Q:

What are the most commonly found elements in living things?

A:

Quick Answer

The six most commonly found elements in living things are carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. These elements make up the bulk of organic material; however, only about 25 elements are necessary for life.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in organic materials as it makes up 59 percent of cells. Oxygen makes up 24 percent, while carbon and nitrogen make up 11 percent and 4 percent, respectively. Together, phosphorus and sulfur account for about 2 percent of elements in cells. Humans are made up mostly of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen as these elements account for 96 percent of the cells in the body.

Other important elements in the body include calcium, potassium, sodium, chlorine, magnesium, iron, fluorine, zinc, copper, iodine, selenium, chromium, manganese, molybdenum and cobalt. The body takes in many of these elements through diet and multivitamins, and each has an important function in the body. Calcium, for instance, strengthens bones, but it also helps with contracting muscles and regulating proteins, while fluorine helps maintain healthy teeth. Sodium assists the body with sending electrical signals. Iron is essential because it carries oxygen in the blood to different parts of the body. Zinc helps to maintain the consistency of genes.

Learn more about Molecular Biology & DNA

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are organic compounds made of?

    A:

    Organic compounds contain carbon, and almost all organic compounds contain hydrogen, with many also comprised of additional atoms of nitrogen, oxygen or sulfur. Not all compounds that contain carbon, however, can be considered organic. Metallic alloys that contain carbon, such as steel for example, would not be universally considered organic, mainly because they are not involved in biological processes.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are examples of non-metals?

    A:

    Non-metals include hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous, selenium and sulfur. The non-metals consist of elements in groups 14, 15 and 16 on the periodic table of elements. They include both solids and gases.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What elements make up wood?

    A:

    Although the chemical composition of wood varies from species to species, wood is primarily composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, calcium, potassium, sulfur, nitrogen and magnesium. Most wood contains some amount of water as well.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is grass made of?

    A:

    Grass is made of elements including oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, hydrogen and traces of other elements. These elements combine to form water and lignin, the two primary chemicals found in grass.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore