What is a Vital Nutrient? (with pictures)

Christine Hudson
Christine Hudson
Folate is necessary for making red blood cells.
Folate is necessary for making red blood cells.

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.

Vitamin D, which is produced naturally within the body when skin is exposed to sunlight, is considered a vital nutrient.
Vitamin D, which is produced naturally within the body when skin is exposed to sunlight, is considered a vital nutrient.

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.

Vitamin C, available in supplement form, helps promote the healing of wounds and strengthens the body's resistance to infection.
Vitamin C, available in supplement form, helps promote the healing of wounds and strengthens the body's resistance to infection.

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.

Niacin is a vital nutrient that can be found in peanuts.
Niacin is a vital nutrient that can be found in peanuts.

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.

Vitamin C helps promote the formation of collagen.
Vitamin C helps promote the formation of collagen.

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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    • Folate is necessary for making red blood cells.
      Folate is necessary for making red blood cells.
    • Vitamin D, which is produced naturally within the body when skin is exposed to sunlight, is considered a vital nutrient.
      Vitamin D, which is produced naturally within the body when skin is exposed to sunlight, is considered a vital nutrient.
    • Vitamin C, available in supplement form, helps promote the healing of wounds and strengthens the body's resistance to infection.
      Vitamin C, available in supplement form, helps promote the healing of wounds and strengthens the body's resistance to infection.
    • Niacin is a vital nutrient that can be found in peanuts.
      Niacin is a vital nutrient that can be found in peanuts.
    • Vitamin C helps promote the formation of collagen.
      Vitamin C helps promote the formation of collagen.