It seems that ‘Elements
in the human body’ is a rather popular high school project
and freshman general chemistry assignment (about 4,380,000
Google hits). And most ‘researchers’ are impressed with the
fact that oxygen, carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen make some 96
wt%, then comes calcium at ‘low’ 1.5 wt%, phosphorus ‘only’
0.7 wt%, then ‘trace amounts’ of dozen other elements.
Many quote Herman J. Muller (Nobel Price in Physiology or
say that a man is made up of certain chemical elements is a
satisfactory description only for those who intend to use him
as a fertilizer."
I don’t know in
which context this was said. However, I believe it was Muller’s
reaction to that ‘weight percentage’ type of data
presentation. You can’t be aware that chromium participates
in glucose metabolism by enhancing the effects of insulin and
at the same time present chromium at a linear weight
percentage graph - its abundance is about one millionth part
of a 1 wt%.