I have no background in chemistry.

What is a good way to start understanding principles of human body - how it works, determine which meals are good or bad for health. Maybe it is not just chemistry, but some other fields, too. I just want to know how human body works, lets say - improve health - but on my own. Knowing just that this is not good for health is not enough for me. I want to build deep knowledge.

I want to know how it is functioning at the lower level (based on chemistry).

Where to start?

(sorry for my incompetence)

  • $\begingroup$ Biochemistry requires a strong understanding of (general) biology, molecular cell biology, chemistry and organic chemistry. I recommend beginning with basic chemistry if you're not already familiar. $\endgroup$
    – user22020
    Jul 30, 2017 at 12:53

2 Answers 2


If you want to start from the chemistry upwards I'd recommend you to either look into a biochemistry textbook (buy or borrow one/get a used one, since they are quite expensive) or look for some (online) courses in that field.

The textbooks I know from university studies are:

  • Biochemistry (Stryer, Berg, Tymoczko) [possibly downlaodable from here]
  • Biochemistry (Voet & Voet)
  • Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry (Cox, Nelson)

The MIT offers quite a few (free!) online courses and there seem to be quite a number of biochemistry ones (I haven't looked into any of them, but I reckon the MIT courses aren't too bad).

  • $\begingroup$ I did not find the prerequisities for Biochemistry (Stryer, Berg, Tymoczko). What should I know to start read this book? $\endgroup$ Jun 30, 2017 at 10:17
  • $\begingroup$ @JúliusMarko If I remember correctly (I don't have anything at hand right now) the books contains a few chapters with basic information about the underlying chemistry. Maybe try the link I added to look into it. $\endgroup$
    – Nicolai
    Jun 30, 2017 at 10:21

Nicolai offered book (and other ressource) recommendations in biochemistry (+1). However, you might want to start with some very introductory general biology. For this purpose the Campbell Biology book is one of the best.

You can find the 11th edition here on Amazon.ca but it is quite pricy but if you can accept a slightly older edition (that will still teach you a lot) such as this one, then you can get away for much cheaper.


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