Basic Biology

Chemistry For Biology

Why do we die without oxygen?

Element % of Humans by Weight Functions in Life
Potassium 0.3 Important for nerve function, muscle contraction, and water-ion balance in body fluids
Sulfur 0.2 Structural component of some proteins
Sodium 0.1 Primary ion in body fluids; essential for nerve function
Chlorine 0.1 Major ion in body fluids
Magnesium Trace Cofactor for enzymes; important to muscle contraction and nerve transmission
Iron Trace Basic component of hemoglobin

Most living organisms are aerobic; that is, they require oxygen to complete the total breakdown of glucose for the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy for life. Many people think that humans need oxygen to breathe, but actually people need oxygen to recycle the spent electrons and hydrogen ions (H ) produced as byproducts of aerobic respiration.


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