Nutrition Module: 2. Nutrients and their Sources

Nutrients & Supplements Topics

What is Betaine? Benefits, Signs of Deficiency and Food Sources
They are essential for decomposing the carbon ring structures in some pollutants. Magnesium is widely distributed in plant and animal foods and in beverages. Early recommendations for the quantity of water required for maintenance of good health suggested that 6—8 glasses of water daily is the minimum to maintain proper hydration. Actinomycetes are a broad group of bacteria that form thread-like filaments in the soil. In order to avoid all the dangers of sugar, moderate consumption is paramount.

Phosphorus

Vitamin B12

Rhizobia, mycorrhizae, actinomycetes, diazotrophic bacteria and various other rhizosphere micro-organisms, ants. During the decomposition process, microorganisms convert the carbon structures of fresh residues into transformed carbon products in the soil. There are many different types of organic molecules in soil. Some are simple molecules that have been synthesized directly from plants or other living organisms. These relatively simple chemicals, such as sugars, amino acids, and cellulose are readily consumed by many organisms.

For this reason, they do not remain in the soil for a long time. Other chemicals such as resins and waxes also come directly from plants, but are more difficult for soil organisms to break down.

Humus is the result of successive steps in the decomposition of organic matter. Because of the complex structure of humic substances, humus cannot be used by many micro-organisms as an energy source and remains in the soil for a relatively long time. Non-humic organic molecules are released directly from cells of fresh residues, such as proteins, amino acids, sugars, and starches.

This part of soil organic matter is the active, or easily decomposed, fraction. This active fraction is influenced strongly by weather conditions, moisture status of the soil, growth stage of the vegetation, addition of organic residues, and cultural practices, such as tillage.

It is the main food supply for various organisms in the soil. Carbohydrates occur in the soil in three main forms: The simple sugars, cellulose and hemicellulose, may constitute percent of the organic matter in most soils, but are easily broken down by micro-organisms. Polysaccharides repeating units of sugar-type molecules connected in longer chains promote better soil structure through their ability to bind inorganic soil particles into stable aggregates. Research indicates that the heavier polysaccharide molecules may be more important in promoting aggregate stability and water infiltration than the lighter molecules Elliot and Lynch, Some sugars may stimulate seed germination and root elongation.

Other soil properties affected by polysaccharides include CEC, anion retention and biological activity. The soil lipids form a very diverse group of materials, of which fats, waxes and resins make up percent of soil organic matter. The significance of lipids arises from the ability of some compounds to act as growth hormones.

Others may have a depressing effect on plant growth. Small amounts exist in the form of amines, vitamins, pesticides and their degradation products, etc.

The rest is present as ammonium NH 4 - and is held by the clay minerals. Humus or humified organic matter is the remaining part of organic matter that has been used and transformed by many different soil organisms.

It is a relatively stable component formed by humic substances, including humic acids, fulvic acids, hymatomelanic acids and humins Tan, It is probably the most widely distributed organic carbon-containing material in terrestrial and aquatic environments. Humus cannot be decomposed readily because of its intimate interactions with soil mineral phases and is chemically too complex to be used by most organisms. It has many functions Box 2.

One of the most striking characteristics of humic substances is their ability to interact with metal ions, oxides, hydroxides, mineral and organic compounds, including toxic pollutants, to form water-soluble and water-insoluble complexes. Through the formation of these complexes, humic substances can dissolve, mobilize and transport metals and organics in soils and waters, or accumulate in certain soil horizons.

This influences nutrient availability, especially those nutrients present at microconcentrations only Schnitzer, Accumulation of such complexes can contribute to a reduction of toxicity, e.

Humic and fulvic substances enhance plant growth directly through physiological and nutritional effects. Some of these substances function as natural plant hormones auxines and gibberillins and are capable of improving seed germination, root initiation, uptake of plant nutrients and can serve as sources of N, P and S Tan, ; Schnitzer, Indirectly, they may affect plant growth through modifications of physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil, for example, enhanced soil water holding capacity and CEC, and improved tilth and aeration through good soil structure Stevenson, About percent of the non-living part of organic matter is humus.

It is an important buffer, reducing fluctuations in soil acidity and nutrient availability. Compared with simple organic molecules, humic substances are very complex and large, with high molecular weights.

The characteristics of the well-decomposed part of the organic matter, the humus, are very different from those of simple organic molecules. While much is known about their general chemical composition, the relative significance of the various types of humic materials to plant growth is yet to be established.

Their colour is commonly light yellow to yellow-brown. Common colours are dark brown to black. Commonly black in colour. Fulvic and humic acids are complex mixtures of large molecules. Humic acids are larger than fulvic acids. Research suggests that the different substances are differentiated from each other on the basis of their water solubility.

Fulvic acids are produced in the earlier stages of humus formation. The relative amounts of humic and fulvic acids in soils vary with soil type and management practices. The humus of forest soils is characterized by a high content of fulvic acids, while the humus of agricultural and grassland areas contains more humic acids.

BOX 1 Some functions of a healthy soil ecosystem Decompose organic matter towards humus. Retain N and other nutrients. Glue soil particles together for best structure. Protect roots from diseases and parasites. Make retained nutrients available to the plant. Produce hormones that help plants grow. Earthworms Millipedes Woodlice Snails and slugs.

Regulation of soil hydrological processes. Most bioturbating invertebrates and plant roots. Gas exchange and carbon sequestration accumulation in soil. Suppression of pests, parasites and diseases.

Symbiotic and asymbiotic relationships with plants and their roots. Plant growth control positive and negative. Water accounts for a pretty big portion of the body, making up somewhere between 55 percent to 75 percent of your body mass.

