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Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are nutrients your body needs in small amounts to work properly and stay healthy.
Most people should get all the nutrients they need by having a varied and balanced diet, although some people may need to take extra supplements.
What this guide covers
This guide has information about:
- vitamin A
- B vitamins and folic acid
- vitamin C
- vitamin D
- vitamin E
- vitamin K
- other vitamins and minerals – including beta-carotene, copper, potassium and zinc
Use these links to find out what these nutrients do, how much of them you need, how to ensure you get enough, and what the risks are if you take too much.
There are 3 types of units used to measure amounts of minerals and vitamins:
- Milligrams – a milligram is 1 thousandth of a gram and is usually spelt out as mg
- Micrograms – a microgram is 1 millionth of a gram and is usually spelt out as μg or mcg. 1,000 micrograms is equal to 1 milligram.
- International Units, which are sometimes used to measure vitamins A, D and E – and usually spelt out as IU. The conversion of milligrams (mg) and micrograms (μg) into IU depends on the type of vitamin
In 2016 Public Health England published a report on dietary recommendations for both children and adults.
There are separate pages on:
- vitamins for children
- vitamins, supplements and nutrition in pregnancy
- Do I need to take vitamin supplements?