Inorganic salts are abundant in body fluids. They are the sources of many necessary ions, including ions of sodium (Na+), chloride (Cl-), potassium (K+), calcium (Ca+2), magnesium (Mg+2), phosphate (PO4-2), carbonate (CO3-2), bicarbonate (HCO3-), and sulfate (SO4-2). These ions play important roles in metabolic processes, helping to maintain proper water concentrations in body fluids, pH, blood clotting, bone development, energy transfer within cells, and muscle and nerve functions. These electrolytes are regularly gained and lost by the body but must be present in certain concentrations, both inside and outside cells, to maintain homeostasis. Such a condition is called electrolyte balance. Disrupted electrolyte balance occurs in certain diseases, and modern medical treatment places considerable emphasis on restoring it. Table 2.6 summarizes the functions of some of the inorganic components of cells.
H What are the general differences between an organic molecule and an inorganic molecule?
What is the difference between an electrolyte and a nonelectrolyte?
Define electrolyte balance.
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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.