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Chemistry in Human Body

Editor’s Note: This occasional series of articles looks at the vital things in our lives and the chemistry they are made of.You are what you eat.But do you recall munching some molybdenum or snacking on selenium? Some 60 chemical elements are found in the body, but what all of them are doing there is still unknown.

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Roughly 96 percent of the mass of the human body is made up of just four elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen, with a lot of that in the form of water. The remaining 4 percent is a sparse sampling of the periodic table of elements.

Some of the more prominent representatives are called macro nutrients, whereas those appearing only at the level of parts per million or less are referred to as micronutrients. These nutrients perform various functions, including the building of bones and cell structures, regulating the body’s pH, carrying charge, and driving chemical reactions. The FDA has set a reference daily intake for 12 minerals (calcium, iron, phosphorous, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, molybdenum and chloride). Sodium and potassium also have recommended levels, but they are treated separately.

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However, this does not exhaust the list of elements that you need. Sulfur is not usually mentioned as a dietary supplement because the body gets plenty of it in proteins. And there are several other elements — such as silicon, boron, nickel, vanadium and lead — that may play a biological role but are not classified as essential. “This may be due to the fact that a biochemical function has not been defined by experimental evidence,” said Victoria Drake from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Sometimes all that is known is that lab animals performed poorly when their diets lacked a particular non-essential element.

However, identifying the exact benefit an element confers can be difficult as they rarely enter the body in a pure form. “We don’t look at them as single elements but as elements wrapped up in a compound,” said Christine Gerbstadt, national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. A normal diet consists of thousands of compounds (some containing trace elements) whose effects are the study of ongoing research. For now, we can only say for certain what 20 or so elements are doing. Here is a quick rundown, with the percentage of body weight in parentheses.

Oxygen (65%) and hydrogen (10%) are predominantly found in water, which makes up about 60 percent of the body by weight. It’s practically impossible to imagine life without water. Carbon (18%) is synonymous with life. Its central role is due to the fact that it has four bonding sites that allow for the building of long, complex chains of molecules. Moreover, carbon bonds can be formed and broken with a modest amount of energy, allowing for the dynamic organic chemistry that goes on in our cells. Nitrogen (3%) is found in many organic molecules, including the amino acids that make up proteins, and the nucleic acids that make up DNA.

Calcium (1. 5%) is the most common mineral in the human body — nearly all of it found in bones and teeth. Ironically, calcium’s most important role is in bodily functions, such as muscle contraction and protein regulation. In fact, the body will actually pull calcium from bones (causing problems like osteoporosis) if there’s not enough of the element in a person’s diet. Phosphorus (1%) is found predominantly in bone but also in the molecule ATP, which provides energy in cells for driving chemical reactions. Potassium (0. 25%) is an important electrolyte (meaning it carries a charge in solution).

It helps regulate the heartbeat and is vital for electrical signaling in nerves. Sulfur (0. 25%) is found in two amino acids that are important for giving proteins their shape. Sodium (0. 15%) is another electrolyte that is vital for electrical signaling in nerves. It also regulates the amount of water in the body. Chlorine (0. 15%) is usually found in the body as a negative ion, called chloride. This electrolyte is important for maintaining a normal balance of fluids. Magnesium (0. 05%) plays an important role in the structure of the skeleton and muscles.

It also is necessary in more than 300 essential metabolic reactions. Iron (0. 006%) is a key element in the metabolism of almost all living organisms. It is also found in hemoglobin, which is the oxygen carrier in red blood cells. Half of women don’t get enough iron in their diet. Fluorine (0. 0037%) is found in teeth and bones. Outside of preventing tooth decay, it does not appear to have any importance to bodily health. Zinc (0. 0032%) is an essential trace element for all forms of life. Several proteins contain structures called “zinc fingers” help to regulate genes.

Zinc deficiency has been known to lead to dwarfism in developing countries. Copper (0. 0001%) is important as an electron donor in various biological reactions. Without enough copper, iron won’t work properly in the body. Iodine (0. 000016%) is required for making of thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolic rate and other cellular functions. Iodine deficiency, which can lead to goiter and brain damage, is an important health problem throughout much of the world. Selenium (0. 000019%) is essential for certain enzymes, including several anti-oxidants.

Unlike animals, plants do not appear to require selenium for survival, but they do absorb it, so there are several cases of selenium poisoning from eating plants grown in selenium-rich soils. Chromium (0. 0000024%) helps regulate sugar levels by interacting with insulin, but the exact mechanism is still not completely understood. Manganese (0. 000017%) is essential for certain enzymes, in particular those that protectmitochondria — the place where usable energy is generated inside cells — from dangerous oxidants. Molybdenum (0. 000013%) is essential to virtually all life forms.

