Maybe there’s confusion because the orange-coding could mean 2 things, conditionally-essential &/or disputed science. If i color-coded for every individual nutrient’s case then it’d become even more confusing, so I stuck with that. I’ll take your (main) points 1 by 1.
You say that it’s “difficult to reconcile […] human demands [for vitamin C] would be ‘conditionally’ essential.“
The orange color-coding indicates that the nutrient in question is either conditionally-essential OR the science behind requirements are debatable (aka disputed). In the case of vitC I’m indicating the science is disputed, specifically how much of it we should eat. This seems to hint in large part on our total carb intake. It’s biological activity is needed, how much is the question. Vitamin C is a good example of a nutrient being considered in an unfortunate ‘textbook’ fashion, to use your language. Official recommendations ignore the following observations/experimental results:
(a) Stefansson’s Bellevue experiment
(b) scurvy (vitC deficiency) can be reversed with meat that contains very little vitC (depending on the source)
© we are mammals that can’t synthesize vitC and neither can guinea pigs, yet when you make the little furries deficient in vitC, we can reverse their scurvy without vitC but just using glutathione.
You mention how “E, C and Glutathione would all be essential for an optimal antioxidant status”
You’re talking about optimal, which is fine, but it isn’t the base upon which nutrient recommendations are made. It’s a big problem how different nutrients have levels set by different standards (e.g. preventing deficiency vs preventing specific disease vs population level average intake vs population level average serum concentrations).
Furthermore, in what context is 30mg of dietary vit C essential? In a higher-carb diet. In this context, the evidence supports the need to include more than is typically found in most meats. Does the evidence suggest the same level in a lchf/keto circumstance? So far no, the evidence suggests vitamin C requirements will drop the fewer carbs are eaten. Remember, we’re dropping from 30mg, not all that high in the first place. Official recommendations don’t take this possibility into account so i’m trying to.
You say “I was very surprised to see [vitD] as conditional as well“
The biological activity of vitD is essential, what isn’t necessarily essential is the need to obtain a given amount of it from food. Another point of confusing language the field of nutrition has yet to clear up. When i color-coded vitD as orange, it’s to highlight the disputed science on (a) target vitD levels and (b) the need to obtain vitD from food vs the sun. It’s worth noting recommendations to obtain vitD from food have been overly emphasized because of unfounded fears of sun exposure increasing the risk of skin cancers. This is another load of nonsense; epidemiological associations don’t support it, evolutionary biology smell-tests don’t support it, and neither does the fact that skin tumors tend to show up in the least sun exposed skin areas (e.g. armpits) doesn’t support it.
You mention the sunlight model
The ‘sunlight model’ has worked for the duration of life on earth and is posed to continue to do so. Degradation of excess vitD when tanning is a neat example of that. If people don’t get exposed to the sun they’re missing out on much more than vitD. But say they don’t get enough vitD from the sun, then sure, get it from food (animals). You can try supplementing, but the outcomes are surprisingly poor [CVD RCT, infant supplementation RCT associated with vitD levels of hypercalcemia, summary of failed RCTs on vitD supplementation failing to reduce falling fractures in the elderly]
You finish by saying “When i view both of these in context, im concerned the micronutrient article is heading down a ‘book theory’ model of recommendation, rather than ‘real world’ approach. The perspective difference between optimal and essential is my confusion.”
I share your confusion but have some idea about why it is so confusing; despite laying out a systematized approach to make official nutrient recommendations (e.g. NRV), the result is still the use of different end-points to recommend a certain nutrient level:
===> setting the level at 2 SDs above which ~97% of a population won’t incur a deficiency ……versus…. setting a nutrient level at which the risk for a particular disease (not just symptoms of deficiency) is minimized
My post was not comprehensive enough to include all nutrients in all contexts, that’s not realistic. I chose specific nutrients to exemplify instances where recommendations are spot on, where they’re debatable and where they’re outright wrong. The overarching point of the post was to shine a light on how ‘changing conditions’ in the ‘real world’ casts doubt on recommendations.
Thanks for your input Ben!