The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Do you gain atoms as you grow?  (Read 4882 times)

Offline colarris

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 54
    • View Profile
Do you gain atoms as you grow?
« on: 04/08/2011 16:26:32 »
I just wondered, considering babies are very small and adults alot larger and heavier, does your body contain more atoms when you are fully grown? If so, how are they made?



Mod edit - please format the subject line as a question.  Thanks.
« Last Edit: 04/08/2011 16:35:20 by BenV »


 

Offline BenV

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1503
    • View Profile
Re: Do you gain atoms as you grow?
« Reply #1 on: 04/08/2011 16:33:06 »
Yes, many many more atoms.  In order to build all of your tissues as you grow, the body makes use of the molecules you provide it in the form of food.
 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
Do you gain atoms as you grow?
« Reply #2 on: 04/08/2011 17:05:44 »
Food, Vitamins, and Minerals.

In general, the individual atoms don't change, and can't grow or shrink.  However, they can be recombined to produce new and unique molecules.  Thus, you may eat vegetables, but grow muscles.  Certainly a change in your weight would indicate a change in the atoms in your body.

There are some cells in your body that stop dividing at birth, or shortly thereafter including neurons in your brain, and cells in the lenses of your eyes.  But, at least the neurons may get longer, and change shape.  Other cells like hair, skin, and blood cells will grow and divide your entire life (with the reproduction of the blood cells generally occurring in the bones).
 

Offline colarris

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 54
    • View Profile
Do you gain atoms as you grow?
« Reply #3 on: 04/08/2011 20:02:33 »
Thanks.

 But does that mean that our bodies create the atoms themselves, like in a big bang kind of way?
 

Offline BenV

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1503
    • View Profile
Do you gain atoms as you grow?
« Reply #4 on: 04/08/2011 21:25:29 »
No, we merely rearrange the atoms we get from food, we don't make or break any individual atoms.
 

Offline MikeS

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1044
  • The Devils Advocate
    • View Profile
Do you gain atoms as you grow?
« Reply #5 on: 09/08/2011 14:50:45 »
Thanks.

 But does that mean that our bodies create the atoms themselves, like in a big bang kind of way?

All atoms with the exceptions of hydrogen and helium are created in successive generations of stars and re-distributed in supernova explosions.  Most of our body is made of water (H2O) which is about four and a half billion years old.  The other main ingredient is carbon a remarkable element that can bond with itself and ten million other compounds.  The most common elements in the Universe are hydrogen, helium, oxygen and carbon.  It's interesting that life on Earth is made primarily from three of the four most common elements.  Helium, although not important for life is crucial for energy production in stars.
« Last Edit: 09/08/2011 15:02:08 by MikeS »
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Do you gain atoms as you grow?
« Reply #5 on: 09/08/2011 14:50:45 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums