2024 Update: Essential Nutrients Needed for Optimal Health

Chiropractic Care in Cedar Grove

The human body requires a variety of nutrients to function properly. These nutrients are essential for growth, development, energy production, and maintenance of overall health. They can be categorized into macronutrients and micronutrients:


These are nutrients the body uses in the largest amounts for energy, and to maintain the body’s structure and systems. They include:

  • Carbohydrates: These are one of the main sources of energy for the body. They include sugars, starches, and fiber.
  • Proteins: They are essential for the growth, repair, and maintenance of body tissues. They are composed of amino acids, the building blocks of the body.
  • Fats (Lipids): These are important for energy storage, cellular structure, and absorption of our fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).
  • Water: This is vital for various bodily functions, including digestion, absorption, transportation of nutrients, and temperature regulation.


These are essential nutritional and dietary elements required by our bodies to regulate physiological functions of cells as well as organs.

  • Vitamins
    – The Fat-soluble Vitamins: Vitamins A, D, E, and K.
    – Water-soluble Vitamins: B Vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12) and Vitamin C.
  • Minerals
    – Macro minerals: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Sulfur.
    – Trace minerals: Iron, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Iodine, Selenium, Fluoride, Chromium, Molybdenum.

Each of these nutrients play crucial roles in various physiological processes, including metabolism, immune function, bone health, and overall well-being. A balance and variety is essential to ensure that the body receives an adequate supply of these nutrients.

Now that we have a foundational understanding of the nutrients that are needed for the human body, we would like to take our focus throughout this blog on the essential nutrients. Essential nutrients are ones that the body cannot manufacture itself, so it is required that we ingest them either through the foods we eat or supplements that we take.

This is very important conversation to have because these essential nutrients and minerals, if not ingested, would cause a deficiency. These deficiencies can cause havoc on the body and may be at the root of some of the most common health conditions. Things like hypertension or high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, anxiety, and thyroid disorders can all have an underlying deficiency of the raw materials that the body needs to properly function. Let’s take a moment to discuss these essential nutrients and their effect on human function.

Essential Amino Acids

Amino acids are molecules or “building blocks” that are used by all living things to make proteins. Your body needs 20 different amino acids to function properly. Nine of these amino acids are essential and eleven are non-essential. The essential amino acids are ones that must be consumed through the food you eat being that your body cannot manufacture them.

The 9 Essential Amino Acids:

  1. Histidine – Important for the growth and repair of tissues.
    Sources: Meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, grains.
  2. Isoleucine – Involved in muscle metabolism and immune function.
    Sources: Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, soy, nuts, seeds.
  3. Leucine – Plays a key role in muscle protein synthesis and energy production.
    Sources: Meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, soy, beans, nuts, seeds.
  4. Lysine – Important for protein synthesis, collagen formation, and calcium absorption.
    Sources: Meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, soy, beans, peas.
  5. Methionine – Essential for protein synthesis and serves as a precursor for other compounds.
    Sources: Meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds.
  6. Phenylalanine – Precursor for the synthesis of neurotransmitters and other molecules.
    Sources: Meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, soy, nuts, seeds.
  7. Threonine – Supports immune function and collagen synthesis.
    Sources: Meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds.
  8. Tryptophan – Precursor for serotonin and melatonin, important for mood and sleep regulation.
    Sources: Meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds.
  9. Valine – Involved in muscle metabolism and energy production.
    Sources: Meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts.

These amino acids are the building blocks for our body, and consuming them through a well-balanced diet is essential for overall health and well-being. Animal-based sources, such as meat, dairy, and eggs, typically provide all essential amino acids in adequate amounts. For individuals following a vegetarian or vegan diet, it’s important to combine different plant-based protein sources to ensure they get all essential amino acids.

These essential amino acids can also be supplemented. We love a company called BodyHealth. BodyHealth is a lifestyle brand that is committed to bringing a variety of products for daily health. One of their flagship products is called the PerfectAmino. PerfectAmino, is revolutionizing protein synthesis. It is lab-tested to be 99% bioavailability to build new protein and collagen for lean muscle and healthy skin. It provides minimal calories per serving and will not break a fast.

If you are interested in the PerfectAmino, be sure to use our discount link for BodyHealth, Save 20%.

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are specific types of polyunsaturated fats that the human body cannot produce on its own and must be obtained through the diet. There are two primary types of essential fatty acids:

  1. Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA):
    ALA is an Omega-3 Fatty Acid.
    Role: Precursor for other omega-3 fatty acids, such as Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Important for heart health, brain function, and reducing inflammation.
    Sources: Flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, canola oil, soybean oil, fatty fish (though EPA and DHA are more abundant in fish).
  2. Linoleic Acid (LA):
    LA is an omega-6 fatty acid.
    Role: Precursor for other omega-6 fatty acids, such as Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) and Arachidonic Acid. Important for skin health, immune function, and cell structure. Linoleic Acid, unlike ALA, does have an pro-inflammatory effect on the body.
    Sources: Vegetable oils (safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil), nuts, seeds, and certain grains.

