Basic Nutrition Course #5: Vitamins & Minerals

Will a supplement give you more energy?

20070301_vitaminVitamins and minerals are essential compounds needed in small amounts by the body. Contrary to popular belief, taking vitamin/mineral supplements will NOT give you energy. Only calories (from carbohydrate, protein, and fat) give you energy. Vitamins and minerals have no calories, so they can’t give you energy. Vitamins and minerals do, however, play vital roles in the metabolic processes that convert carbohydrate, protein, and fat to energy. So, if you have a deficiency of a certain vitamin or mineral, taking a supplement may help make you feel better.


Vitamins can be classified into two categories: fat-soluble vitamins (which include vitamins A, D, E, and K) and water-soluble vitamins (which include vitamin C and six B vitamins — thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6,folate, and B12).


Minerals can also be classified into two categories: major minerals (which include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, and potassium) and trace minerals (which include iron, zinc, iodine, chromium, and selenium). You can look online (From A to Zinc) for a listing of each mineral’s major functions, food sources, recommended dietary allowance (RDA), and upper limit (UL) for safe supplementation.

This article is the final part in a series of articles on the Basics of Nutrition. Click here to visit the previous article in the series on Protein.

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