Our food provides both the energy we need and the building blocks for making our own structural and functional molecules. Vitamins are organic substances needed in our food in very small quantities for the maintenance of normal metabolism. Minerals are inorganic substances some of which are essential in the diet. About four percent of the total body weight is minerals, usually concentrated in the bones. However, many minerals are required by all of the cells, usually in small quantities. Certain vitamins and minerals are more essential than others. Long-term vitamin deficiencies can lead to serious illness. (Ronzio, 1997).
Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol, functions as an antioxidant in the cells and tissues of the body. It protects polyunsaturated fats and other oxygen-sensitive compounds such as vitamin A from being destroyed by damaging oxidation reactions. This is the property it's best known for. Vitamin E's antioxidant properties are also important to cell membranes. For example, tocopherol protects lung cells that are in constant contact with oxygen and white blood cells that help the body fight disease. (Knowledgecenter, 1998) This vitamin plays important roles in the immune system, the nervous system and the endocrine (hormonal) system. Also it's known to play a role in the detoxification of poisons. Vitamin E is found in green vegetables, nuts, seed oils, and wheat germ. With this vitamin it is hard to detect a deficiency. A brownish pigmentation of the skin may occur if there is a low level of vitamin E in the blood. These spots are also known as age spots or lipofuscin. There really isn't anything bad that can happen to adults but if newborn babies have a deficiency it can cause hemolytic anemia. This is a condition where the red blood cells are so fragile that they can rupture. (The vitamin and Mineral Guide).
Vitamin D is necessary to help the body absorb the minerals calcium and phosphorus, which are needed for the proper growth and development of bones and teeth.