The Topic:
Vitamins and Minerals

This 42eXplore project also has a companion page: Selected Minerals & Vitamins. Here you find an indexed collection of information links for specific nutrients - - lots more information that would not fit onto this webpage. Don't miss it!
Easier - Vitamins and minerals are needed for growth and good health. The vitamins and minerals you need are found in the food you eat. It's important to eat a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables. Some food is enriched. This means that vitamins or minerals were added. For example, bread and milk are enriched. Some people also take vitamin pills.


Harder - Vitamins are chemical compounds and minerals are chemical elements. They are nutrients for the human body that are contained within food substances. Vitamins control the chemical reactions within the body to convert food into energy and living tissue. They help the body use the energy nutrients, maintain normal body tissue, act as a regulator, and are only needed in small amounts. Minerals are needed for several body functions including building strong bones, transmitting nerve signals, maintaining a normal heart beat, and are used to produce necessary hormones.
There are a total of thirteen needed vitamins, four that are produced in the body itself. Biotin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin K are made in the human intestine and usually in adequate amounts to meet the body's needs. Sunlight on the skin surfaces can produce sufficient amounts of vitamin K. The remaining vitamins must be supplied in the daily diet.
Each vitamin and mineral substance meets specific body needs that one of the other compounds cannot substitute or act for instead. However the lack or deficiency of one of them can sometimes interfere with another vitamin or mineral's function. If a vitamin or mineral deficiency continues, the person can incur a related disease such as beriberi, pellagra, rickets, and scurvy. Conversely, too much of some minerals and vitamins brings on a toxic condition.
The best and recommended way for a healthy person to obtain needed vitamins and minerals is to eat well-balanced meals. A daily diet of varied foods can provide needed vitamin and mineral nutrients for maintaining a healthy body. Some people also take processed or manufactured vitamins in pill, liquid, or capsule form.
Facts About Dietary Supplements from National Institutes of Health
Here you find detailed information about several vitamins and minerals.
Related Websites:
2) Nutrition: Vitamin & Mineral Supplements from Canadian Lung Association
3) Should I Be Taking A Vitamin & Mineral Supplement? at Canadian Health Network
4) Vitamin and Mineral Supplement Use in the United States from Archives of Family
Medicine, American Medical Association
5) Statement on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
6) Use of Vitamin and Mineral Supplements from Andrews University Nutrition
7) Vitamin and Mineral Supplements from American Heart Association
8) Vitamin and Mineral Supplements from MedLine, U.S. National Library of Medicine
9) Vitamin and Mineral Supplements from Nebraska Cooperative Extension
10) Vitamin and Mineral Supplements FAQ from CNN
11) Vitamin Supplementation by C. Classick-Kohn
Learn all about what vitamins are, what they do, and why you need them for a healthy body.
Related Websites:
2) All About What Vitamins and Minerals Do from KidsHealth
3) Fresh Starts from BASF Corporation
Vitamin and Mineral Guide from Oxygen
If you want to maximize good nutrition for better health, the solution is pretty simple: eat plenty of nutrient-rich foods, and go easy on foods that pack calories and fat and not much else. Nothing -- no pill, no tablet, no capsule -- can substitute for a healthy diet or compensate for a bad one.
What Are Vitamins and How Do They Work? from Howstuffworks
What are vitamins and how do they work? What is the difference between vitamin A and vitamin C, for example? If I don't get enough vitamins, what happens?
Related Websites from Howstuffworks:
2) How B Vitamins Work by J. Gordon
3) How Vitamin C Works by J. Gordon
After visiting several of the websites for vitamins and minerals, complete one or more of the following activities.
Test Your Vitamin and Mineral Knowledge. Take the online quiz from Oxygen; Quiz: Test Your Vitamin and Mineral IQ. Check your answers by clicking the OK button, how did you do? You might want to create your own quiz for vitamin and minerals.
Complete A Vitamin and/or Mineral WebQuest. Follow or adapt the procedures found at one or more of the following webQuest sites:
1) A Daily Dose (Grade 6) by K. Murgas, A. Pyszka, J. Roberts, D. Propati, and A Finke
2) A to Zinc WebQuest (Grades 9-12) by J. Ocker
3) Finding A Solution, Not Just an Answer (Grades 10-11) by M. Cuozzo
4) Phytochemicals and a Healthy Diet (Grades 9-12)
Debate the Use of Vitamin and Mineral Supplements. Are they needed? Should they be used and by whom? Consider issues for aging, fitness, and athletic training and competition. What are the benefits and the risks? Decide what the correct choice should be.
Create A Vitamin or Mineral Poster. Pick one specific vitamin or mineral to feature on your poster. Decide what are the key points that you want to convey to your audience. Create an attractive and instructional poster display. You can find information about individual nutrients on Specific Minerals & Vitamins, a companion webpage to this 42eXplore project.
More Websites for Vitamins & Minerals
Enriching Lives: Overcoming Vitamin and Mineral Malnutrition in Developing
The control of vitamin and mineral deficiencies is one of the most extraordinary development-related scientific advances of recent years. Probably no other technology available today offers as large an opportunity to improve lives and accelerate development at such low cost and in such a short time.
Human Vitamin and Mineral Requirements from Food and Agricultural Organization of
the United Nations and World Health Organization
This is an expert report on human vitamin and mineral requirements; recommended intakes based on the interpretation of the best available scientific information.
Minerals from Netfit
This site provides a brief summary of the nutritional benefits of several minerals.
Vitamins and Minerals from McKinley Health Center, University of Illinois
This chart explains what a select group of vitamins and minerals do and where you can find them!
Vitamin Collection
Vitamins are organic molecules (not necessarily amines) that are essential to metabolism in all living organisms. Here is a collection of these biochemicals photographed under the microscope.
Vitamin Update
This site provides focuses on vitamin and mineral research.
Websites For Teachers
Babies and Birth Defects: A Mystery in Texas (Grades 7-12)
This educational module was designed to teach about epidemiology, neural tube birth defects, and folic acid.
Testing Vitamin C by B. Habas
During this hands-on activity, students will test different juices for their vitamin C content. This activity demonstrates how to perform a titration.
Vitamin C (Grades K-5) from Teacher Vision or
This music lesson involves learning about nutrition and vitamin C.
Related Lesson Plan from Teacher Vision:
Vitamin A (Grades K-5) or
Vitamins Are Elementary from Fresh Starts
Students can learn about the importance of vitamins in their food and the effects on their bodies in these five lessons.
major element
trace element
water-soluble vitamin
food guide pyramid
fat soluble vitamin
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA)
balanced diet
pernicious anemia
food source
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 6/02.