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What's the Difference Between Vitamins and Minerals?

by Emily Neill

5min read

We talk about them a lot so what actually is the difference between a vitamin and a mineral?

Vitamins are made by living organisms – they’re organic substances derived from plants and animals. Minerals on the other hand, are found in the earth  – they’re inorganic substances derived from soil and water. 

Put differently, vitamins are organic because they’re made by plants or animals, whereas minerals are inorganic because they’re absorbed by plants and eaten by animals. Hence as humans, we can consume both (and it’s super important for us to do so!). 

Similarities 

Vitamins and minerals are both important for the healthy functioning of our bodies. Both are identified as key nutrients which because our bodies cannot produce them, need to be obtained through our diets. 

Other differences 

  • Vitamins can be broken down and lose their nutritional value by heat, light, prolonged storage, cooking and other food preparation processes
  • Whereas all vitamins are needed by the body, only some minerals are essential

Why do we need vitamins and minerals?

They’re considered essential nutrients because, together, they perform hundreds of roles in the body, all of which are vital for our survival. Examples include building up bones, healing wounds, maintaining our immune systems, converting food into energy and repairing cellular damage. 

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