What Elements Make Up The Human Body?
When we think about body composition we usually think in terms of muscle, fat, water and bones.
If we broke down the human body further into its barest element form, we surprisingly find that around 99% of our bodies derive from only 6 elements. Oxygen, Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Calcium and Phosphorus. The other 1% of elements come from numerous trace elements, some essential for bodily function, while some serve no purpose.
The following is a list of the top 12 elements in order of body weight percentage found in the human body.
Oxygen - 65%
Oxygen makes up 65% of the bodies elemental composition. Paired with the hydrogen atom in our bodies, Oxygen makes up the primary solvent in our bodies: water. When you consider that the cells in our body are 65-90% water (H2O) weight, it makes sense that Oxygen makes up so much of what our bodies are made of.
Carbon - 18%
Carbon is the second most prevalent element in the human body at 18%. Because of it's four bonding sites for other atoms to attach to, Carbon is the key element for organic life. Carbons and the chains it creates are key to building carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and nucleic acids. Additionally, when these chains break, it creates energy, making Carbon a key energy source. Carbon can be found in every organic molecule in our body.
Hydrogen - 10%
Hydrogen comes in third most abundant element at 10%. It is the second element found in water and like Carbon is also found in every organic molecule in the body.
Nitrogen - 3.2%
Many would argue that your genetic code makes you whom you are, making nitrogen a vital element at just 3.2% of the body's composition. That three percent is found in the nucleic acids and proteins that make up your DNA.
Calcium - 1.5%
Calcium is a mineral found in your body, and the most abundant one at that, despite only making up 1.5% of the body's mass. Calcium is one of the main structural components to bones and teeth. It is also needed for muscle contraction and even protein regulation. Despite the small percentage, calcium is essential to the human body.
Phosphorus - 1%
Phosphorus makes up only 1% of the body's composition, but it is important. It is a key component of a molecule known as ATP, which is the body's primary energy source. Phosphorus is also found in the bone, but its key role is in ATP.
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Potassium - 0.4%
Potassium is an important electrolyte making up 0.4% of the body. Despite its small amount, it is used for some very important tasks, including heartbeat regulation and nerve impulses.
Sulfur - 0.3%
Sulfur only makes up 0.3% of the body, but plays an important role in a number of amino acids. The bonds that Sulfur creates play a vital role in building proteins.
Sodium - 0.2%
At just 0.2%, Sodium remains a key electrolyte. It is another element used to help nerves sends signals. Additionally, Sodium plays an important part in muscle function.
Chlorine - 0.2%
Chlorine is an anion that also makes up 0.2% of the body's composition. You may have heard the name referring to a chemical that keeps pools sanitary, but in your body, it is used for fluid regulation through the creation of hydrochloric acid.
Magnesium - 0.1%
Magnesium only makes up 0.1% of the body, but it is involved in over 300 metabolic (involved in metabolism) functions. It is also used in enzyme reactions and part of the structure of both muscles and bones.
Iron - 0.006%
Your body is only made up of 0.006% iron, but it is essential. Iron is an important molecule in haemoglobin, which allows your red blood cells to transport oxygen. The red colour of blood is due to the interaction of iron and oxygen.
A good diet, adequate levels of water and exercise are essential for maintaining a healthy balance of elements that keep our bones strong, build muscle, give us energy and keep our bodies functioning correctly. Having a strong, energetic body are usually the tell tale signs of a good body composition.
Check out your body composition today with a body scan in Melbourne on one our InBody 770 or InBody 570 machines today. www.melbournebca.com.au