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Coenzyme A participates in the acetylation of amines. Persons needing medical care should obtain it from a physician. Vitamin A retinol and beta-carotene. Vitamin K is essential for the blood clotting mechanism that protects the body from bleeding to death from cuts, wounds, and internal bleeding. There followed another teaching fellowship in Chemistry at Catholic University, where he pursued studies for a doctorate in Physiology. Scar Tissue Text and photomicrographs. Fiber intake from fruits and vegetables like potatoes are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.
Nutrients in our Formulas
IP3 activates calcium channels on cellular organelles, releasing calcium into the cytoplasm. This calcium may stimulate the production of more IP3 and cause release of ATP through channels in the membrane made of pannexins. The net effect is a calcium wave that propagates from cell to cell. Extracellular release of ATP , and consequent activation of purinergic receptors on other astrocytes, may also mediate calcium waves in some cases.
In general, there are two types of astrocytes, protoplasmic and fibrous, similar in function but distinct in morphology and distribution.
Protoplasmic astrocytes have short, thick, highly branched processes and are typically found in gray matter. Fibrous astrocytes have long, thin, less branched processes and are more commonly found in white matter. It has recently been shown that astrocyte activity is linked to blood flow in the brain, and that this is what is actually being measured in fMRI.
Oligodendrocytes are cells that coat axons in the central nervous system CNS with their cell membrane, forming a specialized membrane differentiation called myelin , producing the myelin sheath.
The myelin sheath provides insulation to the axon that allows electrical signals to propagate more efficiently. Ependymal cells , also named ependymocytes , line the spinal cord and the ventricular system of the brain. They are also thought to act as neural stem cells. Radial glia cells arise from neuroepithelial cells after the onset of neurogenesis. Their differentiation abilities are more restricted than those of neuroepithelial cells.
In the developing nervous system, radial glia function both as neuronal progenitors and as a scaffold upon which newborn neurons migrate. In the mature brain, the cerebellum and retina retain characteristic radial glial cells. In the cerebellum, these are Bergmann glia , which regulate synaptic plasticity. In the retina, the radial Müller cell is the glial cell that spans the thickness of the retina and, in addition to astroglial cells,  participates in a bidirectional communication with neurons.
Similar in function to oligodendrocytes, Schwann cells provide myelination to axons in the peripheral nervous system PNS. They also have phagocytotic activity and clear cellular debris that allows for regrowth of PNS neurons. Satellite glial cells are small cells that surround neurons in sensory, sympathetic, and parasympathetic ganglia.
Like astrocytes, they are interconnected by gap junctions and respond to ATP by elevating intracellular concentration of calcium ions. They are highly sensitive to injury and inflammation, and appear to contribute to pathological states, such as chronic pain.
Are found in the intrinsic ganglia of the digestive system. They are thought to have many roles in the enteric system, some related to homeostasis and muscular digestive processes. Microglia are specialized macrophages capable of phagocytosis that protect neurons of the central nervous system. These cells are found in all regions of the brain and spinal cord. Microglial cells are small relative to macroglial cells, with changing shapes and oblong nuclei.
They are mobile within the brain and multiply when the brain is damaged. In the healthy central nervous system, microglia processes constantly sample all aspects of their environment neurons, macroglia and blood vessels. In a healthy brain, microglia direct the immune response to brain damage and play an important role in the inflammation that accompanies the damage.
Many diseases and disorders are associated with deficient microglia, such as Alzheimer's disease , Parkinson's disease , and ALS. Pituicytes from the posterior pituitary are glia cells with characteristics in common to astrocytes. In general, neuroglial cells are smaller than neurons.
The glia to neuron-ratio in the cerebral cortex is 3. The ratio in the cerebral cortex gray matter is 1. Most glia are derived from ectodermal tissue of the developing embryo , in particular the neural tube and crest. The exception is microglia , which are derived from hemopoietic stem cells.
In the adult, microglia are largely a self-renewing population and are distinct from macrophages and monocytes, which infiltrate the injured and diseased CNS. In the central nervous system, glia develop from the ventricular zone of the neural tube. These glia include the oligodendrocytes, ependymal cells, and astrocytes. In the peripheral nervous system, glia derive from the neural crest.
