The human body is an amazing piece of machinery. Full of surprises and incredible processes that make up each person, our bodies are capable of things that were once thought to be impossible. For instance, did you know that our bodies have the ability to lift boulders and cars. However, the ability it limited by our brain in order to protect our muscles from harming themselves. When we are in a situation where our adrenaline is pumping, such superficial abilities come to light. There are several reported cases of such human activities. Here, we have gathered some amazing facts that prove our bodies are capable of incredible things.
1. You’re taller in the morning and shorter at night.
This is an interesting natural phenomena that happens with all our bodies. Every night, when we go to sleep, we all get a little bit taller, and as the day goes on, we all get a little shorter. Even though it seems like a complex process, it is rather simple. The process starts in the vertebral column, specifically in what is known as the nucleus pulposus, or the inner part of the vertebral disc. A gelatin-like material provides cushioning and protection to the spine and as you walk, run and perform other activities. This gelatin-like substance acts as a shock absorber and eventually becomes compressed.
When you rest during the day, it rejuvenates and expands back to its original form. The passive process called imbibition takes place at night or when there’s no load on your spine. The process is repetitive and takes place throughout our lifetime. (source)
2. The heart imitates the music that we listen to.
Studies show that there’s a connection between our heart and the music we listen to. A series of studies shows that various tempos can influence exercise, anxiety, post-surgical recovery, and many other outcomes. Typically, a heart beats around 60 to 100 beats per minute, depending on the individual and their lifestyle. The heart rates of athletes can be higher than 100. Coincidentally or not, most songs have 60 and 200 beats per minute.
Massive 2016 hits such as Calvin Harris and Rihanna’s “This Is What You Came For” (124 bpm), Galantis’ “No Money” (126), Nick Jonas’ “Close” (124), and Lukas Graham’s “7 Years” (120) were at the top of the charts. A 2002 study found that we do have a preferred tempo, which is between 120 to 130 bpm range. Depending on our activity, we tend to select music that matches our tempo. For instance, when working out, the average person’s heart rate is around 160 bpm to 190 bpm, which is also similar with Kent Jones’ “Don’t Mind” (159 bpm) and Alan Walker’s “Sing Me to Sleep” (176 bpm). (source)
3. Like our fingerprint, our ears and tongue prints are unique with each individual. No other person in the world has the same ear curves and ridges or tongue prints as yours.
Yes, it’s true. You’re one in 7.5 billion. It’s not just your fingerprints that are unique. Like your fingerprints, the ridges of your ears as well as the shape and texture of your tongue is unique. No other person in the world can match your combination. In one British study, scientists were able to develop an algorithm that was capable of identifying a single individual out of more than 250 others with a 99.6% accuracy rate by analyzing how light reflects off the curves of the ears. In fact, the ridges in one’s ears are so unique that Yahoo is planning on developing a technology that unlocks smartphones with the help of an ear scanner. With this technology, users are able to set up their smartphones in such a way that calls can only be answered when they press the phone to their ear; thus unlocking the phone and accepting calls.
Like your fingerprint and ears, your tongue is also unique. The shape, texture, tiny bumps and ridges are unique with each individual. Since they rarely get damaged or altered unlike our fingers that can become scarred, scientists are developing a 3-D tongue imaging to aid in identification. (source)
4. The acid in our stomach is so strong that it can dissolve metal.
This stomach acid (also known as hydrochloric acid, or HCL) needs to be strong enough to turn whatever we just ate into a liquid mush. Also called gastric acid or gastric juice, this acid helps us digest the food we eat. The acid is highly concentrated so our stomach renovates its inner layer every 3-4 days in order to protect itself. Studies show that the strength of the acid is powerful enough to dissolve metal objects (we don’t recommend testing that out).
If the stomach acid is not strong enough and allows undigested food to pass through, then the body’s balance is disrupted. The acid also plays an important role in protecting us from bacteria that may be on ingested food. (source 1, 2)
5. The butterfly in your stomach feeling is way more than just a feeling. Scientists from Australia have concluded that there’s a so-called second brain in our body that is located in the intestine.
The little voice in your head that says “don’t trust them, don’t walk down that alley or don’t go out tonight”, along with that weird feeling in your gut, is more than just a feeling. The proverbial sixth sense is something we all have experienced at least once in our lives. With the help of high-resolution neuronal imaging, scientists at Flinders University in Australia studied the neurogenic contractions of the large intestine. Their study discovered that whenever the subject was asked to make a decision, the intestines consisted of prolonged bursts of rhythmic depolarizations at a frequency of ∼2 Hz.
