Get to know more about body temperature. Recent analysis of temperature trends shows that since the 19th century, the average temperature of the human body has dropped due to physiological changes. The authors of the new study also highlighted possible reasons for these changes.

New research shows that normal body temperature has dropped over time.

For example, most people only consider body temperature when they are worried about the possibility of fever, infection, or cold.

But body temperature can indicate and be affected by many other factors; lifestyle, age, and ambient temperature will affect how our body dissipates heat.

Body temperature is also a sign of healthy metabolism. Specifically, the authors of this new study explained that body temperature indicates the rate of metabolism, some of which are related to longevity and body size.


So what is the normal body temperature? In 1851, a German doctor named Karl Reinhold August Wunderlich (Karl Reinhold August Wunderlich) investigated 25,000 people in a city and confirmed that 37°C is a human body The standard temperature.

However, recent investigations and analyses show that the average bodytemperature is now low.

For example, a study of more than 35,000 people in the UK and nearly 250,000 body temperature measurements found that the average oral temperature was 36.6°C. Could this difference be the result of changes in measurement tools? Or do the new results reflect longer life expectancy and better overall health?

Miroslava Protsev and colleagues from the Department of Infectious Diseases and Geographical Medicine at Stanford University in California conducted an investigation.

The research team believes that “the observed temperature difference between the nineteenth century and the present is real. Over time, its changes provide important physiological clues to the changes in human health and lifespan since the industrial revolution.”

His article was published in eLife magazine.

Study the historical trend of bodytemperature

To test their hypothesis, the researchers analyzed information from three data sets:

The first data includes data obtained from veterans of the EFF Civil War in 1862-1930.

body temperature: what is the new normal?
body temperature: what is the new normal?

The second group is from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted between 1971 and 1975.

It is the third data set of the Stanford Research Comprehensive Database Environment, which contains data on people who received healthcare through Stanford between 2007 and 2017.

All in all, the scientists obtained 677,423 temperature measurements, which were combined to form a pattern over time.

The New Normal Body Temperature Is Lower

Some of the researchers’ findings include:

Today, men’s body temperature is on average 0.59°C lower than that of men born in the early 19th century.

Similarly, from the 1890s to the present, women’s bodytemperature has dropped by 0.32°C.

Overall, the analysis found an average temperature drop of 0.03°C per decade.

To verify whether this decline was caused by advances in thermometer technology, Protsiv and his team analyzed the changes in the data set and assumed that doctors in each historical period usually used the same type of thermometer.


The analysis results in the data set reflect changes in the collected data. The lead author of the study, Dr. Julie Parsonet, professor of medicine, research and health policy, said: “Our temperature is not what people think.

“What everyone learned when growing up is that our normal temperature is [37 degrees], which is wrong.”

Dr. Julie Parsonet

However, due to gender, time of day and age can change bodytemperature, researchers do not recommend updating the standard for all adults in the United States.

What caused our temperature to drop?

So why does the average bodytemperature change? Dr. Parsonnet said: “Physiologically, we are very different from the past.”

“The environment in which we live has changed, including the temperature of our houses, our contact with microorganisms and the food we can obtain.”

“All of this means that although we think that humans are moniform and are similar throughout human evolution, we are not the same. In fact, we are physiologically changing.”

In addition, Dr. Parsonet believes that over time, the average metabolic rate (indicating how much energy our body consumes) has fallen. This decrease may be due to decreased inflammation.

He said: “Inflammation produces various proteins and cytokines, which speed up metabolism and increase temperature.”

Finally, air conditioning and heating lead to a more constant indoor temperature, so there is no need to consume energy to maintain the same bodytemperature.

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