The Role of Nutrients in the Body*
• ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS:
In addition to supplying energy and raw materials for metabolism, a person's diet must also supply certain substances in a preassembled form. Nutrients a human requires but cannot make are known as "Essential Nutrients". Missing just one of these Essential Nutrients puts the body into a state of being malnourished.
• ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS:
There are 20 Amino Acids required to make proteins, some can be created by the body while others cannot be, these are known as Essential Amino Acids. Eight to nine are essential for humans (nine for infants). It is important to note that while eight Amino Acids are considered Essential Amino Acids all twenty are needed by the Human body. When the human body is deficient in one or more of the Essential Amino Acids the result is a form of malnutrition known as "Protein Deficiency."
• ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS:
Essential fatty acids are lipids that must be in the diet in a prefabricated form and that cannot be created by the body. These essential fatty acids are required to make some of the phospholipids found in membranes required by the body in relatively large amounts compared to Vitamins.
Vitamins are organic molecules that often serve as co-enzymes or parts of co-enzymes and therefore have catalytic functions. Vitamins are required in relatively small amounts compared to Amino Acids, Proteins, and Essential Fatty Acids, but are absolutely essential in a healthful diet. Deficiencies can cause severe syndromes. Vitamins are grouped into two compounds: water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins. Water-soluble Vitamins include the B complex, which consists of many compounds that generally function as coenzymes in key metabolic roles. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is another example of a water-soluble vitamin. Ascorbic Acid is required for the production of connective tissue. Excess water-soluble vitamins are generally excreted with the urine (now known as having expensive urine) and mild overdoses are generally thought to be harmless.
The fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K. Vitamin A is incorporated into visual pigments of the eye. Vitamin D aids in Calcium absorption and bone formation. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and it seems to play a key role in protecting the phospholipids in the vitamins are stored by the body so intake of fat soluble vitamins should be monitored more closely.
HERE ARE MORE VITAMIN ROLES IN THE BODY:
As with vitamins, mineral requirements vary. Humans as well as other vertebrates require relatively large quantities of Calcium and Phosphorus for the construction and maintenance of bone. Calcium is also necessary for the normal functioning of nerves and muscles, and Phosphorus is also a necessary component of ATP and nucleic acids. Iron is an important component of the cytochromes that function in cellular respiration and of hemoglobin, the oxygen-binding protein of red blood cells. Magnesium, manganese, zinc, and cobalt are cofactors built into the structure of certain enzymes. Iodine is necessary to make thyroxine, a thyroid hormone that regulates metabolic rate. Sodium, potassium, and chlorine are important in nerve function. A healthful diet must supply enough calories for energy needs, carbon chains, organic nitrogen, and ample quantities of the essential nutrients.
HERE ARE MORE MINERAL ROLES IN THE BODY:
There are many more roles of Vitamins and Minerals in the body and many more nutrients are beneficial than are listed here. This is just a small sample of the roles of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids for informational purposes only.
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*This information is for educational purposes only.
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are for informational purposes only. The FDA has not approved vitamins or supplements. Consult your health care professional before embarking on any supplementation program.
"For the rapid increase in knowledge it becomes more and more apparent that the science of nutrition is the foundation of a more rational medicine. It is to be hoped that on future occasions the work of this section will not be limited to physiological, biochemical, pathological, and medical aspects of the subject, but that it will include those that are veterinary and agricultural."