MadSci Network: Anatomy

Re: What is the mineral/chemical composition of the Human Body in percents

Date: Thu May 20 21:03:24 1999
Posted By: Michel Ouellet, Grad student in Microbiology / Immunology (medecine)
Area of science: Anatomy
ID: 923091798.An

Dear Kevin,

The human body is composed of:

96.2% of body weight comes from "organic elements" present in many 
different forms.  DNA, RNA proteins, lipids and sugars are all composed of 
primarily O, C, H and N.  Also, Water (H2O) and carbon 
dioxide (CO2)as well as other small molecules involve these elements.

Oxygen (65.0%) 
Carbon (18.5%)
Hydogen (9.5%)
Nitrogen (3.2%)

3.9% of body weight comes from elements present in the form of salts.  
Don't be fooled by their minute quantities, they are very important for 
the maintenance of homeostasis (meaning "well balanced organism").  
Calcium is a major component of bones and teeth. Iron is necessary for 
oxygen transport by red blood cells.  Sulfur is present in most proteins 
and potassium keeps your heart beating smoothly and regularly. 
Calcium (1.5%)
Phosphorus (1.0%)
Potassium (0.4%)
Sulfur (0.3%)
Sodium (0.2%
Chlorine (0.2%)
Magnesium (0.1%)
Iodine (0.1%)
Iron (0.1%)

The trace elements compose less than 0.5% of total body weight but then 
again, they are essential for homeostasis.  Some of these elements are 
cofactors of critical enzymes in the body (meaning that without them, 
enzyme cannot work at all and that even low concentrations of them can make 
the enzyme work very well.)

Chromium (trace)
Cobalt (trace)
Copper (trace)
Fluorine (trace)
Manganese (trace)
Molybdenum (trace)
Selenium (trace)
Tin (trace)
Vanadium (trace)
Zinc (trace)

As for vitamins and minerals, they are important but normally, if you eat 
well (with lots of vegetables and fruits) you don't need to take extra 
vitamins (e.g. Flinstones).  BUT! If you don't eat so well and you are 
still growing (I don't know your age, sorry), then it's not so bad to take 
these vitamins after all.

I hope this answers your question, and that it is not too complicated for 
you to understand.

If it is too complicated, ASK QUESTIONS!  This is the BEST way to lean...




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