What’s surprising is the fact that the the gastrointestinal tract is the only organ with its own nervous system that can work independently and the study showed that the nervous system has a direct impact on the body. However, studies do show that most people ignore this feeling and those who go along with their gut feeling are usually women. (source 1, 2)
6. Our nose and brain are capable of distinguishing roughly 1 trillion scents from each other. In fact, we are capable of smelling certain diseases. A woman named Joy Milne is capable of smelling and detecting Parkinson’s disease with 100% accuracy.
The human nose and brain are so powerful that they are capable of distinguishing between roughly 1 trillion scents. It was previously thought that we were only capable of distinguishing around 10,000 scents. However, a new study shows that we are capable of much more than that. Humans detect smells by inhaling air that contains odor molecules, which then bind to receptors inside the nose, relaying messages to the brain. In fact, our receptors are so accurate that it can even detect certain diseases.
Joy Milne, a 67-year-old widow, is capable of smelling and detecting Parkinson’s disease, even before the person is diagnosed with it. She first discovered her ability 12 years before her husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Scientists put her ability to test by giving her 12 t-shirts, six of which was worn by those diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Not only did Milne detect all six t-shirts, she also indicated one of the controlled subjects had Parkinson’s.
Scientists were surprised by her ability to detect all six shirts worn by those diagnosed with Parkinson’s but were not intrigued by her opinion on one of the controlled subjects. However, six months later, the man called and informed the researchers that he had been diagnosed, just like Milne predicted. (source)
7. In zero gravity, the heart’s shape literally changes, becoming a sphere and also loses muscle mass.
NASA scientists studying the effects of zero gravity in space discovered that when astronauts were subjected to zero gravity for prolonged periods, their heart started changing its shape. Instead of its regular shape, the heart started taking a spherical form and started losing muscle mass. This is because in space, our hearts do not need to work as hard as it does on Earth; which can cause a loss of muscle mass. This however, can have adverse effects when they return to Earth after their mission. So, in order to maintain the heart’s shape and mass, astronauts have to exercise every day.
With the help of ultrasound machines, scientists discovered that the heart becomes 9.4% more spherical in space. Although the change is found to be temporary, scientists are still unsure if it has any lasting damages. (source)
8. Humans have a “diving reflex” that shuts down bodily functions when submerged in water to prevent drowning.
When we enter cold water, whether it’s the sea or a freezing pool, our bodies change in some pretty interesting ways. The mammalian diving reflex is a natural response our body undertakes in order to ensure our survival. The moment our bodies hit water, our heart rate slows down enormously. In 2015, scientists noted that the reflex stems from signals sent by the trigeminal nerves all over the face. When the nerves detect water all over the face, they send a message to the vagus nerve, which connects the brain to the body and, among other things, regulates heart function.
Scientists also found that the mammalian diving reflex allows divers to go deeper underwater than they normally could. When the heart rate slows down, so does the rest of the process within our bodies, allowing the lungs and other internal organs to function normally while withstanding pressure. The natural response also ensures one’s survival by routing blood flow towards vital organs like the heart and brain. (source 1, 2)
9. If the human eye were a digital camera, it would have 576 megapixels.
Unlike a single frame camera, the eyes are like a video stream, moving rapidly in small angular amounts and continually updating the brain. Both our eyes send signals to the brain, which is combined to increase the resolution further. According to Clarkvision, if the human eyes were a digital camera, it would have the processing power of 576 megapixels. (source)
10. There are people who suffer from auto-brewery syndrome. Sufferers of the syndrome produce ethanol without consumption of alcohol and can get drunk by eating foods as simple as bread.
Auto-brewery syndrome or gut fermentation syndrome is a condition in which ethanol is produced through endogenous fermentation in the gastrointestinal system. People who suffer from this condition can get drunk, just by eating carbohydrate-rich meals such as bread or chips. One of the famous cases involves a man named Nick Hess, who started getting hangovers after he ate chips or bread. His symptoms were so common that his wife thought he was a drunk and searched the entire house for bottles. Sadly, no one believed him until he went to see a doctor, who confirmed that Hess suffered from auto brewery syndrome. The rare medical condition in which an overgrowth of yeast in the gut turns carbohydrates from food into excess alcohol in the blood. (source)