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Vitamins are organic compounds which are needed in small quantities to sustain life. We get vitamins from food, because the human body either does not produce enough of them, or none at all.
An organic compound contains carbon. When an organism (living thing) cannot produce enough of an organic chemical compound that it needs in tiny amounts, and has to get it from food, it is called a vitamin.
Sometimes the compound is a vitamin for a human but not for some other animals. For example, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a vitamin for humans but not for dogs, because dogs can produce (synthesize) enough for their own needs, while humans cannot.
Minerals are important for your body to stay healthy. Your body uses minerals for many different jobs, including building bones, making hormones and regulating your heartbeat.
There are two kinds of minerals: macrominerals and trace minerals. Macrominerals are minerals your body needs in larger amounts. They include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride and sulfur. Your body needs just small amounts of trace minerals. These include iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride and selenium.
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients your body needs in small amounts to work properly.
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