Carbohydrates are made of various amounts of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. There are generally twice as many hydrogens as oxygens and carbons. The three categories of carbohydrates are monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides.
- smallest unit, only made of one sugar unit
- most common is glucose, which gives fruits and sweets that uncanny taste
- glucose is the main energy source for animals
- 2 monosaccharides conjoined
- most common are maltose (2 glucose), lactose (1 glucose+1 galactose), and sucrose (1 glucose+1 fructose)
- thousands of linked monosaccharides
- most common are starch, cellulose, and glycogen
Lipids, like carbohydrates, are made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, although generally there is a very small amount of oxygen. The difference between fat lipids and oil lipids are that fats are solid at room temperature, while oils are liquid. The smallest form of lipids is one glycerol linked to three fatty acids. It is called a triglyceride. The best sources of lipids are meat, milk, butter, cheese, plant oils, and margarine. If you take away one fatty acid and replace it with a phosphate molecule, you get a phospholipid.
Lipids are very essential to the structure of the cell membrane. They also provide heat insulation for animals and the waxy coating on the outside of leaves.
Close up graphic of phospholipids in the cell membrane:
Proteins are made of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen. Sometimes they also contain phosphorous or sulfur. They are large and complex with many atoms. Proteins are formed by amino acids. There are twenty amino acids in all. When two bond, they form a dipeptide. When two bond covalently, it's called a peptide bond. When all of the amino acids bond together, they form a long chain called a polypeptide. A protein is made of at least one polypeptide. Some proteins are so large that they contain hundreds of amino acids. All proteins contain a carboxyl group, an amine group, a hydrogen, and an R group. The R group will vary depending on the amino acid.
There are three main types of proteins. The fibrous protein makes big 3d shapes with little folds from long fibers. Globular proteins are round due to the many folds. Pritons are incorrectly folded proteins, which can cause diseases in the nervous systems of animals.
Proteins are created in the ribosomes of the cell. To get protein into your diet you should eat meat, fish, eggs, milk, beans, peas, and nuts. Urea is formed through a process called deamination from an excess of amino acids, which are shipped to the liver. It is excreted in urine.
Proteins can form keratin (in hair) and myosin (in muscles, including heart). Enzymes are proteins, and well as hormones and antibodies.
Vitamins cannot be made by the body but are ingested through foods.
The two types of vitamins:
- most common is vitamin C
- found in fruits and veggies
- needed for absorption of iron and connective tissue
- Vitamin C deficiency results in scurvy
- scurvy causes internal bleeding, bruising, gum damage, and poor recoveries
- most common is vitamin D
- obtained from milk, eggs, liver, and produced when skin is exposed to UV light
- important to bone and calcium related things
- deficiency = rickets and osteomalicia and bone issues
Mineral are other elements that are useful to the body.
- Calcium: stronger bones and teeth
- Iron: formation of hemoglobin, which is necessary for the transport of oxygen through the blood
- Nitrogen: in protein of muscle tissue
- Sulfur: in protein of muscle tissue
- Potassium: controls electrical activity of heart
- Sodium: stimulates nerve and muscle fluid, supports absorption of other elements
- Chloride: balances liquids in the body
- Phosphorus: strong bones/teeth, producing proteins, cell repair
These are just a few of the minerals in the body.
It is safe to say that without the elements, our body would not be able to produce what it needs in order to properly function.