The parts of this book describe the vitamins, minerals, amino acids and macronutrients which are essential nutrients. A nutrient is a chemical component of food which must be present in the diet for proper functioning of the body. There are over two dozen vitamins, three dozen minerals, one dozen amino acids and a half dozen macronutrients that are essential in the diet. If any of these individual nutrients is missing in the diet, its lack will disrupt a specific set of chemical reactions within the body.
Most of these entries are complete descriptions, but some entries merely direct the reader to another entry. This cross-referencing occurs where different terms may be used for the same nutrient. The most common or widely accepted term will be the one under which a nutrient is listed. Sometimes various terms have been used incorrectly in the literature. A warning to this effect will be placed in parenthesis at the beginning of the entry.
Names lists the various names by which a nutrient is known. Some of these are common terms, while others may be chemical identifications. Those which are capitalized are brand names under which the nutrient has been sold.
Classification identifies the common group or groups with which the nutrient is usually categorized. For vitamins, these groups are usually "lipid-soluble vitamin" or "water-soluble vitamin," although a few are classified as "amino acids" or "hormone precursor" as well. Those in the vitamin B complex are also categorized as "vitamin B complex" or "sub-vitamin B complex." Also, any vitamin precursor to one of the above will be labeled as a "precursor." For minerals, these groups are usually just "mineral" or "trace mineral" for the required nutrients and "contaminant" for the undesirable
ones. The amino acids are classified as being an "essential amino acid" or a "nonessential amino acid," with a couple that are considered to be "semi-essential." Those containing sulfur are also classified as "sulfur-containing amino acids." In addition to the above classifications, any nutrient can be classified as an "antioxidant" if it has such properties.
Forms identifies the various chemical forms of a nutrient. This helps the reader find the various chemical identifications for a nutrient. Some forms are listed under separate entries that give more information about the particular form, which may not apply to all forms of the nutrient. Usually, the separate entry merely references the primary entry for the nutrient.
Deficiency describes the symptoms associated with a diet that is lacking the particular nutrient. This section should be checked to verify a suspected deficiency. If the person does not have many of the symptoms associated with a deficiency, a deficiency of the nutrient in question is unlikely. Remember that there are many causes for each symptom. The ability of a deficiency of a particular nutrient to cause a symptom does not mean that every occurrence of the symptom indicates deficiency.
Side-effects describes the symptoms associated with a diet that contains a large amount of a particular nutrient. Usually the side-effects come about only after an excessive amount of a nutrient is taken, but sometimes they can occur at normal intake levels. Although side-effects are generally considered temporary, as opposed to toxicity symptoms, some side-effects can be dangerous and result in permanent injury.
Toxicity describes the symptoms of poisoning associated with an excessive intake of a particular nutrient. These symptoms are usually extremely dangerous and can result in permanent damage. Anyone taking nutritional supplements should consult this section for symptoms to monitor. If such symptoms do occur, the nutrient intake should be lowered. Some nutrients can help detoxify other nutrients. Such detoxifiers are noted in parenthesis. Remember that a lack of toxicity symptoms does not indicate that a nutrient is harmless.
Inhibitors lists the antagonists for a particular nutrient. These are the substances or conditions that counter the effect of a nutrient, either by reducing its absorption, or neutralizing it within the body. The presence of inhibitors usually increases the need for a nutrient. Inhibitors also can be used to help detoxify a nutrient, although they are not as effective as the nutrients specifically mentioned for detoxifying.
Helpers lists the nutrient co-factors for a particular nutrient. These substances, usually other nutrients, help a nutrient function. They can aid in absorption or work synergistically with the nutrient. The presence of these helpers will usually decrease the need for a nutrient. A lack of these helpers can induce deficiency symptoms of a nutrient, even when adequate levels of the nutrient are present.
Sources indexes the food sources for a nutrient. The food sources are usually expressed as a number of grams (g), milligrams (mg), or micrograms (_g) per every 100 grams (g) of food. Each amount will have a suffix showing the sampling error as specified in the most recent documents available. This is expressed as a "_" followed by a number. A measurment of "100_0.5" indicates that the actual value may range from 99.5 to 100.5 due to slight imprecision in the sampling methods. No sources that failed to specify an error rate were used. Remember that many foods are eaten in amounts differing from 100 grams, foods eaten in large amounts may be better sources than they appear. Conversely, foods eaten in low amounts may not be as good. Be sure to calculate the total amount of the food eaten.
Restaurant versions are sometimes listed as separate foods. For some foods, the restaurant recipies are so radically different that they do not contain the same ingredients. For example, a strawberry milkshake contains milk, ice cream, vanilla and strawberries, whereas a restaurant strawberry milkshake contains soy protein, water, locust bean extract, polysorbate-60, and artificial flavor. Their nutritional values are radically different!
Applications describes the possible uses for a nutrient. These are the ailments for which a nutrient can be applied. Remember that application merely means that the nutrient can be used to counteract deficiency, or may induce a helpful effect. Applications are not cures. Nutrients can only cure the specific symptoms that are directly caused by a deficiency. Nutrients applied to other conditions may effect change, but they cannot fight the root cause. Also remember that the application possibilities are not caused by a lack of the nutrient.
