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What is a Vital Nutrient?

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  • Written By: Christine Hudson
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2016
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A vital nutrient is an essential organic compound which the body needs in order to maintain its functions properly. Often just referred to as a vitamin, a vital nutrient is found naturally in many foods and benefits the body in a number of ways. A vital nutrient is a compound that, while essential to the function of the body, cannot be made by the body. It must be brought in either through foods, drinks, or daily supplements.

Most people are aware of the importance of some of the more popular vitamins such as vitamin C. Otherwise known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is important to the body for a number of reasons. Vitamin C has been said to promote the healing of wounds and strengthens the body’s resistance to internal and external infection. It may also be able to promote the healthy formation of collagen, the naturally-occurring protein in the skin which allows it to maintain elasticity and youthfulness.

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Aside from vitamin C, there are a number of vital nutrients the body depends on. Vitamins A, B, D and K all do their part, and most people recognize them as essential. There are other compounds that have not been given the class of vitamin, but are still very important to health. Niacin and folate are considered vital nutrients in this vein. Folate, or folic acid, is necessary for red blood cell formation and normal cellular division. Niacin, or vitamin B3, helps cells to use oxygen to release energy for metabolism.

It is generally accepted that eating a balanced diet of whole and natural foods with lots of fruits and vegetables is needed in order to acquire every vital nutrient needed for the human body to function properly. Aside from this, there are dietary supplements available in many parts of the world and even on the Internet. Many people use these supplements to add to the diet they are eating as a way of ensuring they receive proper nutrition.

Medical diagnosis of a vital nutrient deficiency is possible and typically prompts a doctor or nutritionist to prescribe a supplement of the lacking nutrient. Most nutrients are considered safe for everyone, but some may be harmful if too much is taken. It is usually suggested that a person only take a supplement as suggested. If there is any fear or danger of a supplement reacting with current medication or ailments, a visit to a medical professional may be best.

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