Why do we not decompose when we are alive?


Does our immune system fight off the bacteria that make us rot? I’m just curious after watching someone describe getting trench foot. Thanks 😊

In: 3

One part is that yes, we have an immune system that’s fighting bacteria and other organisms. But the big part is – as a living organism, we are continually removing and replacing dead cells from our bodies. When we die, that entire process stops, cells die at a rapidly accelerated rate (as they’re not getting blood/oxygen they need to survive).

You are correct. Your immune system kills pathogens but sometimes infection takes hold and the immune response can’t diffuse easily into the affected area. It’s a ferociously complex process but I recommend watching kurtgezat on YouTube (if that’s spelled correctly) as they have a good eli5 type video.

In short yes our immune system and organs protect us constantly. I mean I just think it’s wild that literal hours after you’ve died all the organisms that do decomposition just have their way with our bodies, and that it’s our living cells and organs keeping them at bay.

Not an answer per se, but Semi-related. Interestingly and shocking, I recently read about a Japanese man who was irradiated in a nuclear accident. His DNA was completely destroyed by the radiation, so his body could not produce new cells to replace the old cell, meaning he was literally decomposing while alive for 83 days.

Bit of a side note, but may be of interest. A popular definitely of a living being is that it’s a system that actively maintains itself.

When things stop being able to do that, they die. This definition imo works pretty well from the microcosm to animals to stuff like AI (i.e. I’d argue no current AI is alive because none of them try to stay alive).