What are you?
You are mainly Oxygen. 65% of your body mass is oxygen, a colourless and odourless gas. Oxygen is also is the third-most abundant element in the universe. On an atomic level, you are mainly gas, as 62% of all your atoms are hydrogen. Hydrogen is lightest and most abundant atom in the whole universe. Since hydrogen is lighter than oxygen, you have more hydrogen atoms in your body, but your mass is mainly oxygen.
Is it not completely “wild” that you mainly are colourless, odourless, tasteless, non-toxic, non-metallic and highly combustible gases? The universe and many stars are also mainly composed of hydrogen, so when people say you are “part of the universe”, they are right. You come from the universe and will go back to the universe.
99% of you are made up of six elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium and phosphorus. The rest is potassium, sulphur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium. These 11 elements “are what you are” and is what you need for life.
In total, however, you will have about 60 elements in your body, some will be from things you ate or inhaled, like mercury or arsenic. As you can imagine, they are not good for you and you better try to reduce their presence.
You are gassy, but the combination is liquid
Your hydrogen and oxygen combine to form water (H2O) and adding some carbon we start to see the contours of the “real” you. Your body composition includes fat, bone, water and muscles – certainly not so colour and odourless anymore. Amazingly, persons of the same age, sex and body weight may look completely different, because of the way fat, bone and water combine. You can decide to some extent how that combination looks, but not all of it. Some is genetic, some you can control, indeed change.
You are fat
Fats are primarily carbon and hydrogen atoms and are a soluble organic form, but not in water. Fat is an important foodstuff for us humans and serve both structural and metabolic functions. Fats are also energy dense and an efficient form of energy storage for your body. Fats and oils are all categorized according to the number and bonding of carbon atoms. Fats maintain your skin and hair, insulate your body organs against shock, regulates body temperature and help your cells to function. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, meaning they can only be digested, absorbed, and transported with fats. You will know that there are different fats, and systematic review of data show that you must reduce so-called saturated fats and “trans fats”, while unsaturated fats can be a good friend to “oil” your machine.
You have bone in your nose
Your bones are mostly made of a protein called collagen a mineral called calcium phosphate that adds strength. The combination of collagen and calcium makes your bones strong and help you stand up. At birth you had approximately 270 bones, but many of them have now fused together so you are down to 212 separate bones that you all can break if you try hard enough. When you are young, bone cells are added to the skeleton faster than old bone is removed. Your bone mass peaks in your thirties for both men and women.
When bone mass is disappearing faster than bone cell addition, you have “osteoporosis”. Women have smaller bones than men, and since the hormone estrogen decline after menopause in women (thought to have protective effect on bones) bone loss in women greatly exceeds that in men from around the 50-year age mark. By the age of 65 women and men tend to lose bone tissue at the same rate. There is some fairness after all, but no doubt you will want to be careful with your bones past 65 of age.
In terms of mass, around 60% of your body is water. Some of your key organs are nearly all water: your brain and heart are about 73% water, your lungs are 83% water, your skin is 64% water, your muscles and kidneys are 79% water and even your bones have about 31% water. Water is a building material of your cells, regulates your body temperature, and is the transportation “waterway” for both nutrition and waste (urine), is a lubricator of joints and acts as a shock absorber for many organs, like the brain. On average, women have slightly more fat on their body, and since fat cells have higher density and lower water content, women generally have less water as a percentage of their total bodies. Generally, an adult male need about 3 litres (3.2 quarts) per day while an adult female needs about 2.2 litres (2.3 quarts) per day – either through water, coffee, tea or food.
You big muscle, you!
Muscles are made of proteins built by amino acids that you get from food. By exercising your muscles, you break them down or “tear” the muscle fibres, but the cells and amino acids rebuild and repair them. The faster you repair and recover, the more you can exercise. Not surprisingly, the muscular activity accounts for most of your energy consumption.
Here are some fun facts about you:
· Your tongue is a muscle, in fact multiple, paired muscles
· Experts do not agree on what is your strongest muscle, except it is not your anus. Options include the “masseter” (chewing muscle), the “gluteus maximus” (your bum), or the rectus femoris (part of the quadriceps in the thigh)
· Most experts seem to agree that the skeletal “stapedius” is the smallest and weakest muscle in the human body, ironically helping to stabilise you
· The busiest muscles in your body are the eye muscles, moving more than 100,000 times a day. Your eyeballs is the one thing on your body that does not grow (much) after you are born, albeit they are not muscles
· Your buttocks, the gluteus maximus, is the largest muscle in the body, and have by my extensive Instagram research increased worryingly in certain human species over the last years
· Your longest muscle is the “sartorius” running down the length of your thigh.
Your heart is your hardest working muscle and the one that all other muscles depend on, as do you, so better do what you can to take care of it. Your heart muscle is one of the few muscles in your body that you do not consciously control yourself. That is crazy and very smart. Your body leaves a lot to you, but not that one. It is too important to be left for you to control. Your body do not trust you on that one. It is up to you to take care of it, but you do not have to operate it. That is done by a chemical process that is more reliable than your consciousness.
Your heart beats about 80 times per minute, or 4,800 times per hour and 115,200 times per day. On average, your heart will contract over 42 million times in a year. If you live to be 80 years old, your heart will have beaten approximately 3,4 trillion times – not that anybody is counting.
Your body is your “structure” - quite simply. You most likely will have a head, neck, trunk, arms and hands, legs and feet made of oxygen, hydrogen and carbon. There are nearly 8 billion bodies on the earth, and not one of them, not one, looks or thinks the same. That is insane.
We are all the same, yet totally different and it is all completely crazy.....
You are here. You are this. This is all there is.