Reference Terms
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Essential nutrient

An essential nutrient is a nutrient required for normal body functioning that can not be synthesized by the body.

Categories of essential nutrient include vitamins, dietary minerals, essential fatty acids and essential amino acids.

Many essential vitamins, such as Vitamin C, are also by definition phytonutrients, as they occur in plants.

Different species have very different essential nutrients.

Most essential nutrients are substances that are metabolically necessary but cannot be synthesized by the organism.

Some essential nutrients may be toxic in large doses.

Note:   The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Essential nutrient", which has been released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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July 30, 2015

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updated 12:56 pm ET