The Story of Chemistry & Biology of Human Life…
There are trillions of cells in human body. The purpose of cell is to organize activities in the biological structure of our body. Billions of chemical reactions take place in our body to keep the cellular biology in proper place, keep us alive and life kicking. This very comprehensive phenomenon is technically termed as Metabolism.
The cell is the smallest part of the body that can carry the process associated with life. The cell membrane controls the movement of material in and out of the cell body. The tissues that build up the organs and various other parts in our body are formed from cells of similar types. Each body parts are made up of specialized cells grouped together according to specific structure and function. Organs combine together to form the various systems in our body and system align to form what we are as living Organism. For instance heart is an organ and is part of the circulatory system.
Chemical – Cell – Tissue – Organ – System – Organism
The fascinating “Story of Elementary Characters” in human body and the way these wonderful characters play their respective part in making life livable and lovely. And so many of them. To be precise 60 elements of characters. Each one has its own characteristics. Much like the “Pareto Principle” of 80-20 rule, which states that 80% of the work is done by 20% of the team or for that matter 80% of the revenue comes from 20% of the product. And for that matter this principle is largely applicable across all spheres of work and life. In this case of elements, 96 percentage of the mass of human body is contributed by just 4 elements namely; oxygen, carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen.
Oxygen – 65%
Carbon – 18.5 %
Hydrogen – 9.5%
Nitrogen – 3%
These foursome are dominate characters in the story of Human Chemistry. They figure themselves out and they decide on the action and command the course of our life’s composition. These elements enter our body through the food we eat and the fluid that we drink, and hence the type and the variety of food that we eat matters. We study the chemistry of life through the chapters of our science book in our school, biology tells just one part of the story and it is the chemistry that tell the other part of the story and still the story is incomplete.
The story of life is infinite.
The more we search, the more discover.
The more we question, the more questions we get.
In the chemistry book that we study in school, we have the table of antagonist of the story known as the “Periodic Table”, it is to be rigorously remembered. The testing of the table. In a way, it is one of the litmus test of our memory. We use so many different tricks and tactic to memories and store it in our memory bank. In fact there are stories created to remember the sequence of the elements. Few are very good at it and they do it with panache. But many of us find this as one more battle ground and the tussle goes on till the subject completes it journey with our course. 12 elements are suggested by nutritionist and medical studies to be consumed in our everyday meal. Few of these are well-known and come to us quite naturally but there are many which are rarely heard and we focus on the vital few and ignore the trivial many, though these are no way trivial. For instance iron and calcium is well-known but copper and chromium is lesser known elements.
Carbon is central to life…
Carbon character has the ability to form four chemical bonds with other element at the same time. This property of carbon character helps in the formation long and complex chain of molecules. Then come the role of energy that makes life move and grow. Carbon bonds needs less energy to make or break itself, and there lays the beauty of this character known as carbon. It is another sub plot of organic chemistry that goes on in our cell and subject of cellular biology.
Potassium regulates the heart beat.
Sodium regulates the water level.
Calcium modulates the composition of bones.
Iron modules the metabolism of body.
Nitrogen is there in amino and nuclei acids.
pH stands for the power of Hydrogen. It is the measurement of hydrogen ion content in our body. The pH scale ranges from 0-14, 0 signifies total acidic and 14 signifies total alkaline. pH of 7 is stated to be neutral. When our body fluid has too much acid it is a state known as acidosis. A lower pH means our blood is more acidic. It is the role of organs like kidney to control the level of pH and do the balancing act. Kidneys primarily remove wastes and extra water from the blood.
Human Body is a composition of molecules…
Molecules are formed of atoms which in turn are made up of positively charged protons and negatively charged electrons, and neutrons which are neutral. Human body the matter is made of elements. It is the electrons that figure the chemical behaviour of the atoms. And atom is the smallest particle of the element that retains the distinct properties of the element. Living organisms are made up of small choice of these large set of elements. It is the electrons of an atom that undergo the realignment and so get arranged.
