Davis, Donald R. College of Natural Sciences, Clayton Foundation Biochemical Institute, University of Texas, Austin, Texas.
Last reviewed:March 2019
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- Nutrition in humans and other mammals
- Nutritional requirements
- Nonessential substances involved in nutrition
- Foods and nutrition
- Relationship of nutrition and disease
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The science of nourishment, including the study of the nutrients that each organism must obtain from its environment to maintain life and health and to reproduce. Nutrition is essential for survival. Organisms nourish themselves by assimilating the nutrients from their surroundings and from the foods that they consume (Fig. 1), and then using those nutrients to meet their requirements for energetic activity, metabolism, growth, and tissue repair and replacement. Although each kind of organism has distinctive nutrition needs, the underlying biochemical unity in nature gives coherence to the subject. Many nutrients, including amino acids, minerals, and vitamins, required by higher organisms may also be needed by the simplest forms of life, including single-celled bacteria and protozoa. Recognition of this fact has made possible highly important developments in biochemistry. See also: Biochemistry; Energy metabolism; Food; Metabolism
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