ROLE OF METALS IN THE HUMAN BODY
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Role of metals in the Human Body
Metal ions are needed in keeping our bodies healthy because several biological processes within the body rely on them and if they are absent or scarce, we may contract diseases. On the contrary, other heavy metal ions like mercury and lead are hazardous due to their toxicity. Essential metallic elements may also pose toxicity risks if administered in excess but they are crucial in the body for survival.
Examples of essential metal elements in the body are sodium (Na) Magnesium (Mg), Potassium (K), Calcium (Ca), Vanadium (V); Manganese (Mn), Iron (Fe), Chronium (Cr), Cobalt (Co), Nickel (Ni), Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn), Molybdenum (Mo) and Cadmium (Cd) of these named metals, those that exist as ions include; Fe, Co, Ni, Ca, Cu, Zn and Cr.
A person who has a deficiency of Fe and Co will be anemic, lack of Copper in the body leads to brain and heart related illness. One may also develop anemia. An individual may exhibit retarded growth and changes on hi skin if he does not take in a lot of Zinc. Inadequate intake of calcium leads to deteriorated bones.
Therefore, the significance of medicinal bioinorganic studies relates to the study of diseases that arise due to the deficiency or excessive of different metallic elements in the body and determination of the solutions. Drug industries rely on both essential metallic and other elements. The most vital drugs namely Cisplatia and Anranufin are needed on a large scale for treating genitourinary and tumors on head and neck respectively.
In the human body, these metallic elements play important catalyzed by enzymes. The metal elements achieve this by modification of electron flow within the substrates or enzymes (Frausto, 1991). A biochemical process may be catalyzed by a specified metalloenzyme but the process may go on at a very low speed if the required metallic ion is absent.
Metallic elements also orient substrates with their respective functional groups. Some metal elements contain therapeutic agent. The above cisplatin has traces of platinum and treats cancer caused by germ cells. It also treats lung cancer, bladder palliation and cancer of the cervix, esophagus and those affecting the head and the neck. Research reveals that some cancer forms are resistant to cisplatin and the drug has other side effects.
In therapeutic arena, Titaniun complexes were found to be anticancer; Ruthenium has two complexes namely NAMI-A and KPIOIA which are also anticancer. They help in fighting lung metastasis and tumors. The metal elements play significant roles in enzyme activity within the body. Enzymes containing metal elements are called metallic enzymes. The ions are normally bound onto the protein and positioned in such a manner that they can fit into the substrate. The role of the metallic element in the metallo-enzyme is to catalyze a reaction that is hard to take place. Examples of these metallo enzymes include carbonic anhydrase, nitrogenase ribozyme and many others. About 50% of all proteins have metals needed to perform the protein roles (Beinert, 2002).
Of all the elements; Zinc performs numerous roles in biological systems. Perkins (2004) points out that, it does so because of several properties. First, it has borderline hardness and interacts favorably with other elements forming a strong attachment to proteins.
Secondly, zinc is divalent and therefore stable with respect to being oxidized or reduced. That allows it not to participate in reduction oxidation reaction. Finally, most anions such as OH- and OR- maintain their neutrophic nature when they interact with Zinc.
The best-known toxic metals are Lead, mercury and Cadmium. They pose a great risk especially on women and children. Cadmium is more hazardous on women than it is on men. The three metals are toxic to both reproduction and development issues even at low exposure. An example is the Lead in the maternal blood. It is associated with negative births having impairments, low weight, preterm and abortions. Cadmium at high concentrations is very toxic to neural development in the baby. At high levels, it damages the Kidney, and results in fracturing of bones in women.
Human beings ingest many substances and a higher percentage of what is ingested is toxic. According to research trade organizations have used a safety factor method to establish acceptable and tolerable qualities that have toxicity. According to research, the acceptable daily intake is used in describing the safer levels that can be ingested for the different toxicants inclusive of the toxic metallic elements.
People need to know that for any chemical that contain the toxic metals, an estimation of the quantity of the substance in food can be expressed basing on the weight of the body as Mg per Kg of body weight. The values of required concentrations are set and being exposed to the substance for short periods will not have detrimental effects. If the tolerable daily intake is surpassed, one may experience acute risks on health. The metals are from both natural and athropogenic sources. According to a research that was conducted by Khan (2015) on concentrations of metals in drinking water. Cadmium had a HQ of 5.8 while copper had less than 0.01.
The level of manganese is normally high in drinking water. It goes to up to 63.45 mg/litre, Lead (11.42mg/litre), Chromium (14.60mg/litre), Nickel (1.2mg/litre), Cadmium (15.67mg/litre), Silver (6.0mg/litre), Mercury (2.6Mg/L), Arsenic (4.13Mg/L), Selenium (2.68mg/l), Zinc (10.53mg/l) and cobalt (0.9mg/l). All these concentrations are toxic to human body. For the essential metals, the concentrations must be below the stated values.
