Why 98.6 May Be Good For Your Body
As a bitter winter storm rages on the east coast, it’s hard to knock being warm-blooded. But what about the metabolic cost of maintaining a high body-temperature? Well, a new study finds that we and many other mammals keep up such a torrid temp because it’s a Goldilocks situation—98.6 is just right.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine researchers previously showed that every one degree Celsius rise in body temperature wards off about 6 percent more fungal species. So tens of thousands of fungi can infect reptiles and amphibians, but we can only be invaded by a few hundred fungi.
In the new work, the researchers created a mathematical model that weighed the fungal protection benefits versus the metabolic cost of high body-temperature. And the optimal temperature was 98.1, quite close to what evolution figured out. The research was published in the open-access journal mBio. [Aviv Bergman and Arturo Casadevall, Mammalian Endothermy Optimally Restricts Fungi and Metabolic Costs]
Too low a temperature and we’re far more susceptible to fungal infections. Too high a temperature and we’d spend all our time taking in fuel to burn. So 98.6, like that middle bowl of porridge, is just right.
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Also think Thermography.