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Importance of Metal Ions

↪ There are at least fifteen different metal ions which our body need to take in requisite amount from our daily diet.
↪ These minerals are classified as macro minerals such as Na, K, Mg and Ca and as micro or trace minerals such as Fe, Zn, Cu, Co, Ni, Cr etc.
↪ The biological importance of these minerals in life systems with stress on humans is discussed individually as follows:


↪ An adult human has about 105 g of Na.
↪ Out of this, about 24% of it is located in bone and about 65% of it is found in extracellular fluid (ECF).
↪ Na+ ions have active transport of expulsion from our body cell to the extracellular fluid (ECF) by means of energy obtained by the hydrolysis of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) to ADP

⁕ Biochemical Functions of Sodium

↪ Na+ and its anion Cl- and HCO3-, regulate osmotic pressure and cellular fluid balance.
↪ Provides acid-base balance in association with Cl- and HCO3- .
↪ Helps to keep permeability of cell.
↪ Determines membrane electric potential and neuro muscular excitability.
↪ It is involved in the absorption of glucose, galactose and amino acids and influences the activity of enzymes in metabolism.

⁕ Effects of Deficiency of Sodium

↪ Fatigue, headache, weakness in muscles may be the symptoms of deficiency of Na in our body.
↪ Low level of sodium in our blood increases the risk of hyponatremia that may cause
confusion, brain swelling seizures (brain illness) and coma.
↪ Low level of sodium may causes kidney and heart failure and also cirrhosis in liver.


↪ Potassium as an electrolyte mineral is as much important as sodium in our body. An adult
human contains about 135g of potassium.
↪ K+ ions have active transport of intake from our body cell into intracellular fluid (ICF).
↪ The energy released from one molecule of ATP to ADP expels 3Na+ ion out of the cell and 2K ion enter the cell.

⁕ Biochemical Functions of Potassium

↪ Regulate fluid and electrolyte balance in our body and also contributes to osmotic pressure of fluid.
↪ Induces metabolism of our body and helps to reduce muscle disorder and muscle cramp and enhances muscle strength.
↪ Determines membrane electric potential and regulate nerve signals.

⁕ Effect of Deficiency of Potassium

↪ Fatigue and weakness in muscles.
↪ Abnormal heart beat and palpitation.
↪ Headache, swelling in glands, pain in intestine.
↪ Anemia, prone to paralysis of cardiac muscle and drop in blood pressure causing sweating and trembling.


↪ Magnesium is also an essential mineral constituent of our body as well as of plants.
↪ Adult man or woman having 70 kg weight contains about 35g, out of this 99% is located in intracellular fluid and bones.

⁕ Biochemical Role of Magnesium

↪ Break glucose and lipid molecules and for the production of enzyme and proteins
↪ Regulate the functions of enzymes and cholesterols,
↪ Provides an important role for the stability and proper functioning of DNA and RNA.
↪ Maintains electrolyte balance and helps to produce energy within the cell from ATP.

⁕ Effects of Deficiency of Mg

↪ Weakness, muscle cramps, abnormal heart beat and palpitation
↪ Lowering of potassium and Ca level in the blood. Normal Mg level in blood should be 1.46-2.68 mgL-1.
↪ Very low level of Mg in the body causes chronic diseases like diabetes, coronary heart
diseases, hypertension etc.


↪ A healthy human adult has about 1.05 kg Ca. Out of which, 99% of it exists as phosphates resembling the mineral hydroxyapatite in the forms of bones and teeth.
↪ The small remainder is in cellular fluids, existing in partly ionized or protein bound forms.

⁕ Biochemical Role of Calcium

↪ Development, growth and maintenance of bone.
↪ Carry messages between brain and every parts of body.
↪ Blood clotting.
↪ Release of hormones and enzymes.

⁕ Effects of Deficiency of Calcium

↪ Hypocalcemia, also known as calcium deficiency disease, occurs when the blood has low levels of calcium.
↪ A long-term calcium deficiency can lead to dental changes, cataracts, alterations in the brain, and osteoporosis, which causes the bones to become brittle.


↪ The average human adult has about 4-5 g of Fe.
↪ Out of this, about 60-70% is present in hemoglobin in red blood cell which is an oxygen carrier in blood.
↪ About 3-5% is present in muscle myoglobin which is used to store oxygen in muscle tissues.
↪ About 15% of Fe is collected to the Fe storage cellular protein which is also called ferritin found in liver, spleen and bone marrow.

⁕ Biochemical Role of Iron

↪ Essential during the times of rapid growth and development.
↪ Required for pregnant mothers, young children.

⁕ Effects of Deficiency of Iron

↪ Lack of iron in blood can cause anemia.
↪ Electron carrier in plants, animals and bacteria (cytochromes). 


↪ Cu is bound to proteins in body as metalloproteins or as enzymes such as oxidizes and blue proteins.

⁕ Biochemical Role of Copper

↪ Essential for formation of hemoglobin in the blood and normal bones.
↪ Helps in the transport of electrons, and storage of oxygen.
↪ Helps in the formation of the pigment melanin in the skin and for the healthy hair .

⁕ Effects of Deficiency of Copper

↪ Feeling cold
↪ Easy bone breakage
↪ Easy bruising


↪ Zinc is a trace element that is essential for a healthy immune system.

⁕ Biochemical Role of Zinc

Regulation of immune system.
↪ Reduction of diarrhea.
↪ Reduction in common cold.

⁕ Effects of Deficiency of Zinc

↪ Loss of appetite.
↪ Slow healing of wounds.
↪ Growth depression.


↪ Nickel is found to have distributed within the nucleic acid, especially in RNA.

⁕ Biochemical Role of Nickel

↪ Involves in electron transfer.
↪ Involves in enzyme activity including hydrogenase and hydrolases (urease).
↪ Involves in Lewis acid-base catalysis.

⁕ Effects of Deficiency of Nickel

 Kidney and liver diseases.


↪ Cobalt is considered as an integral part of vitamin B12.

⁕ Biochemical Role of Cobalt

↪ Helps in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system.
↪ Involves in the formation of red blood cells.
↪ Involves in enzyme activity including methyl malonyl enzyme.

⁕ Effects of Deficiency of Cobalt

 It can cause anemia.


↪ The human body requires chromium in small amount.
↪ Chromium works as an enhancer to the performance of insulin.

Biochemical Role of Chromium

↪ Helps in fat and protein metabolism in humans and animals.
↪ Helps in glucose metabolism by catalyzing the action of insulin. 

⁕ Effects of Deficiency of Chromium

↪ Diabetes, weight loss, anxiety, muscle weakness.