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Organic compounds contain both carbon and hydrogen, while inorganic compounds do not. Nutrients are useful substances the body needs to function. Protein, carbohydrates and fats are all organic because their formulas contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and in the case of proteins, nitrogen as well. These are commonly found in fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses and basically in just about everything we consume. Additionally, vitamins are also organic and required by organisms because if they can't be synthesized in quantities large enough to sustain homeostasis, they must be consumed. Deficencies of vitamins can lead to medical conditions--for example, a lack of vitamin C can lead to scurvey, a disease that weakens the capillaries. Vitamins act as coenzymes, assisting enzymes in their biological activity in the body. Minerals are inorganic nutrients required by living organisms. Examples include, calcium, potassium, iron, iodine and zinc. Minerals do not contain carbon and hydrogen and are therefore, inorganic. An example of a mineral deficiency disorder is anemia, caused by a lack of iron in the diet. Anemia causes weakness, tiredness and low hemoglobin production. Water is a very important inorganic nutrient. It is the universal solvent and cells are composed of mainly water, therefore, it must be replaced by the body constantly. Since its formula is H2O, it is considered inorganic because it lacks the element carbon.
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