5 Major Compounds That Make Up the Human Body

Topics: Protein, Nutrition, Amino acid Pages: 8 (2573 words) Published: October 13, 2010
The Five Major Compounds That Make Up the Human Body

The human body is one of the most complex and fascinating things on this planet. There are five major groups of compounds that compose the human body. These are carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleotides, and water. These compounds are all very important to humans and without them humans would not be able to survive. Compounds have many functions that encourage a human cell and a human body to function.

Compounds are pure substances made up of atoms of two or more elements chemically combined together in fixed ratios determined by mass. When a compound is formed from its components, a chemical change takes place through chemical reactions. Elements form compounds to become more stable, which happens when the maximum number of possible electrons are in the outermost energy level.

Carbohydrates are an ideal source as well as the main source of energy for the human body. Carbohydrates can be defined as a group of organic compounds that includes sugars, starches, celluloses, and gums, but also serves as a major energy source in the diet of animals. Animals, just as humans, obtain carbohydrates by eating foods that contain them. Carbohydrates are some of the most abundant molecules in living organisms. They play a major role as food molecules in the cell, being broken down to produce energy. Carbohydrates can also be converted into glucose, the form of sugar that is s transported and used by the body. Chemically, carbohydrates are organic molecules made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen and are produced by green plants in the process of undergoing photosynthesis.

A carbohydrate can be broken down into four different chemical groups: monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides.

Monosaccahrides are the simplest form of the carbohydrate. Monosaccharides are important fuel molecules as well as building blocks for nucleic acids. A monosaccharide is similar to a DNA chain in its structure and is made up of various carbonyl groups. Monosaccahrides are also a major source of fuel for metabolism. Two joined monosaccharides are called a disaccharide and these are the simplest polysaccharides. Oligosaccharides and polysaccharides are composed of longer chains of monosaccharide units bound together by glycosidic bonds. The distinction between the two is based upon the number of monosaccharide units present in the chain. Oligosaccharides typically contain between three and ten monosaccharide units, and polysaccharides contain greater than ten monosaccharide units. Polysaccharides play an important role serving as energy reserves also.   It provides a quick-release energy source that keeps humans going between meals.

There are two types of carbohydrates, simple and complex. These two types help classify foods. Complex carbohydrates are often referred to as starch or starchy foods. They are found naturally in foods and also refined in processed foods. Complex carbohydrates take much longer to digest. The slow absorption of sugars provides humans with a steady supply of energy and limits the amount of sugar converted into fat and stored. Examples of complex carbohydrates include: bananas, nuts, oats, yams, sweet corn, and potatoes.

Simple carbohydrates are also known as sugars and are found in natural or refined forms. Simple carbohydrates are smaller molecules of sugar unlike the long chains in starch. They are digested quickly because the individual sugars are ready to be absorbed immediately. Examples include: chocolate, pizza, soft drinks, and candy. Complex carbohydrates provide a slower and more sustained release of energy than simple carbohydrates, making complex carbohydrates more healthful for the body.

Lipids are also an important compound of the human body. Though there is no direct definition of a lipid, many describe them as a large and diverse group of naturally organic molecules composed of...

Bibliography: • Dictionary.com
• "Chemistry in the 20th Century." The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide. Abington: Helicon, 2009. Credo Reference. 22 June 2009. Web. 3 May 2010. .
• Lipids. (2008). In The Columbia Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com/entry/columency/lipids
• Human body. (2008). In Philip 's Encyclopedia 2008. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com/entry/philipency/human_body
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