Essential nutrient

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An essential nutrient is a nutrient required for normal physiological function that cannot be synthesized by the body (e.g., niacin, choline), and thus must be obtained from a dietary source.[1]

Fatty acids[edit]

Further information: Essential fatty acid

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are fatty acids that humans and other animals must ingest because the body requires them for good health but cannot synthesize them.[2]

Amino acids[edit]

Further information: Essential amino acid

An essential amino acid or indispensable amino acid is an amino acid that cannot be synthesized de novo (from scratch) by the organism being considered, and therefore must be supplied in its diet. The nine amino acids humans cannot synthesize are phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, and histidine (i.e., F V T W M L I K H).[3][4]


  1. ^ "What is an essential nutrient?". NetBiochem Nutrition, University of Utah. 
  2. ^ Robert S. Goodhart and Maurice E. Shils (1980). Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease (6th ed.). Philadelphia: Lea and Febinger. pp. 134–138. ISBN 0-8121-0645-8. 
  3. ^ Young VR (1994). "Adult amino acid requirements: the case for a major revision in current recommendations" (PDF). J. Nutr. 124 (8 Suppl): 1517S–1523S. PMID 8064412. 
  4. ^ Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements, published by the Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board, currently available online at