The chemicals that enter into metabolic reactions or are produced by them can be divided into two large groups. Generally, those that contain carbon and hydrogen atoms are called organic (or-gan'ik); the rest are called inorganic (in"or-gan'ik).
Inorganic substances usually dissolve in water or react with water to release ions; thus, they are electrolytes. Many organic compounds also dissolve in water, although as a group they are more likely to dissolve in organic liquids such as ether or alcohol. Organic compounds that dissolve in water usually do not release ions and are therefore called nonelectrolytes.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.