Is water the only inorganic substance humans ingest?

We obviously swallow air, too, but not voluntarily and not as a means of sustenance. So is water the only inorganic compound we ingest?

Nah, there’s a lot of others, salt being the example that first springs to mind. Also other minerals, iron, sodium, potassium etc.

It’s funny… Salt never occurred to me. I feel enormously silly posting my question now. :o

Took me a moment, too… Some things are so familiar that they’re difficult to explicitly bring to mind, like how to tie your shoes.

Calcium. Dirt.

Minerals generally. Salt obviously, but also iron, calcium, traces things like selenium, iodine,…

Didn’t the Master say we use all non radioactive elements besides Helium and Aluminum in some way? Probably just dreamed that column. OP should just change his OP to what elements could disappear and humans would be fine physically. :slight_smile:

I’m assuming ‘inorganic’ in this context means ‘not derived or extracted from an organism’?

Inorganic, chemically, is a compound that does not contain both carbon and hydrogen.

H2O has hydrogen, but no carbon
CO2 has carbon, but no hydrogen.

Both are inorganic.
C6H12O6 (glucose) and CH4 (methane) are both organic examples.

The term organic is derived from the word for living organism, as most organic compounds are created through metabolic pathways in living cells.

We certainly take in many substances, but there aren’t that many that we require and take in in bulk and process. Most of those minerals we get sare in very small doses. And many are already tied up in something organic, anyway.

We take in sodium chloride salt, but also potassium chloride salt. I’m not sure if we process and derive any benefit from other salts, like magnesium sulfate (epsom salt), which makes u[p a lot of the salt in sea water that isn’t sodiujm chloride.
We also require water, and most of what we drink is water. The only other liquid that we drink in any quantity and derive any benefit from is ethanol. We don’t process any of the other alcohols, AFAIK, and they actually are poisonous (methanol ingestion can, notoriously, lead to blindness). I suspect our tolerance of ethanol is a consequence of its frequent appearance in fermented fruit and beverage – if we weren’t tolerant of it, we’d die. Humans aren’t the only animals to do this – bears, apes, and birds are reported to not only “get drunk”, but to sometimes seek it out.
We take in small quantities of other liquids (essential oils, mainly), but if we were to concentrate them, we’d get sick.

I know - however, I suspect the OP means something else.

That would depend on what you mean by “use”. Your body will try to use lead, if you ingest it, but as far as we know you could be perfectly healthy without it.

Really? Because the OP seemed clear…

Proteins, carbs, fats are all organic.

Water is inorganic.

Salts and minerals are the only other inorganic molecules we ingest. Everything else is organic (vitamins, some minerals bound in organic form, proteins, lipids, carbs). What else do we ingest?

Perhaps the OP will clarify.

And are all derived/extracted from organisms…

And is obtainable without being derived from organisms.

I think there is a possibility that the OP is using ‘organic’/‘inorganic’ in some other sense than the scientific one.


There’s also milk, or are you dismissing that as being essentially water-based? Wikipedia describes it as “an emulsion or colloid of butterfat globules within a water-based fluid that contains dissolved carbohydrates and protein aggregates with minerals”. I don’t know if any of the components dissolved within milk could be considered as liquids on their own.

Most ‘minerals’ are actually organic compounds containing the relevant element, e.g., haeme in hemoglobin, muscle proteins, etc. for iron, or cyanocobalamine, Vitamin B-12, for cobalt. One exception is sodium iodide, added in trace amounts to table salt as the source for iodine, needed in thyroxine and other thyroid-gland-tissue components.

Hey, I just learned that Americans spell and pronounce “aluminium”, “aluminum”. Ignorance fought.

I was thinking the same except with mercury, or arsenic.
Although… it’s an interesting theory, I haven’t had a cobalt burger and krypton shake for ages. :smiley:

Yup. Milk is water, with a colloidal dispersion of organic liquids.

Bicarbonate of soda? :wink: (NaHCO[sub]3[/sub])

Maybe he means available for purchase a Whole Foods Market.