So I believe (and correct me if I'm wrong--it's logic, not research) that the human body is pretty much all just processed sunlight based on the food chain. How much, if any, of the human body is made up of materials that did not originate from the sun (e.g., various minerals or other trace elements)?

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    $\begingroup$ The atoms in our body do not come from the sun, but the energy to do chemistry on those atoms does. The material itself comes from other stars that exploded over 4.5 billion years ago. $\endgroup$
    – user137
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 18:41
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    $\begingroup$ So instead of saying we're made of sunlight, we're really just made of dirt. Not quite as uplifting. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ If you want to be inspired by the dirt remember that it was still made inside a star and then blasted across space by a supernova. $\endgroup$
    – user137
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 18:56
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    $\begingroup$ If you want to say it poetically, we're stardust held together by the sun. Condensed and continuously renewed by a giant nuclear forge. $\endgroup$
    – Resonating
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 19:54

1 Answer 1


I think that Carl Sagan said it best:

The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.

The current view of cosmology is that every atom that isn't hydrogen, helium, or lithium was created in the fusion furnace in the hearts of giant stars. These heavy atoms were then spread about the place by supernovas.

However, there's a lot more to the matter that makes up living creatures than just the atoms. The vast majority of the free energy that allows for the creation of intricate organic molecules with complex patterns of chemical bonds (e.g. protein, DNA, etc.) does indeed originate with our sun.


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