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Skidmore College
Health Services

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are essential compounds needed in small quantities for the body to function normally. Some vitamins are classified as fat soluble (vitamins A, D, E, and K) because our bodies are able to store them in our fat cells.  The remaining vitamins are water soluble and can not accumulate in our bodies. When we take in excess amounts of these vitamins (vitamin C, for example) the unused portion is excreted.

Taking mega doses of vitamins can hurt your body, but you can supplement your diet with vitamin or mineral pills in low doses, especially when you consult with a dietician or other health care provider.

Chief Functions of Fat  Soluable Vitamins

  • Vitamin A -An antioxidant needed for vision, increased white blood cell production, bone and tooth growth, regulating cell growth and division, reproduction, and immunity
  • Vitamin D - Mineralization of bones (promotes calcium and phosphorus absorption)
  • Vitamin E - An antioxidant needed for the stabilization of cell membranes and regulation of oxidation reactions
  • Vitamin K - Synthesis of blood clotting proteins and proteins important in bone mineralization.

Chief Functions of Water Soluble Vitamins

  • Vitamin B12 - Part of a coenzyme used in new cell synthesis, helps maintain nerve cells.
  • Vitamin C - An antioxidant needed for collagen synthesis (strengthens blood vessel walls, forms scar tissue, and matrix for bone growth), amino acid metabolism, strengthens resistance to infections, and aids iron absorption.
  • Folate - Part of a coenzyme needed for new cell synthesis

Chief Functions of Minerals

  • Calcium - Builds strong bones and plays a vital role in heart and brain functioning
  • Iron - Aids in transport of oxygen, a component of myoglobin, and aids in energy formation.
  • Magnesium - A component of bones and teeth, nerve activity, energy and protein formation
  • Potassium - Needed to maintain fluid balance and acid base balance in the body cells, needed for muscle and nerve activity. Works in tandem with sodium
  • Sodium - Needed to maintain fluid balance and acid base balance in the body cells critical to nerve impulse transmission. Works with potassium
  • Zinc - Protein preproduction, a component of insulin

If you would like to learn more about what vitamins and minerals you may be lacking in your diet you should consult with Health Services. Call 580-5550 or stop by Health Services on the first floor of Jonsson Tower to make an appointment.