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Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsChemistry · 9 years ago

Structures of nutrients?

I'd like to know the brief structure of all the important nutrients within the body

Including : •Carbohydrates

• Fibre

• Fat –

• Protein –

• Water –

• Vitamins and minerals

and how some are absorbed into the body, this will help me greatly with my study into biochemistry :) Thank you!

2 Answers

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer
    Source(s): Soc!
  • 9 years ago

    Carbohydrates: These are sugars, sucrose, fructose, glucose, galactose. Many different types. They all have rather similar structures but if you type in glucose on google, you should find that Wikipedia has a good picture. They pass through the large intestine in aqueous form and absorbed in the blood where they are taken to the liver (and muscles but mainly liver) for storage (stored as glycogen). That is if it makes it that far. Glucose is constantly being absorbed by every cell in your body to be used to make ATP in the mitochondria.

    Fibre: They are long chain glucose polymers. They are made into straight chains because of the fact that they form a polymer of different isomers of sugars and this makes them dead straight due to repulsion between units of the chain. It has the effect that they can be bundled into tight structures which can't be attacked by enzymes in our stomach. This means that any fibre which is mainly cellulose that makes up plant cell walls in our diet, passes out of the stomach largely unchanged and is excreted in our solid waste. Cows can digest cellulose but only because they have four stomachs which means they have four chances to attack it with acid and enzymes.

    Fat: Fat starts as a molecule called glycerine (glycerol) which is a three carbon organic compound with a hydroxy group on each carbon. The hydroxy groups are able to form ester bonds with carboxylic acids. These then form triglycerides, and these are your fats. If you ever hear the term lipid, these are essentially the same thing except one of the carboxylic acid chains is replaced with something else, a phosphate or carbohydrate for example.

    Protein: Another polymer, this time made up of amino acid monomers. Amino acids are an amine group connected to a carbon with a hydrogen and some other group (normally called R) and a carboxylic acid group. The amino acids differ by changing R, and there are 20 naturally occuring amino acids in most animals although there may be more in the strange bacteria that live around oceanic vents, but that isn't totally confirmed I don't think. Proteins can be thought of as made up of four stages. Primary is the unique sequence of amino acids that make that protein. Secondary is the idea that different amino acids can interact with other amino acids at different parts of the chain to form either alpha-helix structures or beta-sheets. These can be found in pretty much all complex proteins. Tertiary is the idea that stronger bonds and intermolecular forces can bend and force the protein and all helices and sheets in there into a 3D complex shape that is unique to that protein and in fact governs a lot of its Chemistry. Quaternary is the idea that many protein complexes can be made up of different proteins. For example Haemoglobin in blood cells is made up of four proteins that make the overall haemoglobin protein. If you do Biochem proteins will become very familiar from the start. They are a major part of the subject.

    Water: Is a molecule, it is H2O as I hope you already knew. The hydrogens are covalently bonded to the oxygen, giving all atoms octet configuration. The oxygen has two bonded pair of electrons and two unbonded pairs. The electrons repel one another and the result is that the bonded pair are pushed around the molecule until they are approx 104 degrees apart. This has the effect that the entire molecule becomes polar. The unbonded electrons sit on the negative part while the protons form a positive end. This gives water the really important property that it can form hydrogen bonds by attracting one end of a water molecule with another end of another water molecule. This gives water a higher melting and boiling point than can be predicted through comparison alone. H2S doesn't form strong hydrogen bonds and is a gas at room temperature as a result. It is also why ice is less dense than liquid water, the hydrogen bonds and shape of the water molecules physically push the molecules apart resulting in ice floating on water. Very important for evolution on the Earth. Absorbed mainly by the small intestine. Although small amounts can be absorbed through the walls of the stomach especially if you are drinking a lot of it without any food.

    Vitamins: They are large and complex. Your body absorbs them and essentially chips pieces off of it as and when it needs it. Absorbed in the intestines like everything else.

    Minerals will come in the form of ions since they are basically metals. In solution or bound so something else like maybe a protein complex or whatever. Used by the body for many different reasons. For example Calcium is used in bone/teeth structure.

    Biochemistry is very broad and very complex when you really get into it. But you will be lead into it steadily. Just remember that each piece will fit together in some way later on. So try to keep up as you move through and even though some things seem remote they won't be.

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