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Nutrient Review (Basic Science Nutrition)

When did you first learn about nutrition: in grade school, high school, or an undergraduate program? This section is a review for you to relearn the basic science of nutrition as it applies to medicine. The learning objectives for this section are as follows:

At the end of this section, you should be able to:

  1. Identify the major classes of essential nutrients.
  2. Describe the sources, functions and requirements for all macronutrients and at least 5 vitamins and 5 minerals.
  3. Describe the physiological function of water and the minimum requirements essential for life.
  4. Identify the role of non-essential nutrients and food components such as flavonoids and phytoestrogens in health and disease.
  5. Describe the roles of the different types of dietary fiber found in foods in health and disease.
molecule Here is a simple way to remember how various nutrients function in the body described in chemical terms. Water is the medium; macronutrients are the substrates; micronutrients are the catalysts that propel the reactions to build, maintain, and repair body tissues.

clinical point Clinical Point: Many times health care providers in practice add multivitamin supplements to their hospitalized patients' IV fluids without thinking about the fact that the macronutrient substrates need to be present in sufficient quantities in order for the micronutrients to be beneficial. A patient who is not receiving food (NPO) and is getting 5% dextrose solution intravenously is on average only receiving 500 kcal of pure carbohydrate per day.


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Content questions should be directed to: Marilyn.S.Edwards, Ph.D., R.D.
or Maggie McQuiggan, M.S.
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The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Created by Beth Ardoin, M.Ed. in Academic Technology's Multimedia Scriptorium