Balancing the intake of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids is extremely important for overall health. Both types of essential fatty acids play crucial roles in physiological processes, but an imbalance in their ratio, typically favoring omega-6 over omega-3, has been associated with chronic inflammation and can be a root cause to many health care conditions. A ratio of 1:1 omega-3 to omega-6 is ideal for optimal function. There are biomarkers that can be tested to evaluate this ratio. The further away it goes from 1:1, the higher likelihood of chronic inflammation, dysfunction and eventually disease.

How do you prevent this from happening to you?

Choosing a dietary lifestyle that is higher in omega 3 fatty acids.

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include a variety of plant-based and marine sources. Here are some foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids:

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), include a variety of plant-based and marine sources. Here are some foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids:

  1. Fatty Fish:
    Albacore tuna
  2. Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Oil:
    Whole flaxseeds
    Ground flaxseeds
    Flaxseed oil
  3. Chia Seeds:
    Chia seeds are an excellent source of ALA.
  4. Walnuts:
    Walnuts are a good plant-based source of ALA.
  5. Hemp Seeds and Hemp Oil:
    Hemp seeds
    Hemp oil
  6. Algal Oil:
    Algal oil is derived from algae and provides a vegetarian / vegan source of DHA and EPA.

Essential Minerals

Essential minerals are inorganic elements that the body requires in varying amounts for various physiological functions. Here are some essential minerals:

  1. Calcium:
    Essential for bone and teeth formation, blood clotting, muscle function, and nerve transmission.
    Sources: Dairy products, leafy green vegetables

  2. Phosphorus:
    A component of DNA, RNA, ATP and important for bone and teeth formation.
    Sources: Meat, dairy, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

  3. Magnesium:
    Supports muscle and nerve function, energy production, and bone health.
    Sources: Nuts, seeds, leafy greens, whole grains and legumes.

  4. Sodium:
    Regulates fluid balance and hydration, nerve transmission, and muscle contraction.
    Sources: Sea salts (Celtic, Himalayan, Baja)

  5. Potassium:
    Regulates fluid balance and hydration, supports nerve transmission, and muscle contraction.
    Sources: Fruits (especially bananas and oranges), vegetables, potatoes, dairy and beans.

  6. Chloride:
    Role: Helps maintain fluid balance, component of stomach acid.
    Sources: Sea salts and some vegetables such as seaweed, rye, tomatoes and lettuce

  7. Sulfur:
    A component of amino acids, vitamins, and coenzymes; important for protein structure.
    Sources: Protein-containing foods, garlic, onions, cruciferous vegetables.

  8. Iron:

    Essential for oxygen transport (hemoglobin), energy metabolism.
    Sources: Red meat, poultry, fish, beans and lentils

  9. Zinc:

    Supports Immune function, wound healing, and DNA synthesis.
    Sources: Meat, dairy, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

  10. Copper:
    Important for iron metabolism, antioxidant function.
    Sources: Shellfish, organ meats, nuts, seeds, whole grains.

  11. Manganese:
    Involved in bone formation, blood clotting, and reducing oxidative stress.
    Sources: Nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes and leafy greens.

  12. Iodine:
    Essential for thyroid hormone production.
    Sources: Iodized salt, seafood and dairy products.

  13. Selenium:
    Role: Antioxidant, supports thyroid function.
    Sources: Seafood, meat, Brazil nuts, grains.

  14. Fluoride:
    Supports dental health, strengthens tooth enamel.
    Sources: Fluoridated water, tea, seafood.

These minerals are vital for physiological processes. A balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods can help ensure an adequate intake of essential minerals. Another great practice is to add a pinch of sea salt to a glass of water each morning. You can use Baja Sea Salt or Celtic Sea Salt.

Essential Vitamins

Vitamins are organic compounds that the body needs in small amounts for physiological function. There are two main types of Vitamins: Fat-Soluble Vitamins (which are soluble in fats and oils) and Water-Soluble Vitamins (which dissolve in water).

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

  • Vitamin A (Retinol):
    Essential for vision, immune function, skin health, and proper functioning of the heart, lungs, and kidneys.
    Sources: Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, liver, eggs and dairy products.

  • Vitamin D (Calciferol):

    Facilitates calcium absorption for bone health, supports immune function.
    Sources: Sunlight exposure, fatty fish (salmon, mackerel)

  • Vitamin E (Tocopherol):

    Powerful Antioxidant, protects cells from damage.
    Sources: Nuts, seeds, vegetable oils (such as sunflower oil), spinach, broccoli.