Human Cell conducts electrical charges…
This happens when there is an imbalance between in the ions inside and outside the cell. The charge ion flows through the membranes separating the cells. Electric current is flow of electric charge. The electrons can also move by ions in electrolyte.
Life on Earth got its umbilical cord from the ocean. Life entirely depends on the properties of water. Human body consists of almost 70% of water. The water in the body is further broken down into intercellular and extracellular fluid. These fluids are electrolytes full of biochemical ions and are conductive. The resistance in the body is there in the skin. If the skin resistance is low less energy gets dissipated. If the skin resistance is high, more energy gets dissipated.
Human Body is a structure of atoms of elements…
These atoms are combined to form molecules. Living organisms are self-propagating chemical systems. The system is powered by the awesome foursome. The four important groups of chemical composition are sugar, fatty acids, amino acids and nucleotides. Sugars are the main source of chemical energy. Fatty acids act as the storehouse of energy. Amino acids are the components of proteins. Nucleotides are the information managers for DNA and RNA.
Hormones are messenger…
Human bodies comprises of multiple system like circulatory to respiratory to digestive to nervous system. This biological system works together. It clinically regulates the functioning of the various organs in our body. And there are these hormones acting as the body’ chemical messenger. The human body secretes and circulates 50 different types of hormones. These hormones go through the circulatory system to our blood streams to activate the cells. Respiration is a chemical process when sugar reacts with oxygen, it produces energy. It also produces carbon dioxide and water as the waste product to be extracted out by the excretory system.
Enzymes are catalyst…
Chemical compounds enter our body through the food we eat, the air we breathe and the fluid we drink. These chemical compounds then undergo conventional chemical reactions such as oxidation, hydrolysis, and reduction to neutralization. These are part of the metabolism which in turn gets further bifurcated as anabolism i.e. which build molecules and catabolism i.e. which breaks molecules in the body. These are in turn controlled by a set of proteins called as enzymes that acts as biochemical catalyst to alter the rate of chemical reaction.
Hormones and Enzymes are important biochemical components in the bodies all living beings. All enzymes are proteins with one exception and hormones are derivatives of proteins and amino acids. These are produced in the glands, enzymes in exocrine and hormones in endocrine. Age has no effect on enzymes but with age hormones undergo changes. Enzymes work at the place of formation because hormones are carried by the blood to different parts of body.
Amylase is an enzyme that helps change starches into sugar.
Insulin is a hormone that helps to keep the bold sugar level in control.
Blood Glucose, is the sugar that bloodstream carries to cells in the body to supply energy. Excess glucose is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscle cell for future use. When the body is running short of energy, it resorts to the stored source where the liver converts back the glycogen back into sugar as the energy.
Nutrients are needed to supply energy for the functioning of our body and building up of the body structure. The system of respiration enables the release of energy from the nutrients. There are six groups of nutrients namely carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats are the macro nutrients and these three give the bulk of our dietary. An essential nutrient is one which the body cannot synthesize on its own or to adequate amount and hence needs the external support from the dietary stuff. Nutrients provides the much needed energy to regulate the metabolic processes.
Metabolism is the central theme in the story of our life and nutrients are the plots that make the story move with its constant feeding of the fuel.
One of the important tasks of Minerals is to keep up the proper balance of water in our body. It helps body grow and develop. Magnesium as a mineral plays its part in helping muscle contractions. Calcium as mineral plays its part in building bone strength. Vitamins help to control our body processes and essential for a healthy body. Vitamin C plays an important role in the functioning of our immune system. Vitamin D plays an important role in strengthening of our bone.
There are 13 vitamins working together with the 16 essential minerals in our body to keep us fit and fine.
The food we eat is not just about the quality and quantity but so much about the proportion of dietary ingredients. Hence, eating a “Balanced Diet” is so essential for good health and well-being of our life.
Nihar R Pradhan