Cell Building Blocks

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Element: in chemistry a substance that cannot be broken down (separated) by a chemical process... more

Trace: a quantity of something in extremely small amounts... more

What Elements Are Found in the Human Body?

There are 92 elements that occur naturally on Earth. For living things, only 11 of these elements are found in larger than trace quantities. Any amount 0.01% or less is considered a trace element. For vertebrates, such as humans, there are two additional elements that occur in larger than trace amounts these are Iodine and Iron. The periodic table of elements below is color coded to show the elements found in the human body.

Periodic Table illustration of elements found in human body

Periodic Table illustration of elements found in human body. Click to enlarge.

The Top Four Elements Found in the Human Body

Of the elements found in the human body, four of them make up the largest percentage of our body weight (96.2%). The four elements are oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen. Before you start thinking we should float away with all the oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen atoms, remember that the oxygen molecules are mainly part of the water in our body (H2O). In fact, over half of the human body is made up of water (50-70%).

Elements in Human Body by Percent

The eleven common elements found in the human body and their percentage of total body weight. The other trace elements (less than 0.01%) are: boron (B), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), cobalt (Co), copper (Cu), fluorine (F), iodine (I), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), selenium (Se), silicon (Si), tin (Sn), vanadium (V), and zinc (Zn).



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Bibliographic details:

  • Article: Atoms & Life
  • Author(s): Dr. Biology
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: September 27, 2009
  • Date accessed: December 18, 2018
  • Link: https://askabiologist.asu.edu/content/atoms-life

APA Style

Dr. Biology. (2009, September 27). Atoms & Life. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved December 18, 2018 from https://askabiologist.asu.edu/content/atoms-life

American Psychological Association. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/

Chicago Manual of Style

Dr. Biology. "Atoms & Life". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 27 September, 2009. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/content/atoms-life

MLA 2017 Style

Dr. Biology. "Atoms & Life". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 27 Sep 2009. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 18 Dec 2018. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/content/atoms-life

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08/
elements for life

The elements - Oxygen, Carbon, Hydrogen and Nitrogen account for 96.2% of your body weight.

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