These PNS glia include Schwann cells in nerves and satellite glial cells in ganglia. Nerve damage may be the result of degenerative diseases, chronic impairment or a traumatic injury.
If the nerve is not completely severed, it has the ability to regenerate. Nerves do not receive nutrients in the same fashion as muscles and many other tissues, and it takes longer for regeneration to occur.
If conditions underlying nerve damage, such as a herniated disc pinching nerve roots, for example, are treated, nerves have the opportunity to heal over time.
Many herbs are used independently or in combination with other herbs to assist nerve regeneration. Grape seed extract has benefited patients suffering from diabetic retinopathy, though more research needs to be done to confirm these results, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Evening primrose oil is another herbal supplement that helps with nerve damage related to diabetes. John's wort, lavender and tumeric reduce nerve irritation and aid regeneration of nerves damaged through traumatic injuries, according to Medline Plus.
Taking acetyl-L-carnitine reduces pain and assists with nerve regrowth, according to a study by A. Many herbs are used in Chinese medicine in conjunction with acupuncture to assist with nerve regeneration.
Acupuncture uses tiny needles to stimulate qi, or energy, flow in the body's "meridians," the energy centers that are thought to be blocked when the body experiences illness or the inability to heal. Aside from water, protein constitutes the major part of muscles, bones, internal organs, and the skin , nails , and hair. Protein is also an important part of cell membranes and blood e. Enzymes , which catalyze chemical reactions in the body, are also protein, as are antibodies , collagen in connective tissue, and many hormones, such as insulin.
Tissue proteins are in a dynamic equilibrium with proteins in the blood, with input from proteins in the diet and losses through urine , feces , and skin. In a healthy adult, adjustments are made so that the amount of protein lost is in balance with the amount of protein ingested. However, during periods of rapid growth, pregnancy and lactation , or recuperation after illness or depletion, the body is in positive nitrogen balance, as more protein is being retained than excreted.
The opposite is true during illness or wasting, when there is negative nitrogen balance as more tissue is being broken down than synthesized. Each gene makes one or more proteins, each with a unique sequence of amino acids and precise three-dimensional configuration.
Amino acids are also required for the synthesis of other important nonprotein compounds, such as peptide hormones, some neurotransmitters , and creatine. Food contains approximately 20 common amino acids, 9 of which are considered essential, or indispensable, for humans; i. The essential amino acids for humans are histidine , isoleucine , leucine , lysine , methionine , phenylalanine , threonine , tryptophan , and valine.
Conditionally indispensable amino acids include arginine , cysteine , and tyrosine , which may need to be provided under special circumstances, such as in premature infants or in people with liver disease, because of impaired conversion from precursors.
The relative proportions of different amino acids vary from food to food see table. Foods of animal origin— meat , fish , eggs , and dairy products —are sources of good quality, or complete, protein; i.
Gelatin , which lacks the amino acid tryptophan , is an exception. Individual foods of plant origin, with the exception of soybeans , are lower quality, or incomplete, protein sources. Lysine , methionine , and tryptophan are the primary limiting amino acids; i. However, a varied vegetarian diet can readily fulfill human protein requirements if the protein-containing foods are balanced such that their essential amino acids complement each other.
For example, legumes such as beans are high in lysine and low in methionine, while grains have complementary strengths and weaknesses. Thus, if beans and rice are eaten over the course of a day, their joint amino acid patterns will supplement each other and provide a higher quality protein than would either food alone.
Traditional food patterns in native cultures have made good use of protein complementarity. However, careful balancing of plant proteins is necessary only for those whose protein intake is marginal or inadequate.
In affluent populations, where protein intake is greatly in excess of needs, obtaining sufficient good quality protein is usually only a concern for young children who are not provided with animal proteins. The World Health Organization recommends a daily intake of 0. Thus, a kg pound man would need This recommendation, based on nitrogen balance studies, assumes an adequate energy intake. Infants, children, and pregnant and lactating women have additional protein needs to support synthesis of new tissue or milk production.
Protein requirements of endurance athletes and bodybuilders may be slightly higher than those of sedentary individuals, but this has no practical significance because athletes typically consume much more protein than they need. During conditions of fasting , starvation , or insufficient dietary intake of protein, lean tissue is broken down to supply amino acids for vital body functions.
