Our Temperature has evolved

A recent study showed that┬áthe normal body temperature of humans has dropped. Established as the norm, based on the temperatures of 25,000 people about 150 years ago, we all think of 37 degrees Celsius or 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit as our basal body temperature. Men now run at an average of 36.6 C (97.9 F) and women at 36.7 C (98.0 F.) It isn’t a lot, so what’s the big deal? Nothing really for the average person, but for scientists, it is interesting because it tells us that we have physiologically changed and evolved over just the past fifteen decades Perhaps it is because of changes in our environment and how we have modern ways to keep ourselves heated and cooled. It could be the foods we eat and the microorganisms we are exposed to, or perhaps it is indicative of a drop in overall inflammation.

I’ll leave it to the experts to tell us if it is good news or bad news, but at first pass, I can see it both ways. It means our metabolic rate is probably lower. If that’s because of decreased inflammation, great. If it is just because of lifestyle, it may help to explain the obesity epidemic. Are we burning fewer calories at rest? Does the fact that we are changing at a reasonably rapid rate mean future generations will adapt more smoothly to our changing environment; that we can worry less about our great grandchildren?

For certain, this will raise a lot of questions, and I look forward to more research. For now, make sure you have a thermometer at home, and don’t think you have cold blood if your temp is a little lower than expected.


Read: Why It is Important to Have a Working Thermometer

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Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness & Parenting Coach. She works with parents who want to feel more confident when helping their children and coaches young adults to help them better navigate college life and transitions. Contact her at drkarenlatimer@gmail.com to learn more. She is the author of two Audible Originals, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents and Worry Less, Parent Better. She is also the co-founder of the app that makes your life easier and puts social in a healthier place -- List'm.