I was reading some text on deep sea physiology. I got to know that solubility of nitrogen in fat is five times that in water. The exact text from the book animal physiology adaptation and environment by Knut Schmidt-Nielsen, was:-

The body fat, which in a normal lean male constitutes about 15% of body weight, dissolves about five times as much nitrogen per unit weight as does water

I think that having more body fat increases your body's nitrogen saturation capacity, thereby increasing the probability of nitrogen bends.
(Nitrogen bends or aeroembolism is the phenomenon in which nitrogen gas forms bubbles in the blood stream near joints and cause pain)

So can I conclude that fat people (those who have more body fat), are more likely to develop nitrogen bends in their blood stream?

I'd be grateful if anyone out there can help.


1 Answer 1


Well, you're right! First of all,

Nitrogen Bends or Decompression sickness (DCS) is a disease that arises as a consequence of bubbles forming within tissues. Inert gases, such as nitrogen and helium, enter the body through the lungs during inspiration.

Increased BMI (Body Mass Index) implies an increased fat content of the body. This increased body fat leads to increased nitrogen storage and hence possible excessive nitrogen bubble formation and thus increased the risk of development of DCS.

Learn more about the relation between Fat and Nitrogen Bends by reading Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Volume 36 No. 3 September 2006

  • $\begingroup$ Your Welcome, @Anonymous! Please read the link I've attached. It will surely answer your question with some more clarity. $\endgroup$
    – kartlad
    Commented Jan 8, 2019 at 4:14

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