Chemistry plays a crucial role in keeping us healthy throughout our lifetime. Nowadays we ‘re living longer and healthier lives thanks to the large innovations primarily driven by the chemistry industry. The body luckily operates on its own due to the chemical reactions which are constantly occurring in our body, allowing for humans to only have the responsibility of sleeping and eating . Metabolic processing plants reuse the digestion products back into its simple building blocks, which then build our organs and tissues. By using proteins, food consumption, genetics, and chemical reactions to fats, it enables for the recovery of body systems like when you sprained your ankle and allows for the growth of hair and fingernails, it also allows for many more bodily functions which correlate to human health.
First off, enzymes are the primary stakeholders of metabolism, the molecules that accelerate the chemical reactions within our bodies. Enzymes are vital to human health, because our bodies can’t wait too long to obtain the crucial products of chemical reactions. Without the support of enzymes, the switch of nutrients and minerals to working biological components such as proteins, could take several weeks or years. When enzymes do not work properly, they can impact human health in a negative way, ultimately causing disease . For instance, cancer may cultivate when errors occur by the enzymes which copy DNA. Such errors may give rise to a misspelled gene which produces a faulty protein or no protein. “If that protein is the one that keeps a set of cells from multiplying out of control, you can imagine how its absence could bring about serious problems [Davis 2002]”.
Proceeding, adequate and safe drinking water is a fundamental key component of a human’s health and how the chemical components affect the body. With this said, it is as well a global health concern. One critical factor in water safety is the analysis of chemical components and how it affects human health. According to Jennifer L. Freeman, an Associate Professor in the School of Health Sciences at Purdue University, fluoride is a natural component of water supply in some parts of the world, but is supplemented to around 1 mg / L in drinking water. Fluoride is crucial for effective bone and tooth growth but it tends to induce dental discoloration at concentrations > 2 mg / L. Furthermore, exposure at 10 mg / L, results in fluorosis of the skeleton. “Fluoride also alters metabolism of essential nutrients [Freeman 2018]”. Fluorides that are consumed in water are mostly assimilated by diffusion from the gastrointestinal tract and dispersed to all tissues and organs.With over ingestion of fluoride, it can result in fluoride poisoning, causing abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Chronic toxicity of fluoride also leads to joint fatigue, distorted teeth, and more.
Continuing, urban communities around the world are increasing. Urban development encourages the need for farmers to use contaminated land for growth of food crops. Chemistry can be associated with this when looking into the consumption of specific elements and their effects on the human body. “In urban areas, land contamination with toxic metals is common as a result of industrial activity [Mahmood & Malik 2014]”. Metal contaminated soil is a primary route of human exposure to the toxic elements. Hazardous substances may enter the body by ingesting infected crop production, water, or by the inhalation of dust. More than 70 percent of the dietary intake has been associated with cadmium. Vegetables grown on polluted soil can acquire toxic metals, such as cadmium, contributing to the accumulation of toxic metals in liver cells and kidneys and leading to destruction of human health in these areas , as well as nervous and bone disorders.
Also, chemistry is crucial to the study of anatomy and physiology. All the cells in the body are made of chemicals, and all of the body’s activities and processes contain chemical reactions. Chemistry illustrates the body’s energy and nutrients, like why your body contains blood and why you breathe as well as what kinds of nutritional foods and supplements are crucial to life. For example, in body chemistry, oxygen is an essential element which transforms food into energy. Without oxygen the cells in the human body will not be capable of producing the chemicals they need to operate. Chemistry makes sense of how the body contains oxygen. For instance, “a chemical called hemoglobin travels back and forth between your lungs and your cells, carrying oxygen. A chemical reaction that occurs when hemoglobin returns to the lungs produces carbon dioxide, or CO2, which is why you breathe out carbon dioxide [Zamboni 2018]”.
To conclude, “we carry at least 700 chemicals in our body that were not part of the human body chemistry before the 20th century [Larsen & Olsen 2020]”. With the help of constant scientific advancements on human health, it allows us to further understand how chemistry plays a critical role in regards to human health. With this said, with the knowledge of enzymes, elements, and human anatomy, chemists can learn not only about new substances, but also about how chemistry plays a vital role in human health.