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What is a Vitamin?

Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients that allow our body to function and live. They affect things from vision and bone strength to blood clotting.

Vitamins are organic, meaning they are carbon-based compounds. Our bodies can make some vitamins, but to get proper amounts, we need to eat or take in the 13 essential vitamins.

Dietary minerals are not created by living organisms. Calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and magnesium are the 5 major minerals. The 8 trace minerals, including iron used in our blood, have specific and important roles on a smaller scale.

Video: Vitamin and Minerals Overview

Video: TED-Ed on Vitamins

3 tips to make sure you're getting enough vitamins and minerals:

1) Eat a variety of colors in your 5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables

2) Read nutrition labels to learn which foods are good sources

3) Use a food tracker like Supertracker or myfitnesspal to see if you're eating enough of the right foods

Though taking a multivitamin can help you reach micronutrient needs, they are often unnecessary, and it is harder to oversupplement with food sources alone. Ask your doctor if you should be taking a multivitamin.

Visit NIH vitamins and minerals to learn about each one!

Workplace Wellness Wednesday is an awareness bulletin to help you make healthy lifestyle choices. It is not a substitute for your healthcare provider.

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