What chemical elements are present in the human body?

The human body is composed of 60 different elements, including oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, magnesium, and 49 other elements in trace form.

The human body is the shape of a complex work of art composed of countless atoms, 7×1027 atoms to be exact. However, not all atoms are the same. Of the 118 known elements, 94 occur naturally, and the human body contains 60 of those naturally occurring elements.

Based on the number of atoms and their contribution to the total body weight, elements can be divided into 3 groups: major elements, minor elements and trace elements.

What chemical elements are present in the human body?
The human body is composed of 60 different elements.

The primary elements, as the name implies, are the most important elements for human life and are also the most abundant, second in mass are minor elements. However, for trace elements, not all of them are involved in the functioning of the human body.

The four main elements in the human body are oxygen, hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen.

About 60% of the human body is covered by water. It is therefore not surprising that oxygen and hydrogen, the two elements that make up water, are two of the most abundant elements in the human body. Oxygen is at the top, while hydrogen takes third place on the list.

Water (H 2 0) consists of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Therefore, hydrogen has a greater atomic percentage than oxygen and every other element in the human body. However, because oxygen is the heavier element (the atomic weight of oxygen is 16.00 amu or 2.6 x 10-23 grams), it contributes the most to the overall weight of a person.

For an average person weighing around 70 kg, oxygen alone contributes 43kg (65% of total body weight), while hydrogen makes up 7kg (10% of total body weight). In terms of atomic number, hydrogen topped all the elements, with a total atomic percentage of 62%, followed by oxygen with 24%.

What chemical elements are present in the human body?
Oxygen is also a component of all four organic compounds present in the human body.

Oxygen in the form of water helps regulate body temperature and osmotic pressure, while molecular oxygen (which we breathe in) plays an important role in converting glucose into ATP molecules. Oxygen is also a component of all four organic compounds (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids) present in the human body, however, too much oxygen can also be harmful. Like oxygen, hydrogen mainly exists in the form of water and is found in all organic compounds.

Carbon , the essential element of organic compounds, is the second most abundant element in the human body and contributes about 18% of the total body weight. Carbon is the basic element for all life on Earth and the basic element of all organic compounds.

Second on carbon and fourth on the list in abundance is nitrogen . This element makes up 3% of the total human body weight. Nitrogen is the most abundant element in the Earth’s atmosphere and enters the interior of our bodies along with oxygen with every breath. However, the human body does not use nitrogen in its gaseous state and therefore expels it immediately. We accept nitrogen from food. This element is an important component of amino acids (used to build proteins) and nucleic acids such as DNA and RNA (genetic material).

Secondary elements include: calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine and magnesium.

Human bones are composed mainly of calcium. Calcium is the fifth most abundant element and the most abundant mineral in the human body. It accounts for about 1.5% of total body weight. 99% found in bones and teeth (in compounds like hydroxyapatite), this element also plays an important role in muscle contraction and protein regulation.

After calcium is phosphorus (1% of total body weight). It is mainly found in ATP (triphosphate) molecules and in bones, along with calcium.

What chemical elements are present in the human body?
Calcium and phosphorus, together with the four main elements, make up about 99% of the mass of the human body. (Photo: Zhaocarol/Wikimedia Commons).

Next on the list are potassium (0.35% of body weight) and sodium (0.15% of body weight). Their positively charged ions help to conduct nerve signals and regulate fluid levels in the human body. Potassium also plays a certain role, helping the heart muscle to keep a regular beat.

Sulfur (0.25% of body weight) is a component of several amino acids, such as cysteine ​​and methionine, and also vitamin H or B7 (Biotin) and vitamin B1 (Thiamine).

The last two elements that contribute significantly to the overall mass of the human body are Chlorine (0.15% of body weight) and Magnesium (0.005% of body weight). Chlorine is present in the stomach in the form of hydrochloric acid, which aids the body in water and salt balance, and acts as a catalyst in the conversion of ATP to ADP. On the other hand, magnesium is involved in many metabolic and enzymatic reactions, and plays a structural role in bones and teeth.

There are 49 other elements found in trace form in the human body. However, out of these 49 elements, only a few are said to be necessary for human life, while others are not useful but also harmless. These substances are considered impurities, such as aluminum, titanium, cesium, silver, etc.

The trace elements necessary for human life include: iron, zinc, copper, iodine, selenium, chromium, manganese, lithium, molybdenum and cobalt . Iron is perhaps the most important, as it is responsible for transporting oxygen to red blood cells in the form of hemoglobin. Zinc and copper are found in certain proteins, while the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) contain iodine.

There are also some elements, such as silicon, boron, nickel, and vanadium , which are considered possibly essential to our life. Elements such as lead, antimony, thallium, and radioactive elements such as thorium, uranium, and radium are all toxic to the human body.

And finally, these 60 elements are responsible for everything that shapes our body, a human being!