Essential Nutrients

What are essential nutrients?

Essential nutrients are those nutrients that are vital for your health, but they cannot be produced in your body, so you have to get them from foods or dietary supplements in order to be healthy.

Five, Not Six Groups of Essential Nutrients

Five groups of essential nutrients include 1. water, 2. all vitamins, 3. some minerals, 4. some amino acids (from proteins) and 5. some fatty acids (from fats).

Carbohydrates, frequently listed as an essential group of nutrients, are NOT essential. Your body can synthesize all carbohydrates it needs, including glucose, from proteins and fats. Essential nutrients along with carbohydrates are often named basic or key nutrients, though. Several research groups currently recommend getting 55-65% of calories from carbohydrates. This means, even if carbohydrates are not essential, they may be a healthy nutrient choice.

A Nearly Complete List of Essential Nutrients

The number of nutrients that are considered essential is not fixed; every now and then some nutrient gets on or off of the list. We here present 39 nutrients for which we believe are currently considered essential:

 Chart 1. Essential Nutrients

Water
  1.  Water
Vitamins
  1. Vitamin A (retinol)
  2. Vitamin B1 (thiamin)
  3. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  4. Vitamin B3 (niacin)
  5. Vitamin B5 (panthotenic acid)
  6. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxin)
  7. Vitamin B7 (biotin)
  8. Vitamin B9 (folic acid, folate)
  9. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
  10. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
  11. Vitamin E (tocopherol)
  12. Vitamin K (naphthoquinones)
  13. Choline (vitamin Bp) [1,2,3]
Minerals
  1. Calcium
  2. Chloride
  3. Chromium
  4. Copper
  5. Iodine
  6. Iron
  7. Magnesium
  8. Manganese
  9. Molybdenum
  10. Phosphorus
  11. Potassium
  12. Selenium
  13. Sodium
  14. Zinc
Amino acids
  1. Isoleucine
  2. Histidine
  3. Leucine
  4. Lysine
  5. Methionine
  6. Phenylalanine
  7. Tryptophan
  8. Threonine
  9. Valine
Fatty acids
  1. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
  2. Linoleic acid

Conditionally Essential Nutrients

Conditionally essential nutrients can be produced in your body, but in certain circumstances, like a severe disease or infancy, you may need to obtain additional amounts from foods. The following nutrients are considered conditionally essential by some, but not all, researchers:

More Research Needed

It is currently not clear if the following nutrients are also essential for humans: aluminum, boron, lead, nickelsiliconsulfur, vanadium.

Non-Essential Nutrients

All other nutrients that can be synthesized by the human body in sufficient amounts are called non-essential nutrients, for example, starch, fructose, saturated fatty acids and cholesterol.

21 Responses to "Essential Nutrients"

  1. Andrew Hyder says:

    There are 91 Essential nutrients, not just 41. Many essential trace minerals are omitted by nutritionists because there are no RDA’s for them, but science shows us that without them our bodies will suffer and cease to function properly.

    • Jan Modric says:

      Andrew, currently there is a wide agreement that only 41 nutrients are essential for the human. New studies will quite likely reveal additional ones, though.

    • A. RC says:

      where can i find a list of these 91 minerals that you speak of?

    • A. RC says:

      Sorry… i meant nutrients (extending the mineral list)

    • Ella Dikeman says:

      hello Andrew, I have been taking these Essential vitamins for three months now, I have noticed a little difference in my way of thinking, but I was hoping that the vitamin would get rid of the ringing I hear constantly in my brain or my ears , not sure where the noise is coming from, sometimes it is loud and sometimes it is not, but very annoying for me, is there anything I can take for my problem,?
      I have been to a few doctors, and was told there is nothing that can be done for me,

  2. Melinda says:

    Can you tell us what Ted Slanker recommends for a supplement if you are diseased and need extra help? Need the brand name that he mIght take?

    • Jan Modric says:

      Melinda, he probably knows better what he recommends than we here on Nutrients Review. In general, I believe nutrient supplements can replace nutrients and thus treat diseases caused by nutrient deficiencies. It depends on an exact nutrient deficiency which supplement to take. Supplements are only rarely effective in treatment of diseases other than those caused by deficiencies.

  3. Jo Jo says:

    Is there a list that recommends how much of these nutrients we should be consuming?

    • Jan Modric says:

      Recommendations are mentioned in the articles about individual nutrients. I don’t recommend to be very anxious about that….

  4. Benjamin says:

    Comment on my last comment: The last link, if you can get access to the full article and or go to the references it lists, may provide valid information as to why choline may not be an essential nutrient.

    If you read my comments and benefit from them and or you give a useful response or responses to one or both of them, thank you.

  5. Benjamin says:

    I’d like to make two points about my first comment, and I’d like to communicate why I didn’t need to comment in the first place.

