Nutrients-At-A-Glance™ (Nutrient Summary)

Protein, Carbs, Fats, Water, Vitamins, Vitamin-Like Substances & Minerals

The following is a concise list of nutrients, their primary function, and suggested daily intake levels for healthy adults.  Certain health conditions may require a different intake (lesser or greater) of certain nutrients, as directed and guided by a knowledgeable nutritionally-oriented healthcare practitioner.  Do not start any supplement regimen without first checking with your doctor.

For more detailed information about each nutrient, vitamin-like substance and phytochemical, including details on what they do and intake levels, see: “Nutrients – The Basis of Life and Health,” “Vital Vitamins,” “Magnificent Minerals,” “Special Nutrients I (Vitamin-Like Substances),” and “Special Nutrients II (Phytochemicals).”


Protein – Supports tissue structure, chemical production, water balance, and pH balance
– 0.36 grams per lb body weight

Carbohydrates – Energy production; simple carbs = sugar, complex carbs = starch and fiber
– 130 grams/day

Fats – Cell membrane and nerve sheath protection, energy and hormone production
– 20-35% of calorie intake

Water – Regulates body temperature, blood flow, & provides body’s fluid environment
– 8 glasses (64 oz.) a day


Vitamin A – Eyes and vision, healthy skin, cell membranes, & immune system support
– 3,000-5,000 IU/day

Beta-carotene – Water-soluble antioxidant provitamin form of vitamin A
– 10,000 IU to 20,000 IU/day

Vitamin B1 (thiamin) – Energy production, carbohydrate metabolism, & nerve function
– 1.2 mg to 50 mg/day

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – Energy production, cell function, vision, & antioxidant activity
– 1.3 mg to 50 mg/day

Vitamin B3-1 (niacin) – Energy production, lipid metabolism, affects cellular calcium, & DNA
– 15-20 mg/day

Vitamin B3-2 (niacinamide) – Memory, joint health, balance, muscle function, & energy
– 50 mg/day

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) – Energy production, lipid synthesis and metabolism, & nerves
– 5-50 mg/day

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) – Protein, glycogen and homocysteine metabolism, & immune support
– 1.5 mg to 75 mg/day

Vitamin B12 – Nerves, red blood cells, energy, brain function, & homocysteine metabolism
– 2.4 mcg to 500 mcg/day

Folic Acid (folate) – Works with vitamin B12 in several ways, & prevents neural tube birth defects
– 400-800 mcg/day

Biotin – Energy production, cellular metabolism, DNA, healthy skin, scalp, hair and nails
– 30-300 mcg/day

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) – Vascular, immune system, healthy bones & gums, & antioxidant
– 90 mg to 2,000 mg/day

Vitamin D (D3 from fish oil) – Supports mineral uptake, bone mineralization, immune system
– 1,000 IU/day (2,000 IU/day for 7-10 days for short term immune boost – More than 1,000 IU/day can deplete magnesium and more than 2,000 IU/day can mobilize calcium out of bones)

Vitamin E (tocopherol) – Cardiovascular health, circulation, cell membranes, & antioxidant
– 23-800 IU/day

Vitamin K (K1 from plant foods) – Blood coagulation and clotting, and bone mineralization
– 120 mcg/day

Vitamin-Like Substances

Acetyl L-Carnitine – Fatty acid energy production and cellular transfer, nerve function, & memory
– 500-1,000 mg/day

Alpha-Lipoic Acid – Antioxidant, recycles other antioxidants, affects glucose and nerve function
– 30-100 mg/day

Choline – Supports brain, nerve, liver, cell membrane, and acetylcholine function
– 425-550 mg/day

Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) – Supports heart, muscles, nerves, and ATP energy production
– 60-100 mg/day  (The ubiquinol form of CoQ10 is thought to have enhanced uptake.)

