Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that the body needs in very small amounts to work properly. Most of them cannot be manufactured by the body and need to come from the food we eat.
As well as vitamins and minerals, food supplements may also contain other ingredients such as herbs, amino acids, amino sugars, enzymes and essential fatty acids.
Particular nutrients perform one or more specific functions within the body. For example, calcium and vitamin D work together to build strong bones and teeth; vitamin D also supports our immune functions and calcium is involved in the transmission of nerve impulses. Vitamin C helps keep cells healthy and facilitates the absorption of iron whilst iron is involved in the production of red blood cells, along with riboflavin (vitamin B2) vitamins B6 and B12 and folic acid.
Further information on the role of different nutrients can be found in the A-Z of supplements section.