Super-Human Athletes due to Aerobic Digestion

There are TWO ways that organic material can decompose. One is if there is minimal oxygen around, which turns out to be the usual case inside the stomachs of humans and other mammals, which is called ANAEROBIC DIGESTION. It uses a type of bacteria which are called ANAEROBIC BACTERIA. Anaerobic digestion is NOT very efficient! Among other things, the chemical composition does not completely occur and there is considerable METHANE GAS which is generated. All the jokes about flatulence in people are due to this. (Did you know that virtually ALL people are flatulent around TWENTY TIMES every day?) Anaerobic bacteria also cannot digest some organic materials, which we call FIBER, which then necessarily pass right through us (and cows). The other method is FAR more efficient, and it is called AEROBIC DIGESTION. It uses a different type of bacteria, which are FAR FASTER and more effective in digesting virtually all organic materials. More importantly, those aerobic bacteria can nearly completely digest ALL foods! NO methane gas is generated, just carbon dioxide (which has no smell!) And nearly all the food eaten gets digested, which provides much more energy for the person and leaves less waste material to dispose of!

See the theme? Imagine having a hose pushed down your throat as when your stomach is pumped to get rid of something bad you ate. But instead of pumping anything OUT of your stomach, have that hose connected to a very small AIR PUMP! The idea is to ADD air (which is 20% oxygen) or even pure oxygen INTO the stomach. In other words, you would be making a single change, of the interior of the stomach, and therefore the intestines which receive everything from the stomach, AEROBIC instead of the previous ANAEROBIC environment.

Instead of needing to excrete 1/3 of all the food eaten which is now non-digestible, the body might digest nearly all of it! In other words, the person would get around ONE AND A HALF TIMES the energy for metabolism!

Since aerobic digestion is also MUCH faster, the body could receive all that energy MUCH FASTER! Where a Marathon Runner tends to feel 'the wall', this person might be getting FAR MORE ENERGY from food and FAR FASTER.

I consider most of this to be a really bad idea! However, I believe I see certain ways that the concept might be used to wonderful benefit for some medical purposes. So, where I would normally have put this in a no-one-hears pile with about a dozen other concepts that I feel no one should know about, I am letting this concept be known. I almost hope that it is proven to be wrong!

But what if Medical Research might discover that 'enhanced digestion' might be a medical advantage, such as when part of the Intestine had to be removed due to cancer? Or a hundred other situations which I could not even guess at?


Human digestion is an anaerobic process, meaning that it proceeds with virtually no oxygen being available. Quite a few different processes occur, mostly in the small intestine, with a few others occurring later in the large intestine.

I have noted that human digestion is often not very efficient. It is possible to determine an efficiency for any type of food pretty easily. For example, a pound of peanut butter says on its label that it has around 2,800 Calories of food energy in it. An actual pound of (dry) peanut butter contains around 10,000 Calories of chemical binding energy in it.


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Virtually all of that chemical energy is in the binding energy of carbon and hydrogen atoms in the complex carbohydrate molecules. That means it is exactly the same as the energy we gain from digestion!

But our human digestion cannot process many of those complex molecules. In this case, there might be as many as 7200 Calories of chemical energy which we simply cannot digest.

You might be familiar with the fact that cows have a complex stomach system where they can digest a far higher percentage of grasses that they eat than we could, which is essentially near zero!

Because of the environment of the intestines, there is very little oxygen that can possibly ever get into the intestines. Therefore all the digestion processes are necessarily Anaerobic. It turns out that Anaerobic processes are generally rather slow and inefficient.

So my thought is to somehow introduce significant amounts of AIR into the stomach. The premise is that the AVAILABILITY of oxygen might encourage Aerobic bacteria to start acting within our intestines.

Thinking again about that pound of peanut butter: What if you could tolerate the taste of it, and eat that POUND? You would now have around 10,000 Calories of chemical energy in there. IF this aerobic idea had any merit, you might then be able to have an active life for FIVE DAYS, at 2,000 Calories per day Metabolism, without needing to eat any more food. I am not sure I see any reason to do that, unless you were on Antarctica!

I encourage you to read my presentations on the HeatGreen devices. Normal Composting generally is an Anaerobic process, where Mesophilic bacteria decompose (digest) SOME of the organic materials in a Compost Pile. That Composting process is generally very slow, generally taking MONTHS to complete, and even then, only around HALF of the organic material in a normal Compost pile gets decomposed. In contrast, I designed the HeatGreen devices to be suitable to a different sort of bacteria, called Thermophilic bacteria. These Thermophilic bacteria have two tremendous advantages over Mesophilic bacteria. One is that they seem to be capable of digesting virtually ANY organic material. The other is that they work FAST. Where Composting takes months to digest half of the material in a Compost pile, the HeatGreen devices can generally digest virtually EVERYTHING in just two or three days.

See the connection?

So, what if a significant amount of oxygen can be introduced into the stomach. Enough so that some air and oxygen might be carried into the small intestine. That MIGHT provide an environment where some sort of more efficient bacteria might help in digesting MORE of the food we eat and FASTER. Specifically, what if this works as suggested. IF enough oxygen is available, the aerobic bacteria multiply amazingly fast and within an hour, you would have millions of aerobic bacteria helping in your digestion. The body would now be receiving MORE energy into the bloodstream and FASTER. Would this then allow a Marathon runner to run faster or longer? Would that runner be able to run cuntinuously for 24 or 48 hours? I don't know.

From a Medical perspective, what if having access to a lot more energy and a faster supply of that energy, might enable the body to repair injuries faster or better? What if the body might now become able to grow as fast as cancer cells to be able to overwhelm such invaders, where the body can currently not compete? What if that added supply of energy might enable the body to accomplish a lot more with the same blood flow? Or reduce the chance of brain aneurisms, or who knows what else?


I feel I might have some insight on this subject. Even as a small child, I was aware that I tended to SWALLOW AIR along with the food that I ate. I never thought much about it as I assumed that everyone else did the same.

But what if even a small amount of air and oxygen swallowed and therefore in the stomach, might have provided SOME Aerobic bacteria inside my gut. I do not know as I have never had any biochemical analysis done. But I am aware that in 65 years of life, I seem to have had remarkably few maladies. Yes, I have had occasional headaches, and very occasional colds. Also occasional sore muscles and even lower back pain. But after College Graduate School (at around 23), I recall only needing to visit a Doctor for Poison Ivy itching, and (twice) a dislocated little finger. Maybe that is not unusual, I do not know.

But I am tempted to think that it did not hurt me to have swallowed gulps of air along with food. In fact, you can try that right now! Open your mouth and fill it with air, close your mouth and then swallow as though there was food in your mouth. You will see how easy it is to gulp a little air into your stomach.

Considerable Research is needed to confirm whether there is any merit in swallowing air. My personal experiences suggest that there is.

This particular concept is a more aggressive idea. Consider the same way a Doctor slides a tube down your through to pump out your stomach of some poison. But now use a small air pump and filter to send extra air into your stomach.

Would any value be found in that? Hard to say. But the experiment is simple enough and no more intrusive than when your stomach is pumped out!

I see a darkly amusing aspect to this! Every sport seems to now be infested with many athletes who secretly use 'illegal chemical advantages' such that they win races and receive millions of dollars. See the humor? I am merely suggesting adding AIR, which cannot possibly be banned in any sport! And even an unpleasant 'stomach pump hose' cannot be banned, I would think! Interesting!


This presentation was first placed on the Internet in December 2011.

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C Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Physics Degree from Univ of Chicago