Essential Nutrients, Part 1: Components
To tell the complete story of nutrition, we must acknowledge all essential nutrients required by our body for health. Nutrients cannot work in isolation. All essential nutrients work as a team to build and support health, and to repair damage. Absence of any one of these essential nutrients is enough to destroy our physical health.
If we attempt to keep ourselves healthy by making sure that our fat intake is optimal without also making sure that optimum amounts of other essential nutrients are present in our diets, our attempts to attain, maintain, or regain health will inevitably fail.
Physical Components of Health
Physical components of health – the essential ‘factors of physical health’ – number about 50:
- 2 essential fatty acids (EFAs)
- 8 essential amino acids (10 for children, 11 for premature infants)
- 13 vitamins
- 20 or 21 minerals (we’re not sure yet about tin)
- a source of energy (carbohydrates are the cleanest source)
Out of these 50 factors, healthy bodies are built. A nutritional program designed to construct, defend, and rebuild health must contain peak (optimum) amounts of all essential nutrients. I have yet to meet a person whose health failed to improve from applying this approach.
In a healthy body, there is no room for disease. Disease results from an absence of health. In molecular terms, we need the presence of optimum amounts of the factors of physical health, and also absence of interfering (toxic) molecules in order to be healthy.
Not all essential factors need to be supplemented. Arsenic, for instance, is an essential mineral, but deficiency is unknown, and toxicity from excess can be fatal. Deficiencies of nickel and tin are unknown. Fluorine is not supplemented except through municipal water supplies and toothpaste. An excess of fluorine can be very toxic.
In addition to 50 essential factors, there are accessory nutrients which, although not essential because the body can make them from other substances, may benefit health that is ailing due to infection, injury, obesity, suboptimal nutrition, degenerative disease, allergies, age, or a genetic constitution that interferes with biochemical conversions. We will list some of the accessory nutrients here but will not deal with them otherwise. They include orotic acid, pangamic acid, coenzyme Q10, inosine, choline, inositol, lipoic acid, para amino benzoic acid (PABA), N-acetyl glucosamine (NAG), N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), carnitine, non-essential amino acids, hormones and neurotransmitters derived from amino acids, EFA derivatives, and bioflavonoids.
Digestive and Intestinal Help
Other factors necessary for health include fiber, friendly bacteria (acidophilus, bifidobacteria, streptofaecium, and others), hydrochloric acid, digestive enzymes, and adequate bile.