Does the human body lose weight when it dies?


For the purpose of this question, I will presume that you are speaking about right at the moment of death, and not what follows, such as decomposition.

There are some scientists who claim that there is a very tiny change in weight of the human body right at the moment of death. I have heard quotes of as small as 7 grams (1/4 ounce, approximately) to 21 grams. There was a film called “21 Grams” (and a darn fine film, too) which used that premise that that is the weight of the soul, and that it is noticeable and weighable when it leaves the body, but that is the only thing I have ever read.

Sometimes, as the various sphincters relax, the body may release urine and feces, and that, naturally, makes a difference in the weight of a body, but that does not always occur. As far as I know (and I am a mental doctor, not a physical doctor), there is no medical reason to believe that the body loses weight on the moment of death. And realistically, when you think about it, even a person’s spirit, if you believe in the soul, probably does not have any weight, just as intelligence does not have it’s own weight, but is rather lumped in with the weight of the brain.

Later on, after death, there are chemical changes in the body which result in weight changes, but those are all part of the natural process of decomposition, which begins almost immediately, but which is not discernable to the human nose right away.

Thanks for the interesting question. I have a feeling I will be thinking about and looking into this in the days to come.



9 Responses to “Does the human body lose weight when it dies?”

  1. This is very hot information. I think I’ll share it on Facebook.

  2. Hi, interesting post. I have been thinking about this topic,so thanks for writing. I’ll likely be coming back to your posts. Keep up the good work

  3. very interesting but who weighs a body right before death

  4. If the body voids itself, presumably that material is still on the scale, so that should not matter.
    My theory is that the electrochemical impulses inherent in our nervous system are in fact acting as a very weak transformer, and as such exert electromagnetic properties however small on all ferrous objects around the body. I think when the body dies and electrochemical reactions sent by the brain to the nervous system (and to itself) ceases to stimulate the creation of new electrical impulses, this breaks the electromagnetic bond with the earth and poof, we are 17grams lighter relative to the earth’s magnetic pull.

  5. The odd’s heavily favor a logical answer to a logical question. Most questions are logical. Of notable concern, at least to me, is the absence of any supporting documentation using the scientific method as a basis of credibility. Such “credentials” are strangely absent no matter where I seem to search. If such “findings” are indeed available I would appreciate the reference.

  6. All natural foods contain elements which, in many respects resemble albumen, and are so closely related to the convenience that are generally classified under the general heading
    of “albumin. Muscle and bone loss in space create an entire realm of biological concerns for astronauts,. It took time to put the weight on and it’s going to take time to take it off.

  7. TruthHunter Says:

    This is a very frustrating topic. A hundred years and no one
    has repeated McDougall’s work? A change of .03 % isn’t
    much. I am interested, but skeptical. I would be surprised if
    his scale could accurately measure a change this small. Its
    too likely some other factor explains the “change”.
    Still, no one has attempted to replicate this?
    My BS detector is sounding an alarm.

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