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Nutrition

Nutrition is the science that interprets the interaction of nutrients and other substances in food in relation to maintenance, growth, reproduction, health and disease of an organism. It includes food intake, absorption, assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism and excretion.

The diet of an organism is what it eats, which is largely determined by the availability, the processing and palatability of foods. A healthy diet includes preparation of food and storage methods that preserve nutrients from oxidation, heat or leaching, and that reduce risk of foodborne illness.

Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDs or RDNs) are health professionals qualified to provide safe, evidence-based dietary advice which includes a review of what is eaten, a thorough review of nutritional health, and a personalized nutritional treatment plan. They also provide preventive and therapeutic programs at work places, schools and similar institutions. Certified Clinical Nutritionists or CCNs, are trained health professionals who also offer dietary advice on the role of nutrition in chronic disease, including possible prevention or remediation by addressing nutritional deficiencies before resorting to drugs. Government regulation especially in terms of licensing, is currently less universal for the CCN than that of RD or RDN. Another advanced Nutrition Professional is a Certified Nutrition Specialist or CNS. These Board Certified Nutritionists typically specialize in obesity and chronic disease. In order to become board certified, potential CNS candidate must pass an examination, much like Registered Dieticians. This exam covers specific domains within the health sphere including; Clinical Intervention and Human Health.

A poor diet may cause health problems, causing deficiency diseases such as blindness, anemia, scurvy, preterm birth, stillbirth and cretinism; health-threatening conditions like obesity and metabolic syndrome; and such common chronic systemic diseases as cardiovascular disease,diabetes, and osteoporosis. A poor diet can cause the wasting of kwashiorkor in acute cases, and the stunting of marasmus in chronic cases of malnutrition.


Vitamin Year Isolated
Thiamin 1926
Vitamin C 1926
Vitamin A 1939
Vitamin D 1931
Vitamin E 1936
Niacin 1937
Biotin 1939
Vitamin K 1939
Pantothenic acid 1939
Folate 1939
Riboflavin 1933
Vitamin B6 1936
Nutrients Deficiency Excess
Macronutrients
Calories Starvation, marasmus Obesity, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease
Simple carbohydrates Low energy levels. Obesity, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease
Complex carbohydrates Micronutrient deficiency Obesity, cardiovascular disease (high glycemic index foods)
Protein Kwashiorkor Rabbit starvation, ketoacidosis (in diabetics)
Saturated fat Low testosterone levels, vitamin deficiencies. Obesity, cardiovascular disease
Trans fat None Obesity, cardiovascular disease
Unsaturated fat Fat-soluble vitamin deficiency Obesity, cardiovascular disease
Micronutrients
Vitamin A Xerophthalmia and night blindness Hypervitaminosis A (cirrhosis, hair loss)
Vitamin B1 Beri-Beri  ?
Vitamin B2 Skin and corneal lesions  ?
Niacin Pellagra Dyspepsia, cardiac arrhythmias, birth defects
Vitamin B12 Pernicious anemia  ?
Vitamin C Scurvy Diarrhea causing dehydration
Vitamin D Rickets Hypervitaminosis D (dehydration, vomiting, constipation)
Vitamin E Neurological disease Hypervitaminosis E (anticoagulant: excessive bleeding)
Vitamin K Hemorrhage Liver damage
Omega-3 fats Cardiovascular Disease Bleeding, Hemorrhages, Hemorrhagic stroke, reduced glycemic control among diabetics
Omega-6 fats None Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer
Cholesterol None Cardiovascular Disease
Macrominerals
Calcium Osteoporosis, tetany, carpopedal spasm, laryngospasm, cardiac arrhythmias Fatigue, depression, confusion, nausea, vomiting, constipation, pancreatitis, increased urination, kidney stones
Magnesium Hypertension Weakness, nausea, vomiting, impaired breathing, and hypotension
Potassium Hypokalemia, cardiac arrhythmias Hyperkalemia, palpitations
Sodium Hyponatremia Hypernatremia, hypertension
Trace minerals
Iron Anemia Cirrhosis, Hereditary hemochromatosis, heart disease
Iodine Goiter, hypothyroidism Iodine toxicity (goiter, hypothyroidism)

"Better learning performance is associated with diet-induced effects on learning and memory ability".
The "nutrition-learning nexus" demonstrates the correlation between diet and learning and has application in a higher education setting.
"We find that better-nourished children perform significantly better in school, partly because they enter school earlier and thus have more time to learn but mostly because of greater learning productivity per year of schooling."
91% of college students feel that they are in good health, whereas only 7% eat their recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables.
Nutritional education is an effective and workable model in a higher education setting.
More "engaged" learning models that encompass nutrition is an idea that is picking up steam at all levels of the learning cycle.
  • Calcium, a common electrolyte, but also needed structurally (for muscle and digestive system health, bone strength, some forms neutralize acidity, may help clear toxins, provides signaling ions for nerve and membrane functions)
  • Chlorine as chloride ions; very common electrolyte; see sodium, below
  • Magnesium, required for processing ATP and related reactions (builds bone, causes strong peristalsis, increases flexibility, increases alkalinity)
  • Phosphorus, required component of bones; essential for energy processing
  • Potassium, a very common electrolyte (heart and nerve health)
  • Sodium, a very common electrolyte; in general not found in dietary supplements, despite being needed in large quantities, because the ion is very common in food: typically as sodium chloride, or common salt. Excessive sodium consumption can deplete calcium and magnesium, leading to high blood pressure and osteoporosis.
  • Sulfur, for three essential amino acids and therefore many proteins (skin, hair, nails, liver, and pancreas). Sulfur is not consumed alone, but in the form of sulfur-containing amino acids
  • Saturated fat consumption does not cause heart disease
  • Reduced consumption of processed carbohydrate and other junk foods.
  • Regular consumption of red wine.
  • Higher consumption of artificially produced trans-fats by Americans, which has been shown to have greater lipoprotein effects per gram than saturated fat.
  • Carpenter, Kenneth J. (1994). Protein and Energy: A Study of Changing Ideas in Nutrition. Cambridge University Press. ISBN . 
  • Curley, S., and Mark (1990). The Natural Guide to Good Health, Lafayette, Louisiana, Supreme Publishing
  • Galdston, I. (1960). Human Nutrition Historic and Scientific. New York: International Universities Press. 
  • Gratzer, Walter (2006) [2005]. Terrors of the Table: The Curious History of Nutrition. Oxford University Press. ISBN . 
  • Mahan, L.K. and Escott-Stump, S. eds. (2000). Krause's Food, Nutrition, and Diet Therapy (10th ed.). Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Harcourt Brace. ISBN . 
  • Thiollet, J.-P. (2001). Vitamines & minéraux. Paris: Anagramme. 
  • Walter C. Willett; Meir J. Stampfer (January 2003). "Rebuilding the Food Pyramid". Scientific American. 288 (1): 64–71. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0103-64. PMID 12506426. 
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