It plays an essential role in waste removal, digestion and temperature regulation and makes up a core component of every cell in your body. Dehydration can lead to symptoms like dry skin, dizziness, fatigue, a rapid heartbeat and even death if left untreated. In addition to the things that you drink, you also take in water through the foods that you eat as well. There are many different types of vitamins, each with its own specific function and role in the body, but all equally vital for maintaining optimal health.

Vitamin A, for instance, is critical for the health of your eyes and skin, while vitamin K builds strong bones and is involved in blood clotting. There may be minute differences in the amounts of specific vitamins for men versus women, but in general, the essential vitamins that your body needs are:. The best way to get in all of these vitamins is to eat a healthy and balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. A multivitamin may also be useful to help fill in the gaps if you have a restrictive diet.

Much like vitamins, minerals are also important for helping your body function properly and stay healthy, and each comes with its own specific role. Iron, for example, is key to blood production, phosphorus strengthens the bones and teeth, and magnesium is a crucial component of more than reactions in the body. Calcium is also involved in muscle contractions, nerve function and the movement of blood throughout the body.

Calcium is found naturally in dairy products, leafy greens, white beans, and certain types of fish like sardines and salmon. Sodium regulates fluid balance and blood volume while also keeping your nerves and muscles working correctly.

Of course, sodium should be included in moderation as excessive amounts can lead to high blood pressure in some people. The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium intake to less than 2, milligrams per day, which equates to about one teaspoon of salt. Sodium is found naturally in many foods , including seeds, nuts, vegetables, meats, grains and legumes. Potassium is an essential electrolyte that helps maintain fluid balance and blood pressure.

It also is necessary for muscle contractions, heart health and regulating the pH level of your blood to prevent it from becoming too acidic. While most people instantly associate potassium with bananas, potassium is actually found in a wide variety of other fruits and vegetables as well. Spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, avocados, salmon and sweet potatoes are all other excellent sources of potassium.

From optimizing brain health to preventing heart disease, omega-3 fatty acids are a vital component of many aspects of health. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that are considered an essential fatty acid. Varieties of fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, are the best source of omega-3 fatty acids.

These contain the active forms of omega-3 fatty acids that can be easily used by the body. Some plant foods, such as chia seeds , flax and walnuts, also contain omega-3 fatty acids. However, they contain a form of omega-3 fatty acid that is converted only in small amounts to the more active forms. You should include one to two servings of fish in your diet each week to help meet your omega-3 fatty acid needs.

Otherwise, consider taking a fish oil or algae supplement to get some omega-3 fatty acids into your day. Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium and can promote good bone health, making it an especially important vitamin for women to help prevent osteoporosis. Additionally, some research shows that vitamin D could strengthen the immune system and influence muscle function.

Vitamin D is produced in the skin as a result of sun exposure and can be obtained in small quantities through foods like mushrooms, eggs and fish. Those who have dark skin, are obese or get limited exposure to sunlight are at a greater risk for vitamin D deficiency. For these individuals, supplementation can be beneficial to prevent deficiency.

Without these crucial nutrients, your body would not be able to function properly. Meeting your potassium needs, for example, helps your heart pump blood throughout your body, while calcium and vitamin D keep your skeletal framework strong and sturdy. Other important benefits that come with getting enough nutrients include improving your immune system, building muscle , keeping your heart healthy and staying hydrated — as well as sustaining life and keeping your body working efficiently.

It may seem like cramming all of these essential nutrients into your diet would take a great deal of time, effort and energy. These foods are the most nutrient-dense and can supply a concentrated amount of micronutrients with each serving.

Although most people can get all the nutrients they need from food, if you have a restrictive diet or need an extra boost, you can also consider a multivitamin or supplementation to help meet your needs.

There are six essential nutrients found in the body, including carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and water — with proteins, carbs and fats classified as macronutrients. These are the main classes of nutrients, which can further be broken down into specific micronutrients that are especially important for health.

Essential nutrients cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained through other means while many nonessential nutrients can be both synthesized and absorbed from food. Cholesterol , for example, is needed to produce hormones and maintain the cell membrane, but it can be either obtained from food or produced in the body. Deficiencies of essential nutrients have been documented for centuries, although we are just recently beginning to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of these nutrients.

Later on, the link between food and health began to be established. In the 18th century, scurvy was a major cause of death among British sailors.

Scurvy can lead to bleeding gums, fatigue and bruising, and is caused by vitamin C deficiency. Sailors began routinely chugging lime juice as a method to get in a concentrated dose of vitamin C and ward off scurvy. In recent years, more and more research trials have been conducted to illustrate just how important essential nutrients are to health. Today, as the powerful effects of nutrition come to light, the emphasis continues to switch from treatment to prevention through nutrient-rich foods and a healthy lifestyle.

Getting your essential nutrients through whole food sources is always preferable, but there may be some cases in which supplementation is needed.

Too many carbohydrates, for example, can lead to spikes and crashes in blood sugar, while too much water can lead to a condition called water intoxication, which can be dangerous. Enjoy moderate amounts of all of the essential nutrients you need to achieve better health and well-being. From the sound of it, you might think leaky gut only affects the digestive system, but in reality it can affect more.

Click here to learn more about the webinar. Josh Axe is on a mission to provide you and your family with the highest quality nutrition tips and healthy recipes in the world The nine essential amino acids include: Histidine Isoleucine Leucine Lysine Methionine Phenylalanine Threonine Tryptophan Valine While animal proteins provide adequate amounts of all essential amino acids, plant-based proteins are typically lacking in one or more.

Fat Much like carbohydrates, dietary fat has earned an undeservedly bad reputation because of its association with body fat.

Water The human body can survive for long periods of time without food.

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