We spend 24 hours each day using the atmosphere without even thinking about it. Our bodies need the air that fills the atmosphere to breathe and live. The human body takes what it needs from the air and then releases the rest as you breathe out.

It is interesting that the human body actually needs one of the biggest components of the air, but it does not get it directly from the air as you breathe it in.

The air in the earth’s atmosphere is made up of gases, particles and water vapor. The percentage of the main atmospheric gases changes a little as moisture is added or taken away.

The biggest component in the atmosphere is nitrogen. Nitrogen is 78.084%! Oxygen makes up 20.947%. Argon and carbon dioxide make up a much smaller percentage. Argon is 0.934% and carbon dioxide is 0.035%. These are the percentages of dry air. When water vapor is added, these values will drop slightly.

There are also other components of the atmosphere in very tiny amounts. These components include neon, helium, methane, krypton, hydrogen, nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide, xenon, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, iodine and ammonia.

The human body needs oxygen from the atmosphere. We breathe it in and our lungs do the work to exchange it to our blood supply in order to help our body do many functions.

The body also needs nitrogen to do many functions to keep us alive. One of the functions is to help to produce new cells. Nitrogen is the biggest component of the atmosphere and our bodies breathe it in with each breath.

It is interesting that our body cannot use the nitrogen we breathe in because the nitrogen is not in the correct form for our body to use. We need to eat green plants to get the nitrogen into our body in the format it needs to be in order to use it. The chemistry of the transfer from atmospheric gases to our body has many complicated obstacles to overcome before they can be used.