8.3 Vitamins & Minerals Functional Categories

There are two common ways to teach about vitamins and minerals in nutrition classes. The traditional way is to start with fat-soluble vitamins and go down through the vitamins alphabetically (i.e. vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K). However, this method leads students to learn about vitamins and minerals more individually instead of how they work together. For instance, it makes sense to cover calcium with vitamin D, and iron with copper and zinc. We are going to cover vitamins and minerals based on their function rather than covering them by whether they are a water-soluble vitamin or trace mineral. The hope is that you will gain a more integrative understanding of vitamins and minerals from this approach.

Here are the different functional categories that we are going to cover. Notice that some micronutrients fit into more than one functional category. Each vitamin and mineral will be covered only in one section, with some mention of its overlap in other section(s) in certain cases.

Antioxidants Macronutrient Metabolism 1-Carbon Metabolism Blood Bones & Teeth Electrolytes
Vitamin E Thiamin Folate Vitamin K Vitamin D Sodium
Vitamin C Riboflavin Vitamin B12 Iron Calcium Potassium
Selenium Niacin Vitamin B6 Vitamin B6 Vitamin K Chloride
Iron Pantothenic Acid Folate Phosphorus Phosphorus
Copper Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Magnesium Magnesium
Zinc Biotin Copper Fluoride
Manganese Vitamin B12 Calcium Vitamin A
Riboflavin Vitamin C Iron
Iodine Copper
Manganese Zinc

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