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Elements in the Human Body

Chemistry of You

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99% of the mass of the human body is made up of only six elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. Every organic molecule contains carbon. Since 65-90% of each body cell consists of water (by weight), it isn't surprising that oxygen and hydrogen are major components of the body.

Here's is a look at the major elements in the body and what these elements do.

Images 1-11 of 11
Liquid oxygen is blue.OxygenPhotograph of graphite, one of the forms of elemental carbon.CarbonNGC 604, a region of ionized hydrogen in the Triangulum Galaxy.HydrogenImage of solid, liquid, and gaseous nitrogen.Nitrogen
Calcium is a metal.CalciumRed phosphorus is one of several forms taken by this element.PhosphorusChunk of potassium metal with peroxides/superoxides and ozonide on its surface.PotassiumSodium metal chunks under mineral oil.Sodium
This is a sample of pure chlorine gas. Chlorine gas is a pale greenish yellow color.ChlorinePhotograph of the element magnesium, with a penny to indicate size of the sample.MagnesiumCrystals of the nonmetallic element sulfur.Sulfur

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