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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Compare and contrast inorganic and organic compounds
  • Identify the properties of water that make it essential to life
  • Explain the role of salts in body functioning
  • Distinguish between acids and bases, and explain their role in pH
  • Discuss the role of buffers in helping the body maintain pH homeostasis

The concepts you have learned so far in this chapter govern all forms of matter, and would work as a foundation for geology as well as biology. This section of the chapter narrows the focus to the chemistry of human life; that is, the compounds important for the body’s structure and function. In general, these compounds are either inorganic or organic.

  • An inorganic compound    is a substance that does not contain both carbon and hydrogen. A great many inorganic compounds do contain hydrogen atoms, such as water (H 2 O) and the hydrochloric acid (HCl) produced by your stomach. In contrast, only a handful of inorganic compounds contain carbon atoms. Carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) is one of the few examples.
  • An organic compound    , then, is a substance that contains both carbon and hydrogen. Organic compounds are synthesized via covalent bonds within living organisms, including the human body. Recall that carbon and hydrogen are the second and third most abundant elements in your body. You will soon discover how these two elements combine in the foods you eat, in the compounds that make up your body structure, and in the chemicals that fuel your functioning.

The following section examines the three groups of inorganic compounds essential to life: water, salts, acids, and bases. Organic compounds are covered later in the chapter.

Water

As much as 70 percent of an adult’s body weight is water. This water is contained both within the cells and between the cells that make up tissues and organs. Its several roles make water indispensable to human functioning.

Water as a lubricant and cushion

Water is a major component of many of the body’s lubricating fluids. Just as oil lubricates the hinge on a door, water in synovial fluid lubricates the actions of body joints, and water in pleural fluid helps the lungs expand and recoil with breathing. Watery fluids help keep food flowing through the digestive tract, and ensure that the movement of adjacent abdominal organs is friction free.

Water also protects cells and organs from physical trauma, cushioning the brain within the skull, for example, and protecting the delicate nerve tissue of the eyes. Water cushions a developing fetus in the mother’s womb as well.

Water as a heat sink

A heat sink is a substance or object that absorbs and dissipates heat but does not experience a corresponding increase in temperature. In the body, water absorbs the heat generated by chemical reactions without greatly increasing in temperature. Moreover, when the environmental temperature soars, the water stored in the body helps keep the body cool. This cooling effect happens as warm blood from the body’s core flows to the blood vessels just under the skin and is transferred to the environment. At the same time, sweat glands release warm water in sweat. As the water evaporates into the air, it carries away heat, and then the cooler blood from the periphery circulates back to the body core.

Questions & Answers

starnd of MRI and ?why
ruha Reply
what is haploid
Sonnie Reply
half of diploid(2n) n no of chromosomes I.e human have 46 no of chromosomes and its haploid is 23
Sayed
Half of diploid
ruha
exactly
Sayed
thnx
ruha
welcome
Sayed
Are you a medical student?
Sayed
yes
ruha
which year?
Sayed
2endyear
ruha
okay
Sayed
what are oxygen free radical
Fateemah Reply
are very reactive molecules that can react with every cellular component
Irene
is a molecule that contains atleast one unpaired electron
kevin
is here any one from 1st year of Medicine I need a partner for Anatomy
Sayed
yes please
Job
can you text me on my Gmail imsmk004
Sayed
hi
Eugine
hello
Sayed
what is anatomy
Ovbiagele Reply
is the study of structure of the body
Saifullah
is the study of the structure and function of the human body
Irene
can we put catheter in superficial circumflex iliac artery?
Sayed Reply
yes
Andrei
yes
Irene
yes
MONISH
what is anatomy
Eunice Reply
describe how penile erection occurs
Eunice
the study of the parts of an organism
Ayisi
is the study of the bones
Zainab
that's osteology
Ayisi
Ok
Emmanuel
How many hair do we have
Emmanuel
hair?
christine
why it's not advisable to not to give an intramuscular
Jamila Reply
well l think intramuscular injection takes a long time to get to the cells of the body for action whislt an intravenous injection goes straight to the heart and then pump to the cells /tissues quickly.So in a nutshell, intramuscular is slower and takes a longer time to work
Anna
it depends on the route of administration of drugs in an instance where the drugs to be given needs a fast action then intravenous is given but if opposite then intramuscular is advised
Deborah
Some times it is not fast in action, and again due to some complications of IM such as injection abcess, and pain.
Idris
why in IM ingestion should not be more than 2ml
Fatou
because of tissues inflammation the high dose of more than 2mls may cause
Clifford
TSH secretion is inhibited by stress and cortisol
Hadi Reply
I want to join the talk also
Lontia
hi
Muhammad
Hello my friend. What do you want to chat about?
mehmet
Hello my friend.
mehmet
why it's not advisable to not to give an intramuscular injection on the shoulder more than 2ml
Fatou
what are the factor that stimulates bile secretion
Linda Reply
secretin ,gestrin , glucagon, cholecytokinin-pancreozymin,
Leila
bile secretion is stimulate by secretin . bile secrete in to gall bladder .gall bladder store and concentrate bile...
Anoop
what happens to the rate of breathing during acidosis? why?
Rachael Reply
the breathing rate increases
Azapa
The breathing rate decreases due to accumalative amounts of carbondioxide. Or un balanced amounts of oxygen and carbondioxide
farouq
what is robotic arms
Amos Reply
explain on the cellular respiration
Racheal Reply
who's the founder of anatomy
Cleopatra Reply
The founder of anatomy is called herophilos
Thiep
is the study of the human body
Odwa
does blood moves through the heart
Ezeonu Reply
yes
Chifuniro
yape
LifeLine
can varicose vein cause harsh health complications ?
LifeLine
No 👎.
ring
Since dendrites are at the terminal end of a sensory neurone allowing it to transmit impulses to the relay neurone... what is at the other terminal end of the sensory neurone that connects it to the sensory organ?
Emmanuel Reply
The sensory organs have receptors which detect the stimulus then transmits impulses to the neurones via synaptic transmission. Meaning dendrites connect the sensory neurones to the receptors in the organ.
Cindah

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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