Metals are vital in human life. One may contract several diseases if he/she is deficient of the metals. Most metals have been manipulated to design therapeutic drugs that fight diseases such as cancer; ulcers and arthritis presence of metals in enzymes greatly enhance their catalytic process.
Metals in wine
Wine is a beverage that is widely used in different parts of the world. It has both economic significance and positive impacts on human body health. Its production takes place everywhere. The chemical composition of wine is highly influenced by ecological methods and climate.
It is interesting to determine the elements present in wine. This complexity can be attributed to various reasons. Some metals have essential effects on the properties of wine hence the percentages must be monitored progressively throughout the production stages (Zoecklein, 2013) some metallic elements lead to formation of haze and cause unwanted smell and tastes. It is important to analyze the elements in wine since at high levels, they become toxic.
Copper and zinc when taken at low concentration are essential but they become toxic at higher levels. Metal elements such as arsenic, cadmium and lead do not have nutritional value though they are highly poisonous in the body. Analysis of wine to determine the total wine content is important in the giving wine its character and in the classification as per the origin (Frausto, 1991).
Metal content present in wine is controlled by national laws and trade organizations. This regulation helps in the prevention of excessive metal intake which may cause toxicology. The highest level acceptable for minor metal elements are clearly spelt out by the international organization of vine and wine (OIV) (Weiss,1993).
Sources of metals in wine
Metallic elements present in wine are from 2 main sources. The first one is the natural soil on which vines grow. The elements penetrate through roots of the vines and contributes to the ions in the wine. Other metal ions are contributed through human activity such as fertilization, use of machines and environmental pollution by cars and factories (Zoecklein, 2013)
Metals in wine compromises on the quality of wine and on health effects. Essential elements include copper, zinc and iron. They are needed for many physiological needs and are required for nutritional values. A contrary, large concentration leads to toxicity.
For instance, high percentage of copper in wine induces gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. It may also trigger abdomen and muscle related pain. If taken for long periods, it triggers liver and kidney damage.
Know toxic elements include Aluminium, arsenic, cadmium and lead. They do not have any nutritional values; neither do they play any physiological role. Their concentrations are normally kept very low due to their toxic effects. Aluminium leads to neurodegenerative complications like the Parkinson’s disorder. It also triggers Alzheimer’s disease. Arsenic elements in wine may lead skin cancer, lung cancer and cancer of the bladder. Lead and cadmium are trace and they take a long time to accumulate in the human body. Pyrzynska (2019) postulate that 70% of the lead we take in originates from food, drinks and wines. Excessive lead elements present a severe health problem. It destroys the nervous system and impairs the synthesis of haemoglobin. At low levels, lead still causes high blood pressure, heart diseases, malfunctioning of the kidney, disruption of sperm production and disrupted bone formation.
Cadmium originates from industrial processes. The compound leads to bio accumulation particularly in the kidneys and in the liver. Too much wine with a lot of cadmium injures cells in the body, inhibition of zinc and selenium action by its substitution effect. Moreover, it is both a teratogenic and carcinogenic compound.
Generally, consuming wine should not result in high risk exposure to metal elements. Average consumption of wine reduces the chances of contracting cardiovascular diseases. If one consumes wine with high metal content, he/she poses high risks to his/her health. This is true especially for those who take in more than 250ml of wine each day and over long periods of exposure.
Several factors affect metal content in wine. These include how chemicals used in viticulture are dispersed, contamination of the environment and poor cellar practice. These factors strongly affect the organoleptic qualities of wine and are also toxic to health when taken in excess. Metal element concentrations are regulated in wine so that the negative effect on its organoleptic qualities or wine toxicosis is averted. Metal content in wine differs depending on the country and hence wine manufacturers must be cognizant of possible sources of these metallic elements in their wine. In order to maintain health, preventive measures must be followed to avoid ingesting potentially toxic metallic elements. Despite this measure, a lot of effort is needed to control the percentage concentrations of these elements in wine.
For vine farmers, there is need to pay special attention when choosing the soil for planting vines, selection of pesticides and wine preparation process particularly for small scale manufacturers of wine.
Beinert, H., 2002. Bioinorganic chemistry: a new field or discipline? words, meanings, and reality. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 277(41), pp.37967-37972
Frausto de Silva, J.J.R. and Williams, R.J.P., 1991. The biological chemistry of the elements, Chapter: 17.9
Khan, S., Shah, I.A., Muhammad, S., Malik, R.N. and Shah, M.T., 2015. Arsenic and heavy metal concentrations in drinking water in Pakistan and risk assessment: a case study. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal, 21(4), pp.1020-1031
Pyrzynska, K. and Sentkowska 2019. Liquid chromatography analysis of selenium species in plant materials.TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry, 111, pp. 128-138
Weiss, R.B. and Christian, M.C., 1993. New cisplatin analogues in development.Drugs, 46(3), pp.360-377
Zoecklein, B., Fugelsang,K. C., Gump, B. H. and Nurry, F. S., 2013. Wine analysis and production. Springer Science & Business Media.