Chemistry of the Body
Everything is made up of chemicals, including the human body. If it was possible to purchase the chemicals that make up the body, it would cost about $160 or less. Some estimates place it at just $5. This does not mean a person is worth $5 or $160, only the chemicals that make up the human body.
Of course, once the chemicals are purchased, it would be extremely difficult combining them to create a human body. New people are created through sexual reproduction and not by combining the chemicals purchased at a store.
There are 92 naturally-occurring elements listed in the Periodic Table, and about 60 of them make up the human body. However, about 96% of the body is made up of just four elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen. Trace elements of the other chemicals make up the other 4%. Nearly all the chemicals in the body serve a purpose, either as a single element or joined with other chemicals to form compounds.
Most of the chemicals of the human body are quite familiar and common, especially the top four. Two of the chemicals, hydrogen and oxygen, make up about 60% of your body. Therefore, the body must remain hydrated, meaning it needs water (H2O) throughout the day. Without water, a person could not survive.
The top eleven chemicals that make up a person's body weight include oxygen with 65% and mostly bound to hydrogen to make water, large amounts of oxygen are found in the lungs and bloodstream, and found in proteins and carbohydrates, and more. About 18% is carbon and is the basis of organic chemistry; every molecule in the body contains carbon, assists with the metabolism in the body, and carbon is released when you breathe.
Hydrogen is third most abundant at just 10% and is bound with oxygen to form water, found in every molecule, plus assists with the chemical reactions in the body. Nitrogen makes up 3% of the body and is found in the lungs, breathed in with the air, absorbed in the body through foods that are eaten, a component of amino acids, parts of DNA and RNA, and other molecules. Calcium (1.4%) is found in bones and teeth, helps with structure, and is used mainly for muscle contraction and protein regulation. At 1% is phosphorous and found in bones and teeth, and in nucleic acids and energy molecules.
The remaining chemicals, all under 1% of the body include potassium (.25%) which helps regulates the heartbeat, electrical impulses, and all the cells in the body requiring potassium to function. Sulfur (.25%) is found in amino acids, used to build proteins in the body. Sodium is a minor 0.15% and is important for nerve transmission and muscle function, like potassium. Chlorine (0.15%) helps with the transport of enzymes, and supplies energy for biochemical reactions, found in the stomach and helps with digestion. Magnesium (0.005%) is used to help build healthy teeth and bones and helps with enzymes.
Finally, trace elements, which are less than 0.01% of the body's weight, include boron, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, silicon, tin, vanadium, and zinc. There are other trace elements as well, and most trace elements are essential or have a necessary effect on the body. There are also a few trace elements which may serve no purpose and are harmless.
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