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Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals boost the immune system of the individual, and they support normal growth and development of the body. For instance, carrot contains beta carotene and other carotenoids, which are not only good for eyes but also are antioxidants. Beta carotene is a precursor of Vitamin A and is part of the Provitamin A Carotenoids. The body converts carotenoids into Vitamin A, which in turn prevents possible eye problems. Vitamins fall under two categories:


Fat soluble vitamins - which dissolve in fat and can be stored in the body. Fat soluble vitamins are A, D, E and K.

Water soluble vitamins - which need to dissolve in water before your body can absorb them. Water soluble vitamins are Vitamin C and the B complex vitamins such as Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, niacin, riboflavin and folate.

While vitamins are organic substances, minerals are inorganic and they come from the soil and water and are absorbed by plants or eaten by animals. The body needs largest amounts of some minerals such as calcium, to stay healthy. Other minerals such as chromium, copper, iodine, selenium and zinc are termed trace minerals as the body needs very small amounts of them each day.

Amino Acids

Amino acids are building blocks of protein and hence muscle tissue. Amino Acids are organic compounds consisting of an amino group and an acidic carboxyl group. They command the energy we have, the speed of recovery, weight loss and memory functions of the brain. Amino acids are critical for repairing organs, muscles, nails, skin, hair, ligaments and glands. It is amino acids that facilitate effective functioning of vitamins and minerals and maintaining metabolic activity.


The specific characteristics of each amino acid is derived from its side chain that lends it a unique role in a protein structure. The 20 amino acids are further classified as essential and non-essential amino acids.


Essential amino acids are those that cannot be made by the body and hence must be obtained from food.


  1. Arginine
  2. Isoleucine
  3. Histidine
  4. Leucine
  5. Methionine
  6. Lysine
  7. Phenylalanine
  8. Tryptophan
  9. Threonine
  10. Valine

Non-Essential Amino Acids are those that can be produced by the body from other amino acids. They can be synthesized from metabolic intermediates.


  • Alanine
  • Arginine
  • Asparagine
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Cysteine
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Glutamine
  • Glycine
  • Proline
  • Serine
  • Tyrosine

There are other Amino acids like Taurine which is an essential conditional amino acid so important for the development of brain tissue as well as being the key part of bile.

Amino Acid Deficiencies : Congenital enzyme deficiencies affecting amino acid metabolism may result in Aminoaciduria - a condition where the patient's urine has abnormal presence of amino acids. A genetic error in metabolizing phenylalanine amino acid causes Phenylketonuria (PKU).

Blood plasma screening tests and urine tests may help to determine the amino acid metabolism disorders such as:

  • Tyrosinosis (metabolic disorder arising out of abnormal plasma L-tyrosine level)
  • Histidinemia (metabolic disorder due to abnormal levels of histidine)
  • Histidinuria (histidine transport deficiency)
  • Hypervalinemia (disorder due to elevated levels of Valine, an amino acid, possibly owing to the deficiency of the enzyme valine transaminase)
  • Hyperprolinemia (elevated blood levels of proline amino acid)
  • Cystinuria (cystine in the urine)
  • Homocystinuria (disorder due to methionine metabolism or Cystathionine Beta Synthase Deficiency)
  • Phenylketonuria.


Canker sore

A canker sore or aphthous ulcer is a painful mouth sore. It can appear on the inner surface of the cheeks or palate. Typically it starts off as one painful bump that goes on to becoming an open ulcer. It can be accompanied by fever or uneasiness. Appearance of canker sores can be attributed to stress, hormonal fluctuations, food allergies, deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12, iron, and folic acid, lack of sleep and immune reactions. Dental braces can often lead to aphthous ulcers. Canker sores take about a week to heal. Maintaining good oral hygiene and getting routine dental checkups can prevent such a condition. Zinc supplements, anti-inflammatory medications and analgesics are most often prescribed. A person suffering canker sores must avoid hot and spicy food. Applying Milk of Magnesia or diluted hydrogen peroxide can aid the healing. In very severe cases, corticosteroids are prescribed.

Tags: #Vitamins and Minerals #Amino Acids #Canker sore
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: August 13, 2020