, and protects against cancer and cardiovascular diseases. It is found in dairy products and fatty fish.

Vitamin E

It slows down the aging of our cells and thus prevents the appearance of cancer. Various oils, seeds and oily fruits are particularly rich in it.

Vitamin K

Promotes blood clotting. It is found in cabbage, olive and rapeseed oil.

Water-soluble vitamins

All B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8, B9, B12) are found in grains, starches and legumes, as well as in dairy products. Except for vitamin B12, which is only found in animal products.

VitaminsShortage risksDisorders/diseases
B 1Deficiency is rare except in cases of alcoholism.Nervous system damage: depression, irritability, decreased muscle tone.
Heart failure.
B2Its deficiency is very rare except in cases of malnutrition or excessive diet.Lesions of the skin (mouth, lips) and some mucous membranes (intestines).
B3, B5, B6Deficiency is rare except in cases of alcoholism or malnutrition.Skin redness.
In severe cases, it affects the nervous system with pain and then neurological disorders.
B8Rare, often associated with other B vitamin deficiencies.Anorexia, physical and mental fatigue, and digestive disorders.
B9Deficiency is often associated with taking medications.Digestive problems with diarrhea.
B12Deficiency after stomach surgery (obesity treatment), and a vegetarian diet.Cognitive disorders, sleep disorders, depression, sensory deficits, motor skills disorders.

vitamin C

It aids in healing, has an antioxidant role, helps absorb iron (avoid anemia), and stimulates the immune system. It is mainly found in fruits and vegetables.

For people who want to change their diet through vegetarianism or veganism, it is necessary to contact a nutritionist to avoid any kind of deficiency. For others, it is important to eat a varied and balanced diet.

Guide to vitamins and minerals

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