Daily Dosage documents the various recommendations that are made for a particular nutrient. The recommendations come from a variety of sources, and many of them are contradictory. The amount of each nutrient that should be ingested each day is a very controversial topic.
If conversion between different units is common, the conversion ratios are listed in parenthesis. Listed next are the United States governmental recommendations. These vary as governmental recognition of nutrients changes over the years. Remember that the United States recommendations do not match the recommendations of other countries, so be sure to check the recommendations of each specific country. Also remember that the RDA recommendations have been revised many times. Be sure to check the date of any references to the RDA to determine which version is being referenced.
"Pre-1958 MDR" refers to the pre-1958 Minimum Daily Requirements, the original governmental recommendation for the minimum dosage required to prevent deficiency.
"1958 RDA" indicates the 1958 Recommended Dietary Allowances, which were the original governmental recommendations for the adequate daily dosage. They superseded the MDR.
"1974 PCS" refers to the 1974 Permissive Composition of Supplements, the governmental recommendations for the allowable dosage of nutrient supplements.
"1974 RDA" dosages are the 1974 Recommended Dietary Allowances, an intermediate change between the original governmental recommendations and the current recommendations for adequate daily dosage.
"1974 USRDA" figures are the 1974 United States Recommended Daily Allowances, the specific dosages that the government required to be used to calculate the percent of U.S.RDA. on food nutrient labels.
"1980 RDA" refers to the 1980 Recommended Dietary Allowances, the former governmental recommendations for the adequate daily dosage.
"1980 USRDA" indicates the 1980 United States Recommended Daily Allowances, the specific dosages that the government required to be used to calculate the percent of U.S.RDA. on food nutrient labels.
"1980 SADDI" dosages are those designated in the 1980 Safe and Adequate Daily Dietary Intakes in an appendix to the 1980 RDA. These were not as officially endorsed as are the primary recommendations of the RDA.
"1989 RDA" refers to the 1989 Recommended Dietary Allowances, the governmental recommendations for adequate daily dosage that were in effect at the time of this writing.
"1989 USRDA" indicates the 1989 United States Recommended Daily Allowances, the current specific dosages that the government requires to be used to calculate the percent of U.S.RDA. on food nutrient labels, as of this date.
"1989 SADDI" dosages are those listed as Safe and Adequate Daily Dietary Intakes in an appendix to the 1989 RDA. These are not as officially endorsed as are the primary recommendations of the RDA.
"Nutritional" dosages are those used for general nutrition, and the most common dosages found in over-the-counter vitamin supplements.
"Therapeutic" dosages are those most often recommended to combat specific deficiencies or used for specific applications.
"Experimental" are the highest dosages known to be used for any purpose, and the dosages suggested by those trying to maximize their possible intake. Experimental dosages are extremely dangerous and should only be attempted by knowledgeable professionals. Constant medical testing is required to monitor internal levels.
"Toxic" is the lowest level commonly expected to induce toxicity. Lower levels can cause toxicity in children or those not at optimum health. Dosages under the toxic level are not guaranteed to be safe. For those nutrients for which no toxic dosage is known up to some level, remember that this merely means the toxic level has not been discovered or recognized. It does not mean that the toxic level is above the referenced amount, nor does it mean that the nutrient is safe at all levels.
Warnings describe specific problems and special considerations with a particular nutrient. Also listed are any special conditions that might make taking a nutrient dangerous. Anyone taking nutrients should read these warnings. Remember that this list of warnings is not complete. There are many complicated dangers that are too involved to list here. Do not assume that the absence of a specific warning means that a nutrient is safe for a specific condition.
Appendix A lists the symptoms that will direct the reader to specific nutrients. These can be deficiency symptoms, toxicity symptoms, side-effects, warnings for particular nutrients, or special conditions that may influence nutrition. When any of these symptoms occur, the reader should look up the referenced nutrient for more information.
Appendix B compares various terminology systems for the vitamin B complex nutrients. This allows the reader to cross reference this book with other works that use different terminology.
Appendix C deliniates the proper dietary ratios that should be maintained among various nutrients for optimum utilization.
Appendix D catalogs all of the doseage recommendations from various sources. The combination of this information will allow the reader to survey the varying nutritional opinions at a glance.
Appendix E contains the formulas for converting one form of unit measurements to another.
The bibliography lists the sources that were used in compiling this reference. Not all the sources are equal in accuracy, however. Do not assume that all sections of a book are valid just because it is referenced here. Many books were slanted toward one viewpoint, so that the information in them must be considered biased. Although such books were excellent reference points from which to find other sources, they often failed to separate fact from political or religious beliefs.
Above all, this book is intended to be informative. It will not modify the reader's beliefs or level of expertise. This book cannot replace a proper practitioner, nor does it intend to alleviate the responsibility of any person to provide themselves with proper care.