In humans, it is important for transforming sulfur into a usable form. In nitrogen-fixing bacteria, it is important for transforming nitrogen into a usable form. Cobalt (0. 0000021%) is contained in vitamin B12, which is important in protein formation and DNA regulation. Importance of chemistry in our daily life Importance of chemistry in our daily life Everything is made of chemicals.

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Many of the changes we observe in the world around we see that caused by chemical reactions. Chemistry is very important because it helps us to know the composition, structure& changes of matter. All the matters are made up of chemistry.

In our every day like various chemical are being used in various from, some of those are being used as food, some of those used clanging etc. 1 Element in the Human Body Body is made up of chemical compounds, which are combinations of elements. Probably know body is mostly water, which is hydrogen and oxygen, 2. Health Care and Beauty: The diagnostic tests carried out in laboratories, the prognostic estimations, medical prescriptions, pills, the vaccines, the antibiotics play very vital role in health monitoring, control of diseases and in alleviating the sufferings of the humanity.

Right from birth control to enhancement of life expectancy- all have been made possible using the unequivocal services of Chemistry. From simple sterilization surgical instruments with antiseptic solution to Chemotherapy and Genome sequencing are all nothing but applications of Chemistry. Injecting cows, buffaloes, goat and sheep with bovinesome towrope Increases milk-production but it is indiscriminately being used by sportspersons to un-ethically enhance performance. Aging- a chemical change can only be checked chemically. Most beauty products are produced through chemical synthesis to clean, nurture and protect skins.

However their certain ingredients are hazardous to our health in the long run. 3. Industries and Transport: From cloth mills, lather factories, petro-chemical industries and refineries to metal industries- all use numerous fuels for power generation and chemical products for processing their product and improve the equality and simultaneously produce pollution. Now-a-days chemical effluent treatment plants use chemicals to control or neutralist he hazardous impact of pollutants produced by the industries. Aviation and shipping industries generate power through power plants which burn fuels.

Petrol and diesel emit out green house gases dangerous for the survival on earth which damage the ozone layer that protects us from UV rays. As a result global warming has taken place which is a destroyer of the planet earth. But again Chemistry paves the way with bio-fuels. 4. Food Security and Agriculture: The famous green revolution to increase agricultural produce so as to ensure food security was triggered by the advent of inorganic fertilizers. Since then fertilizers are extensively used by farmers to restore the fertility of soil in the fields. Pesticides are used to protect the crop during farming nd preserve the grains from pests, rats and mice during storage. Genetically modified seeds which are used to enhance production and earn profits through export of food grains are agricultural applications of Bio-chemistry. Whereas refrigeration system for cold storage of vegetables and raw meat uses Poly Urethanes Foam (PUF) and the chemical properties of gases, the preservatives in packaged food products are known to have adverse impact on our body. 5. Science and Technology: The destructive effects of Atom Bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Generations in Japan have suffered the devastation and there has-been no solace.

The threat of weapons of mass-destruction (WMDs) like the Nuclear, Chemical and Biological weapons looms large on the Humanity. Terrorists are using RDX and other explosives to run currents of fear down the spines across the globe. Nuclear reactors which are going to serve the future generations through power generation leave us with the problem of Nuclear Waste Management. Whereas the destructive power is generated through chains of chemical reactions, we remain assured that Chemistry has facilitated the chain of counter measures too in the form of safety suites and NBC resistant bunkers.

Forensic science- the comprehensive scientific analysis of material evidence in the context of the law uses principles of chemistry to facilitate crime investigation. Tele-communications, Information Technology and Space Missions- all bank on the chemistry of semi-conductor sand nano-tubes. 6 Cooking Chemistry explains how food changes as we cook it, how it rots, how to preserve food, how our body uses the food eats, and how ingredients interact to make food. 7 Cleaning Part of the importance of chemistry is it explains how cleaning works. e use chemistry to help decide what cleaner is best for dishes, laundry, yourself, and your home. we use chemistry when use bleaches and disinfectants and even ordinary soap and water. How do they work? That’s chemistry! 8 Medicine it is very need to understand basic chemistry so that we can understand how vitamins, supplements, and drugs can help or harm us. Part of the importance’s of chemistry lies in developing and testing new medical treatments and medicines. 9Environmental Issues Chemistry is at the heart of environmental issues.

What makes one chemical a nutrient and another chemical a pollutant? How we can clean up the environment? What processes can produce the things our need without harming the environment? We’re all chemists. We use chemicals every day and perform chemical reactions without thinking much about them. Chemistry is important because everything you do is chemistry! Even our body is made of chemicals. Chemical reactions occur when we breathe, eat, or just sit there reading. All matter is made of chemicals, so the importance of chemistry is that it’s the study of everything.

Reference

1. http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistry101/f/importanceofchemistry.htm Chemistry is present in every aspect of life, and here we can see a few examples. There are articles about the chemistry of everyday life, and also a few about physics, as it’s also present in our daily life 2 http://www.novapdf.com

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