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49

The answer to your question is yes it is certainly possible. At one time it was thought that there was something special about "organic" chemicals which meant that they could not be artificially synthesised out of fundamental elements. In 1828 Frederick Wöhler synthesised urea (CO(NH2)2) which is often taken as the first demonstration that the organic v ...


35

Living organisms can be divided into hetrotrophs and autotrophs. Autotrophs like plants and algae are able to produce complex organic compounds from relatively simple inorganic components. They are satisfied with sunlight, water and other abiotic stuff and do not need to consume "life". We -- along with all other animals -- are not autotrophs, but ...


19

Even on a purely synthetic diet, your body would still use living cells as an energy source. Our bodies contain more bacterial cells than human, mostly contained in our gut. These microbes process any nutrients we ingest and when they die, we absorb their cellular components as nutrition. The lining of the gut is the most rapidly dividing population of ...


14

Your question is phrased somewhat ambiguously as to whether you're asking about the theoretical possibility, the feasibility, or the practical ability in everyday life. 1) Theoretically, yes. It is chemically possible to produce all substances that humans need to survive without the use of living organisms in the process. In the end, biological systems use ...


10

does the microbiome affect food metabolism? Most definitely (and not surprisingly). The Arumugam paper [1] notes that The drivers of [enterotype 1] seem to derive energy primarily from carbohydrates and proteins through fermentation, … because genes encoding enzymes involved in the degradation of these substrates (galactosidases, hexosaminidases, ...


9

Shortest answer: there's nothing special in human biology, you could totally make it Short answer: Bachelor chow! I would totally buy this stuff if they made it. The closest I have now to bland, flavorless, zero thought/effort food is Wheaties. longer answer: Seriously though, dogfood for humans wouldn't be that hard to make. If you just took everything ...


9

Depends on how you define "life"? Is unfertilized chicken eggs alive? What about cow milk? Well there are bacteria in it. What if you get rid of that bacteria? Then some people would not be able to utilize lactose... Also as Bez mentioned rice grains are quiescent, meaning they are in a dormant state and not really "alive" but again depends on how you ...


8

Bioavailability is a concept which applies to nutrients and drugs which pass through first-pass metabolism, i.e. orally (and to some extent nasally) consumed substances. Anything absorbed in the gut first passes through the liver before reaching the rest of the circulation, and both the gut and liver may metabolise it to some extent. The liver in specific ...


8

Yes. Rob Rhinehart has developed what he refers to as "a food substitute intended to supply all of a human body's daily nutritional needs, made from powdered starch, rice protein, olive oil, and raw chemical powders" which he calls Soylent. It was developed and tested largely in 2013, crowdfunded late 2013, and is expected to start shipping in 2014. Tests ...


7

Yes, the microbiome affects food metabolism and the diet affects the composition of the microbiome. +1 to Konrad for his response. This is an area of research in which I and colleagues are engaged. Frankly, it is easier to assess the changes to the microbiome based on diet rather than looking at the fecal material to determine (unused) metabolic energy or ...


7

Question: Is it possible for humans to live healthy long lives without eating any type of life, i.e no animals, no plants? First, according to a definition of a living organism(biology-online), milk is not live, because it does not have an ability to reproduce itself, among other... My claim: If you consider milk and honey non-live (no DNA), then, yes, ...


6

The mineral content in tap water differs from area to area as well as the source. The mineral content in bottled water is regulated by the companies that manufacture them, in particular the Mg and Ca content(reference). Death rates tend to be lower in areas with tap water containing higher levels of Ca and Mg. It has been shown that deficiencies in ...


6

No. It is possible but extraordinarily impractical to nourish yourself without killing animals, plants or even bacteria, as many have explained in detail. However, your immune system constantly kills pathogens that infect your body. What's worse, the macrophages literally catch and eat these bacteria alive, so you are very much "consuming" them. You could ...


5

The quantity of nutrients the body requires takes much more physical space than can be included in a simple pill or injection (used only a few times a day). But nutrition can be provided by IV (intravenous administration), and it is used today for some medical conditions. When the IV completely substitutes for normal digestion, it is called total ...


5

No it is not possible. Humans are heterotrophic organisms, which means that we use organic molecules (i.e., food) as a source of nutrients and energy. We use the nutrients to add mass to our bodies. These nutrients are the familiar carbohydrates, proteins, lipids (fats), etc... During digestion food is broken down into simpler organic nutrient molecules ...