Persistent protein inadequacy results in suboptimal metabolic function with increased risk of infection and disease. Vitamins are organic compounds found in very small amounts in food and required for normal functioning—indeed, for survival. Humans are able to synthesize certain vitamins to some extent. For example, vitamin D is produced when the skin is exposed to sunlight ; niacin can be synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan; and vitamin K and biotin are synthesized by bacteria living in the gut.
However, in general, humans depend on their diet to supply vitamins. When a vitamin is in short supply or is not able to be utilized properly, a specific deficiency syndrome results. When the deficient vitamin is resupplied before irreversible damage occurs, the signs and symptoms are reversed. The amounts of vitamins in foods and the amounts required on a daily basis are measured in milligrams and micrograms. Unlike the macronutrients, vitamins do not serve as an energy source for the body or provide raw materials for tissue building.
Rather, they assist in energy-yielding reactions and facilitate metabolic and physiologic processes throughout the body. Vitamin A , for example, is required for embryonic development, growth, reproduction, proper immune function, and the integrity of epithelial cells, in addition to its role in vision.
The B vitamins function as coenzymes that assist in energy metabolism; folic acid folate , one of the B vitamins, helps protect against birth defects in the early stages of pregnancy.
Vitamin C plays a role in building connective tissue as well as being an antioxidant that helps protect against damage by reactive molecules free radicals. Now considered to be a hormone , vitamin D is involved in calcium and phosphorus homeostasis and bone metabolism. Vitamin E , another antioxidant, protects against free radical damage in lipid systems, and vitamin K plays a key role in blood clotting.
Although vitamins are often discussed individually, many of their functions are interrelated, and a deficiency of one can influence the function of another. Vitamin nomenclature is somewhat complex, with chemical names gradually replacing the original letter designations created in the era of vitamin discovery during the first half of the 20th century.
Nomenclature is further complicated by the recognition that vitamins are parts of families with, in some cases, multiple active forms. Some vitamins are found in foods in precursor forms that must be activated in the body before they can properly fulfill their function. The 13 vitamins known to be required by human beings are categorized into two groups according to their solubility.
The four fat-soluble vitamins soluble in nonpolar solvents are vitamins A, D, E, and K. Although now known to behave as a hormone, the activated form of vitamin D, vitamin D hormone calcitriol , is still grouped with the vitamins as well.
The nine water-soluble vitamins soluble in polar solvents are vitamin C and the eight B-complex vitamins: Choline is a vitamin-like dietary component that is clearly required for normal metabolism but that can be synthesized by the body.
Although choline may be necessary in the diet of premature infants and possibly of those with certain medical conditions, it has not been established as essential in the human diet throughout life. Different vitamins are more or less susceptible to destruction by environmental conditions and chemical agents.
For example, thiamin is especially vulnerable to prolonged heating, riboflavin to ultraviolet or fluorescent light, and vitamin C to oxidation as when a piece of fruit is cut open and the vitamin is exposed to air.
In general, water-soluble vitamins are more easily destroyed during cooking than are fat-soluble vitamins. The solubility of a vitamin influences the way it is absorbed, transported, stored, and excreted by the body as well as where it is found in foods.
With the exception of vitamin B 12 , which is supplied by only foods of animal origin, the water-soluble vitamins are synthesized by plants and found in both plant and animal foods.
Strict vegetarians vegans , who eat no foods of animal origin, are therefore at risk of vitamin B 12 deficiency.
Fat-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, are found in association with fats and oils in foods and in the body and typically require protein carriers for transport through the water-filled compartments of the body. Water-soluble vitamins are not appreciably stored in the body except for vitamin B 12 and thus must be consumed regularly in the diet. If taken in excess they are readily excreted in the urine, although there is potential toxicity even with water-soluble vitamins; especially noteworthy in this regard is vitamin B 6.
However, the fact that these vitamins can be stored increases the possibility of toxicity if very large doses are taken. This is particularly of concern with vitamins A and D, which can be toxic if taken in excess.
Niacin , for example, is used to lower blood cholesterol levels; vitamin D is used to treat psoriasis ; and pharmacological derivatives of vitamin A are used to treat acne and other skin conditions as well as to diminish skin wrinkling.
