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. But 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
You can 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 many.
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 written as mg.
- Micrograms – a microgram is 1 millionth of a gram and is usually written 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 written as IU. The conversion of milligrams (mg) and micrograms (μg) into IU depends on the type of vitamin.
More information on vitamins for babies and children
There are separate pages on:
Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE