Understanding Nutrients

Posted by Prieur du Plesiss on

Vitamins and minerals in a glass of water

Nutrients Vitamins and Minerals

Which nutrients are needed for your body to function at an optimum level. Understanding what they are and how they work is very important if you are interested in your health. Here follows a summary that will help you to understand nutrients:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Proteins
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water


You need to understand that Carbohydrate, fat, and protein are considered macronutrients.  Our bodies need them in larger quantities (grams/day) and they yield energy.  These are the bulk of what we eat and provides the basic needs for your body.


Both vitamins – “vita” = life and “amine” = containing nitrogenand – and minerals are considered micronutrients  and our bodies need them in smaller amounts, so we measure our intake in milligrams.  They do not give our bodies energy but instead they help our bodies carry out necessary physiological processes.   There are 40 of these nutrients that are essential for life.  Some of these can be synthesized by our bodies but our bodies cannot synthesize enough so our diet needs to provide us with most of these  essential nutrients.

Vitamins are dividend into 9 water-soluble  and 4 fat-soluble vitamins .

Water Soluble:

  • vitamin C
  • Thiamin B1
  • Riboflavin B2
  • Niacin B3
  • Vitamins B6 (pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B12
  • Folate (folic acid),
  • Biotin
  • Pantothenic acid

Fat Soluble:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin  K


Your body uses about two thirds of all the elements currently known to man.  For us to maintain healthy bodies we need to keep our mineral levels in balance.  We can not take a shotgun approach and just take a lot of everything and hope it works out.  Keeping these minerals in balance is a complex and vital part of life. What makes it even more complicated is that there are hundreds of isotopic variations on these minerals.  Scientists are only now beginning to discover the effects and interrelationships of minerals in our human systems in fact it is estimated that 90 percent of people suffer from mineral imbalance and deficiency.

Minerals are categorized as major or macro minerals.  They are measured in quantities of 100mg/day

  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus,
  • Potassium,
  • Sodium,
  • Chloride,
  • Magnesium
  • Sulfur

Trace or Micro Minerals

Minerals needed in only small amounts, generally less than 20 milligrams per day, are called trace minerals.

  • Iron
  • Iodine
  • Zinc
  • Chromium
  • Selenium
  • Fluoride
  • Molybdenum
  • Copper
  • Manganese

The 16 essential minerals also play vital roles in the body and are found in the bodies dissolved  fluids as ions and/or as part of compounds. Another class of minerals are the contaminant minerals.  These minerals like lead are not nutrients, they can cause harm and cause imbalance in bodily function.

We do not have conclusive research that show us  if taking extra vitamins or minerals is harmful or helpful for the body.   What we do know is that taking to much  result in nausea and it taxes our system to get rid of the excess. The water solubles and can be excreted through urine.   The fat absorbed take time to accumulate or eliminate.

Here is the challenge, become aware of your body and its needs.  Make sure you take a good quality supplement and change it on a rotation basis.  It is also recommended that you do not take them every day, give your body the chance to eliminate and get what it needs from food.


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