  • Vitamin K (Phylloquinone, Menaquinone):

    Essential for blood clotting and bone health.
    Sources: Leafy greens (kale, spinach, broccoli), Brussels sprouts, liver.

Water-Soluble Vitamins

  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid):
    Powerful Antioxidant, collagen synthesis, immune function and enhances iron absorption.
    Sources: Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons), strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes.

  • B Vitamins (B-Complex):

    B1 (Thiamine): Energy metabolism
    • Sources include whole grains, pork, beans.
    B2 (Riboflavin): Energy production, skin health
    • Sources include dairy, leafy greens.
    B3 (Niacin): Energy metabolism, DNA repair
    • Sources include meat, fish, peanuts.
    • B5 (Pantothenic Acid): Energy metabolism
    • Found in a variety of foods.
    • B6 (Pyridoxine): Amino acid metabolism, neurotransmitter synthesis
    • Sources include poultry, fish, bananas.
    • B7 (Biotin): Metabolism, skin health
    • Found in eggs, nuts, sweet potatoes.
    B9 (Folate): DNA synthesis, cell division
    • Sources include leafy greens, legumes.
    B12 (Cobalamin): Red blood cell formation, neurological function
    Found in meat, dairy, eggs.

These vitamins play crucial roles in various bodily functions, including metabolism, immune function, bone health, and overall well-being. Unfortunately, with so much of our foods being processed and getting further and further away from its natural form, much of our population is deficient in a many of the most valuable vitamins and minerals.

A few of the important vitamins and fatty acids we recommend supplementing.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is so important to health and function that many doctors consider it a hormone. Sunlight is the best source of Vitamin D. It is not uncommon that there is a deficiency in Vitamin D. This can be evaluated via blood testing (Vit. D, 25 hydroxy). The range is between 35 -100 ng/dl, with 50 – 80 ng/dl being ideal for optimal health and function. Should you be below this optimal range it would be advised to supplement this.

We offer an excellent Vitamin D oral spray from SpectraSpray. SpectraSprays uses oral sprays that are sprayed in your mouth. They have higher absorption than traditional vitamins due to the fact that the nutrients are already broken down or emulsified. This makes them ready for your body to absorb without depending on the digestive juices to break them down. Use “DRMARCO” to receive 5% off

B Complex

It is not uncommon to have deficiencies in some of the most important B Vitamins, especially if there is a defect in any of the five genes responsible for proper methylation. This was discussed in one of our past blog article “Genetic Methylation and Its Importance to Health and Well-Being.” The most common B vitamins that may be deficient are Folate, B6 and B12. If there is a defect in any of these genes there would be a deficiency in the usable forms of these vitamins:

  • 5-MTHF / Methylfolate (Folate)
  • Pyridoxal 5′-Phospate (B6)
  • Methyl-cobalamin / Hydroxy-cobalamin (B12)

We recommend supplementing with a Methylated Multivitamin or B-Complex. We love the one from 10X Health called 10X-Optimize. It has a great balance of the methylated B vitamins in addition to other great vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

Omega 3

As we mentioned earlier in this post, Omega 3 and Omega 6 are your essential fatty acids. Omega 3 has an Anti-Inflammatory effect on the body. Omega- 6 has a Pro-Inflammatory effect on the body. When in the proper balance of 1:1, then the body functions at optimum. Unfortunately the Standard American Diet (S.A.D) is rich in nutrients that are higher in Omega-6 and lower in Omega-3, shifting that ration towards omega-6 and creating a chronic inflammatory effect in the body. This can be a root cause to many of the most common diseases in the world.

We recommend supplementing with an Omega-3 Fish Oil. We love a company called Innate Choice. They have a great form of Omega-3 called OmegA+D Sufficiency. The proper dose is based on the two forms of omega 3, EPA and DHA. For optimal health and function, it is recommended to take 2000 mg of EPA and 1000 DHA. Please be sure to read your nutrition labels because this may require more pills than recommended if taken in an oral form. We like the liquid form because of the absorption rate as well as the dosage is easier to consume.

Don’t get overwhelmed when it comes to nutrition. Use this post to better understand the “essential” nutrients. Remember, “essential” means that the body cannot manufacture it and it must be consumed in a food or supplemental form. The optimal diet should include clean, natural or organic foods in addition to the vitamins, minerals and fatty acids that we recommended above. Keep this in mind, the further you get from the soil and nature, the more unhealthy the food becomes. Using the advice given in this post can transform your health and well-being. We hope you enjoyed this and please feel free to share this with others.

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