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Monthly Archives: September 2014

Minor dietary elements


Zinc Zinc, in commerce also spelter, is a chemical element with symbol Zn and atomic number 30. Zinc is an essential trace element for humans and other animals, for plants and for microorganisms. Zinc is found in nearly 100 specific enzymes, serves as structural ions in transcription factors and is stored and transferred in metallothioneins. It is typically the second most abundant transition metal in organisms after iron and it is the only metal which appears in all enzyme classes. In proteins, Zn ions are often coordinated to the amino acid side chains of aspartic acid, glutamic acid, cysteine and histidine. The theoretical and computational description of this zinc binding in proteins (as well as that of other transition metals) is difficult. There are 2-4 grams of zinc distributed throughout the human body. Most zinc is in the brain, muscle, bones, kidney, and liver, with the highest concentrations in the prostate and parts of the eye. Semen is particularly rich in zinc, which is a key factor in prostate gland function and reproductive organ growth. In humans, zinc plays ubiquitous biological roles. It interacts with a wide range of organic ligands, and has roles in the metabolism of RNA and ...

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Major dietary elements


Phosphorus Phosphorus is a chemical element with symbol P and atomic number 15. Inorganic phosphorus  is required for all known forms of life, playing a major role in biological molecules such as DNA and RNA where it forms part of the structural framework of these molecules. Living cells also use phosphate to transport cellular energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Nearly every cellular process that uses energy obtains it in the form of ATP. ATP is also important for phosphorylation, a key regulatory event in cells. Phospholipids are the main structural components of all cellular membranes. Calcium phosphate salts assist in stiffening bones. Living cells are defined by a membrane that separates it from its surroundings. Biological membranes are made from a phospholipid matrix and proteins, typically in the form of a bilayer. Phospholipids are derived from glycerol, such that two of the glycerol hydroxyl (OH) protons have been replaced with fatty acids as an ester, and the third hydroxyl proton has been replaced with phosphate bonded to another alcohol. An average adult human contains about 0.7 kg of phosphorus, about 85–90% of which is present in bones and teeth in the form of apatite, and the remainder ...

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