Nutrients

Nutrition, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, carbohydrates

Vitamins

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Vitamins are organic components in food that are needed in very small amounts for growth and for maintaining good health. The vitamins include vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin A, and vitamin K, or the fat-soluble vitamins, and folate (folic acid), vitamin B12, biotin, vitamin B6, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin C (ascorbic acid), or the water-soluble vitamins. Vitamins are required in the diet in only tiny amounts, in contrast to the energy components of the diet.

Enzymes

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Enzymes are biological catalysts, or chemicals that speed up the rate of reaction between substances without themselves being consumed in the reaction. As such, they are vital to such bodily functions as digestion, and they make possible processes that normally could not occur except at temperatures so high they would threaten the well-being of the body. A type of protein, enzymes sometimes work in tandem with non-proteins called coenzymes.

Amino Acids

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Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Twenty amino acids are needed to build the various proteins used in the growth, repair, and maintenance of body tissues. Eleven of these amino acids can be made by the body itself, while the other nine (called essential amino acids) must come from the diet. The essential amino acids are isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Another amino acid, histidine, is considered semi-essential because the body does not always require dietary sources of it.

Proteins

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Proteins are nutrients. Along with carbohydrates and fat, your body needs protein, a nutrient made up of essential and nonessential amino acids, for good health. Your body manufactures 13 nonessential amino acids, which aren't available from food. For the body to process protein properly, the foods that you eat must contain the nine essential amino acids that are available only from dietary sources.

Trace Elements

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An element, usually a metal, required in minute amounts to maintain a healthy body. They are required mainly as components of enzymes and hormones, or are involved in the activation of enzymes.

Elemental components of a material that upon analysis are found to comprise less than 0.1 per cent of the substance. The analysis of trace elements sometimes allows the characterization of otherwise rather homogenous materials such as obsidian, which in turn may lead to the identification of sources and the recognition of dispersal patterns.

Trace Elements

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