The human body is an incredibly well-oiled but sometimes unsavory machine. We’re lifting the veil on some quirks of the body that will surprise ordinary mortals.
We produce 55 kg saddles per year
Feces, consisting of water (75%!), dead bacteria and food particles that are not absorbed by the digestive system, each adult produces on average between 150 and 200 grams per day, i.e. at least 55 kilos per day. On a global population scale, this equates to 11 tons of faeces being disposed of every second. A statistic that can be followed live here.
It is possible to vomit feces
Let’s stay with the bowel movement with a fortunately rare anecdote: It is possible to vomit your excrement. A digestive disorder called faecaloid vomiting (or “pitch”) caused by intestinal secretions that rise up in the stomach, which are themselves the result of a blockage in the intestines or serious illnesses such as cancer.
We produce 1.5 liters of saliva per day
Between 2 and 4 liters of saliva: This is how much saliva an adult produces on average per day, equivalent to around 45,000 liters in a lifetime – enough to fill a swimming pool. And that’s a good thing, because saliva is necessary for swallowing and digesting, protects the teeth from oral acid, cleans the palate and is part of the taste experience. Bonus info: Our saliva contains opiorphine, a substance three times more effective than morphine for pain relief with no side effects.
We have 2 kg of bacteria in us
The gut microbiota (formerly called gut flora) includes at least 100,000 billion bacteria, totaling two kilos, which are perfectly useful for our body. That is roughly speaking twice less than the number of stars in our galaxy. There are more bacteria in our mouths alone than there are people on earth. For comparison: our body has ten times fewer cells (10,000 billion) than bacteria.
Our eyelids and lashes are home to little beasts
House dust mites called demodex live embedded in our eyelashes and eyelids: they eat the dead cells of our skin there, multiply there and die there. Most often they help cleanse the skin, especially from sebum. However, if the eyelashes are not cleaned properly, they can multiply without the usual measures and lead to an infestation.
Women can secrete breast milk through the armpits
During pregnancy it’s natural for breast milk to fill up, but it’s not impossible to secrete it too… through the armpits. This was especially true for Linda Jones, a 39-year-old mother who, after giving birth to triplets, saw her breast tissue swell and expand to her armpits. A phenomenon that she shared on social networks before the media got involved. More rarely, a young mother even reported secreting breast milk from the vulva.
We can sweat up to 10 liters a day
Normally, the body produces between 0.5 and 1 liter of sweat every day, which is 99% water, but also contains minerals such as sodium (which gives it a salty taste) and organic compounds. With intense heat, intense physical exertion, fever or great stress, a good sweat can be up to 10 liters. Note that, contrary to popular belief, sweat doesn’t have an odor: it’s its breakdown by bacteria that live on the skin’s surface that causes the pungent odor.
We can sneeze up to 50 km/h and 9 meters away
According to a recent study, air is expelled through the nose at an average speed of 16 km/h and up to 50 km/h when sneezing, slightly faster than the air expelled when coughing. Depending on the circumstances, a sneeze can throw liquids up to thirty feet. But that only works if you don’t put your hand in front of your mouth.
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