Vitamins and Minerals

We all require minerals and vitamins to maintain our health. This means that we need to eat a well-balanced diet.
The food that you eat has a massive impact on how efficient your body is at resisting disease and illness and on how well your body functions, and the vitamins and minerals that are present in your food contribute significantly to your wellbeing.

You are what you eat

In an ideal world, eating a well-balanced diet should provide your body with all the nutrients you need. This means eating a good variety of foods from the following four key food groups:
Bread, pasta, cereals, rice and potatoes: The wholegrain varieties are much richer in B vitamins, energy, fibre and carbohydrates.
Fruit and vegetables: These supply your body with rich sources of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, alongside fibre. Even if they are canned, frozen or fresh, incorporate at least five a day into your diet.
Dairy products: Opt for low-fat versions of these important sources of vitamin A, D, calcium and protein.
Eggs, fish, chicken, lean meat and the alternatives like soya, nuts, lentils and beans: This food group provides your protein alongside a rich supply of minerals (e.g. iron and zinc) and B vitamins. As part of a healthy diet, at least once a week, you should include oily fish (e.g. herring, mackerel, salmon and sardines), as this is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA/DHA).

Should I also take vitamin supplements and mineral supplements?

If you tend to eat fresh and healthy food, which you cook from scratch, then you probably don’t require supplements. However, in reality, most of us do not tend to eat the recommended five fruit and vegetable portions daily.

The modern methods of food production also impact food quality. Growing methods, overcooking, longer storage periods alongside longer food miles lower the nutritional value of the food that we eat.
Individuals with restricted diets (e.g. the elderly, vegans, vegetarians and fussy eaters) might be deficient in some vitamins/minerals, thus making it difficult for their bodies to obtain the necessary nutrients from food alone and meaning that they could benefit from vitamin and mineral supplementation.
However, supplements are only intended to supplement an already healthy diet. Supplements cannot replace regular and balanced meals. Additionally, the effect from supplements is not instant, and it can take several weeks or months before you notice any differences in your wellbeing.

Easy guide to vitamins and minerals


Vitamin A (retinol) This promotes healthy skin, eyes and growth.
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) This vitamin helps with the release of energy from your food. It is important for your brain function and can also stimulate your appetite and thus help to relieve tiredness.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) This vitamin helps to release the energy from your food. It promotes healthy hair, skin, nails and growth.
Vitamin B3 (niacin) Vitamin B3 promotes a healthy nervous and digestive system.
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) This vitamin aids energy production, wound healing, a healthy nervous system and stress reduction.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) Vitamin B6 is vital for your immune system, for healthy skin and for hormone balance.
Vitamin B9 (folic acid) This vital vitamin maintains a healthy heart. It is important for blood-cell formation and for the development of the nerves and brain in unborn babies.
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) This vitamin is key in red blood cell formation and for the health of your nerve tissue.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) This vitamin maintains your immune system and is also Important for iron absorption, and for your skin, teeth and bones.
Vitamin D (calciferol) Vitamin D aids with your bone and tooth formation and calcium absorption.
Vitamin E (tocopherol) Vitamin E is essential for good skin and a well-functioning immune system. It is an antioxidant, thus protecting against cell damage and helping with DNA repair.
Vitamin H (biotin) This vitamin helps with healthy skin and is also important for energy production and protein production.
Vitamin K (phytomenadionne) Vitamin K helps your body to form healthy teeth and bones and is essential in blood clotting.


Calcium Calcium helps your body to maintain healthy teeth and bones.
Chromium This mineral regulates your body’s carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism.
Copper Copper is required for healthy functioning of your brain, your muscles, the development of blood cells, your immune system, for iron absorption and also for good nerve function.
Iodine Iodine helps in the regulation of energy production.
Iron Iron enables your blood to carry oxygen around your body.
Magnesium Magnesium helps with healthy liver function and heart function, as well as cell and energy production.
Manganese Manganese is essential for many of your bodily processes. It is involved in the production of your sex hormones, your blood-clotting factors and many antioxidant enzymes.
Phosphorus Phosphorus helps to make energy available in your body.
Selenium Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that protects against free radical damage and aids your immune system.
Zinc Zinc is involved in your immune system functioning, sperm health, wound healing and growth.

Speak to your IPSA Pharmacy team about supplementation.