Common Elements Found in the Human Body
By Prof. Liwayway Memije-Cruz
Life substances are substances, which contain the life or food, which vivifies and sustains. But those who fail to receive these life-giving substances will, sooner or later, realize their necessity …
Through the ages, man has learned many things about himself and his environment. However, it was not until he was able to record his discoveries and observations that modern science began. Early scientists started organizing and classifying their discoveries and observations. From these, evolved the fundamental sciences of today. Discoveries propose new avenues of investigations, thus expanding scientific knowledge at an ever-increasing rate. Chemistry developed as a science. Today it has become increasingly evident that chemistry holds the key to life sciences.
Everything in this world is either an element or a combination of elements. Each element is composed of tiny particles of matter called atoms. The atom of one element is different from those of all other elements. There are 118 elements and 92 of these occur naturally, the rest are produced artificially. About 90% of our body is composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen and several others are present in a small or trace amounts. The most abundant elements found in our body are hydrogen, calcium, carbon, chlorine, iron, magnesium, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, sodium, sulfur and iron.
Hydrogen (H) - a component of organic molecules and influences the pH of the body fluids.
Carbon (C) - the primary elemental component of all organic compounds, including carbohydrates, proteins, liquids and acids.
Nitrogen (N) - a component of proteins and nucleic acids (genetic materials).
Oxygen (O) - a major component of both organic and inorganic molecules as a gas, essential to the oxidation of glucose and other food fuels during which cellular energy (ATP) is produced.
Sodium (Na) as an ion is the major extracellular cation. It is important for water balance, conduction of nerve impulses and muscle contractions.
Calcium (Ca) is essential in human diet and people normally ingest between 60 and 1400 mg a day. It is indispensable and critical for normal cell function, blood clotting, dental and skeletal health, muscle contraction, nerve signal transmission and proper heart function.
Magnesium (Mg) - present in bones and important cofactor for enzyme activity in a number of metabolic reactions.
Phosphorus (P) - present as salt in combination with calcium in bones and teeth. Present in nucleic acids and many proteins. Forms part of the high-energy compound adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
Sulfur (S) is a component of contractile proteins of muscles.
Chlorine (Cl) is a major extracellular anion. if in ionic form.
Potassium (K) if in its ionic form the major intracellular cation is necessary for the conduction of nerve impulses and for muscle contraction.
Iron (Fe) it combines with a protein to form a substance called hemoglobin. When we breathe in, oxygen in our lungs is attracted to the iron in the hemoglobin and combines with it to form oxyhemoglobin. This is transported around the body by the blood cells, and oxygen is released wherever it is needed to allow the conversion of carbohydrates into energy.
Some elements are required by the body in every minute amounts and most of them are parts of enzymes required for enzyme activation. These are:
Chromium Cr, Selenium Se, Cobalt Co, Silicon Si, Copper Cu, Tin Sn, Fluorine F, Vanadium V, Manganese Mn, Zinc Zn and Molybdenum Mo.