    Two points about my first comment:

    1. I didn’t need to put that taurine may be a conditionally essential nutrient and that vitamin d is a conditionally essential nutrient, because that information is already available on this website, (more specifically, and in an easily accessible location) below the supposed to be essential nutrients list list.

    2. I didn’t need to put links for most of the sources I did, as they are already available on this website, and are easily accessible.

    Why I didn’t need to comment in the first place: I didn’t need to comment in the first place, because of two reasons:

    1.

    “1. I didn’t need to put that taurine may be a conditionally essential nutrient and that vitamin d is a conditionally essential nutrient, because that information is already available on this website, (more specifically, and in an easily accessible location) below the supposed to be essential nutrients list list. .”

    “2. I didn’t need to put links for most of the sources I did, as they are already available on this website, and are easily accessible.”

    2. It doesn’t matter that at least one nutrient on the above, supposed to be essential nutrients list list, may not be an essential nutrient, because getting into and or having in your body, at least one maybe non-essential or maybe conditionally essential nutrient, isn’t harmful, unless you have too much of it or them, and or you are getting it or them into and or are having it or them in your body improperly (if this point is obvious to you, and me communicating that point to you that you find obvious, caused you any bad feelings, I am sorry), and or unless you have at least one relevant health condition.

    That is all. Thank you, and if I caused and unnecessary suffering, I am sorry.

  6. Benjamin says:

    Edits for my last comment: “It doesn’t matter that at least one nutrient on the above, supposed to be essential nutrients list list, may not be an essential nutrient (edit: (if you getting it or them into your body from food and or a supplement or supplements)), because getting into and or having in your body, at least one maybe non-essential or maybe conditionally essential nutrient, isn’t harmful, unless you have too much of it or them, and or you are getting it or them into and or are having it or them in your body improperly (if this point is obvious to you, and me communicating that point to you that you find obvious, caused you any bad feelings, I am sorry), and or unless you have at least one relevant health condition. Edit: Also, it is at least possible (but probably likely) that you will unintentionally be getting into and having in your body, the potentially non-essential or conditionally essential nutrients, from your diet. So, if it turns out that they are essential nutrients, it is at least possible (but probably more than just possible), that you won’t have a deficiency or deficiencies.

    Again, if ai caused any unnecessary suffering, I am sorry.

    I am done now.

    • Jan Modric says:

      Your comments are appreciated.

      Vitamin D can be actually considered conditionally essential nutrient, because in people who have enough exposure to the sun throughout the year, it can be synthesized in their skins alone in sufficient amounts. I also moved taurine to the conditionally essential ones, because there is not enough evidence that it is essential.

      Several sources, including the Institute of Medicine in the US consider choline an essential nutrient (mentioned here).

      • Benjamin says:

        Jan:

        1. I know that vitamin d is a or at least can be considered a, conditionally essential nutrient.

        2. I know that taurine is not officially and or formally (or not formally, if officially is the better word to use) recognized as an essential nutrient, and I know that you put it beneath your list, in the “conditionally essential nutrients” section.

        3. As I put in my fourth comment: “I didn’t need to put that taurine may be a conditionally essential nutrient and that vitamin d is a conditionally essential nutrient, because that information is already available on this website ((edit: at at least one location) more specifically, and in an easily accessible location) (edit: ,) below the supposed to be essential nutrients list list (edit: in the conditionally essential nutrients section) (edit: , and because I didn’t need to comment in the first place.))

        4. After doing some more research about choline, I know that it is an essential nutrient.

        5. All of my comments (including this one), could’ve and should’ve been, more concise, more logically punctuated, and or more logically worded and or more logical in grammar and or sentence structure. Also, I didn’t need to comment on your supposed to be essential nutrients list list, at all, in the first place, because as I put in my fourth comment: “It doesn’t matter that at least one nutrient on the above, supposed to be essential nutrients list list, may not be an essential nutrient, because getting into and or having in your body, at least one maybe non-essential or maybe conditionally essential nutrient, isn’t harmful, unless you have too much of it or them, and or you are getting it or them into and or are having it or them in your body (edit: ,) improperly (if this point is obvious to you, and me communicating that point to you that you find obvious, caused you any bad feelings, I am sorry), and or unless you have at least one relevant health condition.” And (from my fifth comment): “Edit: Also, it is at least possible (but probably likely) that you will unintentionally be getting into and having in your body, (edit: in at least more than a very slight amount of) the potentially non-essential (edit: and) or conditionally essential nutrients, from your diet. So, if it turns out that they are essential nutrients, it is at least possible (but probably more than just possible), that you won’t have and or develop a deficiency or deficiencies.

        Alright, thank you, and if I caused any unnecessary suffering, I am sorry.

  7. Benjamin says:

    I know that my last comment is inconveniently long, but please try your best to fully read and understand it.

    Thank you.

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