Chapter 10- Nutrients Involved in Energy Metabolism and Blood Health
Our bodies require vitamins and minerals to produce energy
-Although vitamins and minerals do not directly provide energy, we are unable to generate energy from
macronutrients without them.
-B vitamins (or B complex vitamins) are particularly important for assisting in energy metabolism. They
include; thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin 6 , niacin, folate, vitamin12 , pantothenic acid and biotin. see table
10.1 p 353 for functions, recommended intake, toxicity and deficiency symptoms and table
10.2 p 358 for common foods containing RDA or AI.
-Primary role is to act as coenzymes. Activate enzymes and assist them in the metabolism of
carbohydrates, fats, and amino acids; the repair and replication of DNA; cell differentiation; the formation
and maintenance of the central nervous system; the formation of blood.
-Acting as coenzymes, B vitamins, assist enzymes in metabolizing nutrients (such as carbohydrates, fats
and proteins) to produce energy. They are commonly found in whole grains, enriched breads, enriched
ready to eat cereals, meats, poultry, fish, dairy products and some fruits and vegetables. Minerals such as
chromium and iodine, assist with nutrient uptake into the cells with regulating energy production and cell
-Deficiencies of B complex vitamins can cause beriberi (thimin), pellagra (niacin), large cell anemia and
neural tube defects (folate), elevated homocysteine levels (folate and vitamin B )12pernicious anemia and
nervous system damage (vitamin B ). 12
Nutrients involved in energy metabolism
Choline- vitamin-like substance that assists with homocysteine metabolism. Choline also accelerates the
synthesis and release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is involved in a variety of functions, such as
muscle function and memory storage. Also necessary for synthesis of phospholipids and other components
of cell membranes. Critical during pregnancy when it aids in production of stem cells. May play a role in
neural tube defects. Plays an important role in transport and metabolism of fats and cholesterol. AI 19
older, M=550mg/day W=425 mg/day. Found in milk, liver, eggs, peanuts and legumes. Toxicity symptoms;
fishy body odour, vomiting, excess salivation, sweating, diarrhea and low bp. Deficiency symptoms;
increase fat accumulation in liver, eventually leads to liver damage.
Iodine- Trace mineral needed to support energy regulation and for the synthesis of thyroid hormones.
Thyroid hormones are integral to the regulation of body temp, maintenance of resting metabolic rate and
healthy reproduction and growth. RDA 19 older=120ug/day. UL=1100ug/day. Few foods naturally contain
iodine, good food sources are; saltwater fish and shrimp, iodized salt, milk and other dairy products.
Toxicity blocks synthesis of thyroid hormones, thyroid works harder and may enlarge; condition known as
goiter. However, goiter is also the symptom of deficiency, lack of iodine suppresses production of thyroid
hormones, leading to hypothyroidism. Other symptoms of deficiency include; decreased body temp,
inability to tolerate cold environment, weight gain, fatigue and sluggishness. If woman experiences iodine
deficiency during pregnancy, infant is at high risk to be born with cretinism (a special form of mental
retardation, results in lower than normal IQ) and is also associated with stillbirths, spontaneous abortions
and neonatal deaths. Infant may suffer stunted growth, deafness and muteness.
Chromium- Trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream
into the cell. Also necessary for the metabolism of RNA and DNA, and supports normal growth and immune
function. Plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism as well. Chromium supplements are
marketed to reduce body fat and enhance muscle mass and have become popular with body builders and
other athletes who wish to improve body composition. AI 19-50, M=35ug/day W=25ug/day. Adults 51+, AI
decreases to M=30ug/day W=20ug/day. Food sources; mushrooms, prunes, dark chocolate, nuts, whole
grains, cereals, asparagus, brewer’s yeast, some beers and red wine. No toxicity related. Deficiency is
uncommon in North America, however it inhibits the uptake of glucose by the cells, causing rise in blood
glucose and insulin levels. Can result in elevated blood lipid levels and damage to brain and nervous
Manganese- Trace mineral that acts as a coenzyme in energy metabolism and in formation of urea.
Manganese also assists in the synthesis of the protein matrix found in bone, assists in building cartilage. And is a component of the superoxide dismutase antioxidant enzyme system, thus assists in the
conversion of free radicals to less damaging substances, protecting our bodies from oxidative damage. AI
19 older, M=2.3mg/day W=1.8mg/day. UL 19 older=11mg/day. Widespread in foods and requirements are
easily met, some include; whole grain foods (oat bran, wheat flour, ww spaghetti, and brown rice),
pineapple, pine nuts, okra, spinach, and raspberries. Toxicity can occur in occupational environments
where ppl inhale manganese dust or drink water high in manganese. Results in impairment of
neuromuscular system, causing symptoms similar to those of Parkinson’s disease such as muscle spasms
and tremors. Deficiency is rare in humans, but symptoms include; impaired growth and reproductive
function, reduced bone density and impaired skeletal growth, impaired glucose and lipid metabolism and
Sulphur- Major mineral that is a component of the B-complex vitamins thiamin and biotin. Also a part of
the amino acids methionine and cysteine. Helps stabilize the 3-dimentional shapes of proteins and help
the liver detoxify alcohol and carious drugs. Liver requires sulphur to assist in detoxification of alcohol and
carious drugs and assists us on marinating acid-base balance. We are able to synthesize ample sulphur
from the protein-containing foods we eat; therefore we do not need to consume sulphur in the diet, and
there is not DRI for sulphur. There are no known toxicity or deficiency symptoms.
What is the role of blood in maintaining health?
-Blood is the only fluid tissue in our bodies. It has 4 components: erythrocytes (red blood cells that
transport oxygen), leukocytes (white blood cells, protect us from infection and illness), platelets (cell
fragments that assist in formation of blood clots and help stop bleeding), and plasma (fluid portion of
blood, needed to maintain blood volume so blood can flow easily).
-blood is critical to maintaining life, as it transports oxygen and nutrients to our cells and removes waste
products from cells so they can be excreted. Without healthy blood, we could not survive.
Nutrients that maintain healthy blood- nutrients recognized as playing a critical role in maintaining blood
health include vitamin K, iron, zinc and copper. Summary of functions, requirements (RDA and AI),
toxicity and deficiency symptoms provided in Table 10.3 p 363.
Vitamin K- Fat-soluble vitamin that acts as a coenzyme assisting in the coagulation of blood (clotting). Also
a coenzyme in the synthesis of proteins that assist in maintaining bone de