Breaking Down Food: Vitamins Explained

Vitamins and Minerals: What’s the Difference?

There are 13 essential vitamins (A, B, C, D, E and K, with eight vitamins in the B complex), but many more minerals. A vitamin is made by a living thing while a mineral is found in the Earth. For instance, carrots produce beta-carotene, which the human body then turns into vitamin A, but minerals, like iron or copper, can be found in the soil or in rocks. Vitamins are much more delicate than minerals, and damage like heat or aging can break them down quickly. Vitamins and minerals can create a team to help the body. For instance, calcium is key for strong bones, but it’s almost useless without vitamin D to help the body absorb it. However, they may also work against each other — too much vitamin C can affect how the body absorbs copper.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
January 15, 2015

Last Updated:
January 15, 2015