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VITAMINS & MINERALS


Selenium is a mineral found in the soil. Selenium naturally appears in water and some foods. While people only need a very small amount, selenium plays a key role in the metabolism. Why do people take selenium? Selenium has attracted attention because of its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect cells from damage. Evidence that selenium supplements …

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Potassium is a mineral that’s crucial for life. Potassium is necessary for the heart, kidneys, and other organs to work normally. Why do people take potassium? Most people who eat a healthy diet should get enough potassium naturally. Low potassium is associated with a risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, cancer, digestive …

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What is chromium? Chromium is a mineral our bodies use in small amounts for normal body functions, such as digesting food. Chromium exists in many natural foods including brewer’s yeast, meats, potatoes (especially the skins), cheeses, molasses, spices, whole-grain breads and cereals, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Drinking hard tap water supplies chromium to the …

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Calcium is a mineral that is an essential part of bones and teeth. The heart, nerves, and blood-clotting systems also need calcium to work. Calcium is used for treatment and prevention of low calcium levels and resulting bone conditions including osteoporosis (weak bones due to low bone density), rickets (a condition in children involving softening of the bones), and osteomalacia (a softening of bones involving pain). Calcium is …

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Iron is an essential mineral. “The major reason we need it is that it helps to transport oxygen throughout the body,” says Paul Thomas, EdD, RD, a scientific consultant to the National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Iron is an important component of hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen …

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Zinc is a metal. It is called an “essential trace element” because very small amounts of zinc are necessary for human health. Zinc is used for treatment and prevention of zinc deficiency and its consequences, including stunted growth and acute diarrhea in children, and slow wound healing. It is also used for boosting the immune …

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Vitamin E is a vitamin that dissolves in fat. It is found in many foods including vegetable oils, cereals, meat, poultry, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and wheat germ oil. It is also available as a supplement. Vitamin E is used for treating vitamin E deficiency, which is rare, but can occur in people with certain genetic …

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Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, because it helps the body use calcium from the diet. Traditionally, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with rickets, a disease in which the bone tissue doesn’t properly mineralize, leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities. But increasingly, research is revealing the importance of vitamin D in protecting …

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Vitamin C is a vitamin. Some animals can make their own vitamin C, but people must get this vitamin from food and other sources. Good sources of vitamin C are fresh fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits. Vitamin C can also be made in a laboratory. Most experts recommend getting vitamin C from a diet high in …

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Pyridoxine is a vitamin. It can be found in certain foods such as cereals, beans, vegetables, liver, meat, and eggs. It can also be made in a laboratory. Pyridoxine is used for preventing and treating low levels of pyridoxine (pyridoxine deficiency) and the “tired blood” (anemia) that may result. It is also used for heart …

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