However, consumption of vitamins or other dietary supplements in amounts significantly in excess of recommended levels is not advised without medical supervision. Vitamins synthesized in the laboratory are the same molecules as those extracted from food, and they cannot be distinguished by the body. However, various forms of a vitamin are not necessarily equivalent. Vitamins in food have a distinct advantage over vitamins in supplement form because they come associated with other substances that may be beneficial , and there is also less potential for toxicity.
Nutritional supplements cannot substitute for a healthful diet. Unlike the complex organic compounds carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, vitamins discussed in previous sections, minerals are simple inorganic elements—often in the form of salts in the body—that are not themselves metabolized, nor are they a source of energy.
Minerals constitute about 4 to 6 percent of body weight—about one-half as calcium and one-quarter as phosphorus phosphates , the remainder being made up of the other essential minerals that must be derived from the diet.
Minerals not only impart hardness to bones and teeth but also function broadly in metabolism—e. As nutrients, minerals are traditionally divided into two groups according to the amounts present in and needed by the body. The major minerals macrominerals —those required in amounts of milligrams or more per day—are calcium, phosphorus phosphates , magnesium , sulfur, sodium , chloride , and potassium.
The trace elements microminerals or trace minerals , required in much smaller amounts of about 15 milligrams per day or less, include iron , zinc , copper , manganese , iodine iodide , selenium , fluoride, molybdenum , chromium , and cobalt as part of the vitamin B 12 molecule. Fluoride is considered a beneficial nutrient because of its role in protecting against dental caries , although an essential function in the strict sense has not been established in human nutrition.
The term ultratrace elements is sometimes used to describe minerals that are found in the diet in extremely small quantities micrograms each day and are present in human tissue as well; these include arsenic , boron , nickel , silicon , and vanadium. Despite demonstrated roles in experimental animals, the exact function of these and other ultratrace elements e. Minerals have diverse functions, including muscle contraction, nerve transmission, blood clotting, immunity, the maintenance of blood pressure, and growth and development.
The major minerals, with the exception of sulfur, typically occur in the body in ionic charged form: Mineral salts dissolved in body fluids help regulate fluid balance , osmotic pressure, and acid-base balance. Other mineral elements that are constituents of organic compounds include iron , which is part of hemoglobin the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells , and iodine , a component of thyroid hormones, which help regulate body metabolism.
Additionally, phosphate groups are found in many organic molecules, such as phospholipids in cell membranes, genetic material DNA and RNA , and the high-energy molecule adenosine triphosphate ATP. The levels of different minerals in foods are influenced by growing conditions e. Minerals are not destroyed during food preparation; in fact, a food can be burned completely and the minerals ash will remain unchanged.
However, minerals can be lost by leaching into cooking water that is subsequently discarded. Many factors influence mineral absorption and thus availability to the body. In general, minerals are better absorbed from animal foods than from plant foods. The latter contain fibre and other substances that interfere with absorption.
Phytic acid , found principally in cereal grains and legumes , can form complexes with some minerals and make them insoluble and thereby indigestible. Only a small percentage of the calcium in spinach is absorbed because spinach also contains large amounts of oxalic acid , which binds calcium.
Some minerals, particularly those of a similar size and charge, compete with each other for absorption. For example, iron supplementation may reduce zinc absorption, while excessive intakes of zinc can interfere with copper absorption.
On the other hand, the absorption of iron from plants nonheme iron is enhanced when vitamin C is simultaneously present in the diet, and calcium absorption is improved by adequate amounts of vitamin D.
Another key factor that influences mineral absorption is the physiological need for the mineral at the time. Unlike many vitamins, which have a broader safety range, minerals can be toxic if taken in doses not far above recommended levels.
This is particularly true for the trace elements, such as iron and copper. Accidental ingestion of iron supplements has been a major cause of fatal poisoning in young children. Although often overlooked as a nutrient, water H 2 O is actually the most critical nutrient of all. Humans can survive weeks without food but only a matter of days without water.
Water provides the medium in which nutrients and waste products are transported throughout the body and the myriad biochemical reactions of metabolism occur.