important elements in living things

oxygen
component of water and organic molecules, functions in cellular respiration
carbon
found in all organic molecules
hydrogen
component of water, all foods and most organic molecules. as an ion, it influences the pH of body fluids.
nitrogen
component of proteins and nucleic acids
calcium
structural component of bones and teeth, important in muscle contraction, conduction of nerve impulses and blood clotting
phosphorus
component of nucleic acids, structural component of bones and teeth, important in nerve functioning and muscle contraction
potassium
principal positive ion within cells, important in nerve functioning and muscle contraction
sodium
principal positive ion within interstitial fluid, important in fluid balance, essential for conduction of nerve impulses and muscle contraction
chlorine
principal negative ion within interstitial fluid, important in fluid balance
sulfur
component of many proteins, especially in contractile proteins in muscle
magnesium
present in bone, component of many enzymes
iron
component of hemoglobin and some enzymes
iodine
vital to the production of thyroid hormone
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