Did you know that your brain makes up about 2% of your body weight but uses up to 20% of your total body energy? Despite being a lightweight, the brain is a complex organ with the most fascinating facts.
How much does the human brain weigh? An average human brain weighs about 3 pounds or 1.3-1.4kg. The weight increases progressively for the first three years as one grows. It can grow up to three times in the first year. The average weight of the brain of a newborn baby is approximately 0.88 pounds (0.4 kg). Women have brains that weigh about 2.8 pounds (1.25 kg) while that of men weigh 3 pounds (1.35 kg).
Even though it is a very light organ, the brain provides the biggest power in the human body. It measures about 167 mm long and 140mm wide. Brains of men have a volume of 1,274 cubic centimeters and that of women is 1,131 cubic centimeters.
What makes up the human brain?
The human brain is composed of 75% water and 60% fat. It is the organ in the body with the highest composition of fat.
The brain also houses over 100 billion neurons. Furthermore, the total length of blood capillaries in the human brain is about 100,000 miles.
The cerebrum is the largest part of the human brain making up to 75% of the entire brain weight. It controls most of the brain functions like language, reasoning, creativity, and logic. The cerebrum is divided into two parts or hemispheres. At the bottom is the brainstem and behind it is the cerebellum. The outer layer of the cerebrum is called cerebral cortex and is composed of four sections i.e. the occipital, temporal, parietal and the frontal.
Does brain weight affect one’s intelligence level?
A couple of sources, for instance, shows that Albert Einstein’s brain weighed 1230 grams (2.7 lbs). This is slightly lower than that of an average man of 1300 grams (2.85 lbs). It is not the size of the brain that matters but the quality of connections and density of neurons. The human brain is composed of approximately 100 billion neurons with each nerve cell connected with about 10,000 other nerve cells.
Over the 7 million years of evolution, the human brain has increased in size. The way the brain hemispheres are connected matters a lot. Corpus callosum is a thick band containing nerve fibers separating the left and right cerebrum.
Additionally, there are other surprising cases. Some geniuses such as Carl Friedrich Gauss, a German mathematician had a brain that weighed 1492 grams (3.23 lbs). The other one is a Russian Revolution Vladimir Mayakovsky had a brain weighing 1700 grams (3.75 lbs) which is a much heavier than that of an average man.
Amazing facts you should know about the brain
The brain forms the main organ not only in the body but also in the nervous system. There are several mysteries that surround the human brain.
One of them is that the brain of a man is larger than that of a woman. The brains of men and women are wired differently especially in the sections that control emotion and language. They also have varying predispositions regarding mental conditions such as autism and dyslexia that are common in men. Women, on the other hand, are more prevalent to conditions such as anxiety and depression. Men also have larger brain volumes in different brain sections like those associated with memory, learning and survival instincts. Women have large brain sections in areas that deal with emotion and language. Various scientific studies have confirmed that having a larger brain is better than a small one.
Although the human brain weighs less, it consumes up to 20% of the total body energy. This is because the organ maintains various brain cells and also fuels the nerves. The human heart pumps blood to various body parts but 20% of total blood goes to the brain. This shows how critical the organ is in the human body. This is because of the many functions it has to accomplish. It looks pink because of the high composition of blood that flows in it.
What’s the role of fats contained in the human brain?
The 60% fats found in the human brain comprises of up to 25% cholesterol. The neurotransmitters and hormones in our bodies are made of cholesterol which is only available in animal fats. The fats in the brain are in the form of myelin. Its function is to insulate the axons of the neurons. The myelin also forms the part of Schwann cells or oligodendrocytes. These are classified as glial cells and help to provide support functions to the neurons. While most of us want to reduce cholesterol, it is quite essential for our brains. It is believed to make the vital part of the human brain and most brain cells will die in the absence of cholesterol.
What’s the role of water in the brain?
75% of the brain is composed of water. The role of water in the brain is to enhance mental functioning. It gives it the electrical energy to accomplish various functions like memory processing and thinking. Human brains rely heavily on hydration. A 2% drop in hydration level can affect your brain function. Brain cells require water to maintain a delicate balance and operate optimally. The balance is disrupted once you lose water and this can lead to a drop in brain efficiencies like short memory impairment and ability to recall long gone memories.
It is thought that in a day, the human brain can process up to 50,000 thoughts. The most exciting fact is that about 70% of them are believed to be bad thoughts. The potential of a human brain to think is quite high. However, experts recommend that we only focus on positive thoughts. Different factors can make brain cells to either regenerate or die. For instance, depression can make you lose brain cells if left untreated. When you treat depression, the brain cells regrow and the brain restores its full size.
Relationship between child birth weight and brain weight
One of the initial things that occur in hospitals is that newborn children are weighed. Birth weight is an important factor in the health of an infant. It signals how things were in the mother’s womb and how the child will develop. Factors such as low-birth weight and premature births can affect the development of a child’s brain afterward. In the case of low birth weight, most hospitals will put in place other measures to supervise the development of the baby. Babies that weight lower than 2500 grams (5.5 lbs) are considered low birth weight.
Birth weight affects both the brains total volume and the extent of the cerebral cortex in the later years of a child. Therefore, birth weight can be used to determine future characteristics and development of the brain. Additionally, children that are born underweight are susceptible to various mental conditions compared to their healthy counterparts. One such disorder is Schizophrenia.
Comparison of human brain vs. that of animals
It is not the size of the brain that is important but the ratio to the body weight. The ratio of the brain’s weight to body weight is quite different in both animals and human beings. Human beings have a larger brain-body ratio of 1:50. Mammals have a smaller ratio of 1:180. It shows that the brain in human beings takes the biggest weight than in other animals.
If it was the size that mattered, then animals could have been very intelligent compared to human beings. Mammals such as chimpanzees have big brains but with less white matter. It shows that they have few nerve cell connections, unlike humans. The brains of human beings have a lot of white matter on the temporal cortex and this is why we can process information quickly compared to other mammals.
Which food can help boost the brain function?
Foods such as almonds, walnuts, salmon, strawberry, eggs whites, yolks, rosemary, turmeric, spinach, and bone broth can help boost brain function. These foods contain essential nutrients that can help eliminate damage on the brain and provide a boost making it perform its daily functions. They should be taken regularly
Can exercises make you smart?
Exercising the brain can greatly give you a mental boost. Such exercise can be; brushing your teeth using a non-dominant hand, exercising in the shower, improving senses through the use of perfume or fragrance, working out in the supermarket by searching for new products, and eating food that is not familiar to your senses.