Essential Fatty Acids (omega-3s) – Heart & blood health, mental function, inflammation reduction
– 1,600 mg/day

Inositol – Supports cellular and nervous system function, and communication between cells
– 40 mg/day

Para-Aminobenzoic Acid (PABA) – GI tract health, red blood cell formation, healthy skin and hair
– 50 mg/day


Calcium – Supports bones, nerve impulses, muscle contractions, blood coagulation and clotting
– 300-650* mg/day
(*for optimum cardiovascular health – See “The Role of Calcium” for more details)

Magnesium – Cardiovascular, bones, energy, cell and muscle function, & calcium balance
– 1,000* mg/day  
(*for optimum cardiovascular health – See “Unbalanced Calcium Metabolism” for more details)

Potassium – Important electrolyte, balances sodium & water, maintains cell membrane potential
– 4,700* mg/day  
(*from plant foods only – See “Optimum Sodium & Potassium Intake for Healthy Blood Pressure”)

Sodium – Important electrolyte, balances potassium & water, maintains cell membrane potential
– 1,500* mg/day  (*1,300 mg/day age 51+)
(See “Optimum Sodium & Potassium Intake for Healthy Blood Pressure”)

Chloride – An important electrolyte in salt, supports digestion, & works closely with sodium
– 1,800-2,300 mg/day

Phosphorus – Supports skeletal structure, energy phosphorylation, cell membranes, & pH buffer
– 700 mg/day

Zinc – Supports immune system, nerve & muscle function, reproduction, cell structure & function
– 11-40 mg/day

Iron – Supports red blood cell production & function, oxygen transport, and proteins & enzymes
– 8 mg/day

Iodine – Supports thyroid function, nerve & reproductive systems, energy production, and the skin
– 150 mcg/day

Selenium – An antioxidant active in cells, cell membranes, GI tract, and cardiovascular system
– 55-200 mcg/day

Copper – Supports energy production, collagen formation, bones, nerves, heart & immune system
– 1-2 mg/day

Chromium – Supports energy production, glucose levels, cardiovascular system & insulin function
– 200 mcg/day

Fluoride – A nonessential trace mineral that in small amounts supports bone and teeth hardness
– 3-4 mg/day

Manganese – As a coenzyme supports glucose metabolism, antioxidant activity, brain & collagen
– 2-10 mg/day

Molybdenum – As a coenzyme affects metabolism, cell function, homocysteine, bones & nerves
– 45 mcg/day

Silica – Supports connective tissues, skin, hair, nails, gums, eyes, blood vessels, & ligaments
– 25 mg/day

Several other mineral elements are also present in and used by the human body.  Relatively large amounts of sulfur are needed and used in the body.  However, because sulfur is released from the metabolism (breakdown and use) of protein amino acids, adequate sulfur is usually available.  Sulfur (S) is an essential element for life, and is found in the amino acids cysteine and methionine.

Cysteine, which acts as a cofactor in several body functions, is a precursor to the potent antioxidant glutathione which has the ability to re-activate other antioxidants.  Glutathione is considered the “master antioxidant.”  Methionine is an intermediate in the biosynthesis conversion of several substances, the improper conversion of which elevates homocysteine levels.  Homocysteine levels that are elevated are considered a risk factor for cardiovascular health problems, and are thought may be a factor in contributing to arterial inflammation.

Many trace elements (minerals used in very small amounts) are also present in the body, but their use, function, and need in human nutrition have not been established.

A broad plant-based diet that encompasses a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes (beans, lentils, peanuts, peas and soybeans), fish and seafood, 100% whole grains, olive oil, nuts, seeds, a select few animal-based foods like fresh eggs, a little cultured nonfat dairy (yogurt), a little soft cheese, occasional fresh meat, and contains very little (if any) refined carbs or sugar-laden foods, and no trans fats or hydrogenated oils, remains the foundation of health.  Such a diet, which basically is a natural blend of the “Mediterranean Diet” with a strong Asian seafood influence, is known as the MediterrAsian Diet.

Return to Table of Contents

Terms & Conditions |     Privacy Policy |    Disclaimer

This entry was posted in (2) Nutrient Resource Section. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.