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Discovering nutrition by Timothy Carr

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By Timothy Carr

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Iron is a vital component of hemoglobin, which in found in red blood cells and is responsible for carrying oxygen in the blood. When iron is in short supply, hemoglobin cannot be made and the number of red blood cells decreases. The result is iron deficiency anemia, in which too few red blood cells are unable to deliver enough oxygen to tissues. The symptoms of iron deficiency anemia are consistent with the function of iron in red blood cells and include fatigue and headache. Most of the iodine in the environment is found in the sea, so the best dietary sources are seafood and plants grown near or in the ocean.

All of the energy present in the food supply ultimately comes from the sun. Through a complex process called photosynthesis, plants are able to synthesize carbohydrates using light energy. Recall that most carbohydrates are composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in the proportion of 1:2:1 (CH2O)n. In making carbohydrates, plants are able to combine carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere with water (H2O) from the soil. The process releases oxygen (O2) into the atmosphere as a “waste” product that animals and other organisms use for normal metabolism.

1 Determination of Dietary Reference Intake. The bell curve represents the normal distribution of intake for a nutrient in a population. When ample scientific evidence exists for the intake of a nutrient within a population or large group of people, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is established (left panel). The RDA is set at 2 standard deviations above the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR). When the EAR cannot be determined because of insufficient data, Adequate Intake (AI) is used as the best estimate (right panel).

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