5

There is not very much transport of ions or water through the upper layer of the skin, mainly responsible for that is the stratum corneum (SC). Through this layer you will get only with small lipids and also substances which are able to penetrate the lipid layer of the cells like chloroform or DMSO. I think therefore that it is pretty unlikely that you can ...


4

Essential "minerals", i.e., metal cations are magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium, sodium, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, cobalt, copper and even calcium, as we lose a tiny amount of it through urine and sweat. They are all "stored" in some way, but only temporally, so some amount has to be taken up daily. It would show only weeks later, however, if you have ...


4

For what concerns amino acids, mice rapidly reject meals that are not balanced in essential amino acids and continue to look for other kind of foods. This behavior is called aversion response and it is an adaptive phenomena that can be observed already 20 minutes after exposure to the unbalanced food. The mechanism involves brain sensing of uncharged tRNAs. ...


4

Much like Daniel Standage suggests, I think "edible" is more inferried than defined, sort of like looking at a black hole - its absence is defined by the activity around it. Human bodies are capable of metabolizing lots of compounds that become poisonous pass some threshold. In medical terms there are LDmin and MLD and LD50: miminum Lethal Dose, Median ...


4

As far as I know, edibility (wow, I'm surprised that passes the spell checker!) is not a strictly defined term, biologically or otherwise. Humans have been around eating and drinking stuff long before the scientific method was around to study this question rigorously, and before there were regulatory agencies charged with approving new products as "safe." As ...


4

It isn't burning of the calorie you should consider as once digested different calories are stored in the same manner, it is actually the digestion itself. Proteins are by far the most energy requiring foods to digest such that around 20% of the calories in proteins are used in extracting them. In comparison carbohydrates are much easier at around 5-10% ...


4

Broadly speaking, nutrients that enter the blood from the gut, and those that are released into the blood by the liver, are available to any cells that require them. So there is no "guiding to the correct location" in the sense that you suggest. Lipids for example are present in the various lipoproteins and can be acquired from these by all cells. Iron is ...


4

It may be feasible to live without consuming anything that was alive, but it would be incredible difficult. For example, all humans need to consume glucose to survive. Glucose is the only food source used by cells in the brain. Plants are the easiest source of food source for glucose. If we can't get glucose from plants, then we would need to synthesize it ...


4

Well, technically if you are eating something from a plant or animal without killing that plant or animal, then technically you would not be "consuming life" as nothing as been killed. Fruits, for example, can be removed from the tree without harming it and in fact are meant to be removed as that is how the tree reproduces. Ditto with berries, melons, ...


4

Oxidation does not mean inflammation. But oxidation can be a cause of inflammation. Oxidation processes are part of normal cell metabolism (mostly in mithocondria). They lead to reactive oxygen species ($O_2^-$, $H_2O_2$ and $OH-$) which can trigger inflammation via activation of some transcription factors: NF-κB, AP-1, p53, HIF-1α, PPAR-γ, ...


4

Quoting verbatim from this site. The reference is not really a scientific article but you can check the references it cites. Some were not in English so I did not check. However these points are fairly logical Nitrates are the preferred nitrogen source: Non-volatile: unlike ammonium, nitrate is non-volatile, so there is no need to ...


3

The first answer is that humans cannot. Chitin is a major component of the exoskeleton of insects and other arthropods, the cell wall of fungi and bacteria, the perisarco of hydroids and is also present in the epidermal cuticle or other surface structures of many other invertebrates. After cellulose, chitin is the most abundant naturally occurring ...


3

I'm not quite sure what you mean by regardless of x and y being out of balance. Surely it would make more sense to assume you gain 0 weight if x and y are balanced? The prime reason why people get obese is probably because x and y are not balanced for them (there are other reasons though, as well as reasons why people can have it imbalanced and still ...


3

Whether using quantitative models, or "animal models", I think this is a useful quote to keep in mind: A model is a lie that helps you see the truth. -- Howard Skipper As for evidence that using mice models for human nutrition is justified -- I believe there has been a good deal of research that has provided useful insight on the influence of ...


3

According to @Ilmari Karonen's comment and link, I have the answer. Such food does exist. However a person who tried to eat it and nothing else could bear it for only 7 days. He had cravings for "normal" food. The link was http://www.angryman.ca/monkey.html. Apparently the guy had weak will, but that's normal.



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