Big Numbers in Our Blood

May 3, 2012 at 11:57 am


By Billie Rubin, Hemoglobin’s Catabolic Cousin, reporting from the labs of Stanford Blood Center

Each of the approximately 30 trillion red blood cells (RBCs) in our bodies (30,000,000,000,000) has about 280 million hemoglobin (Hgb) molecules in it. And each hemoglobin molecule can transport four oxygen molecules from the lungs to any other cell in the body (including your brain, which is using that oxygen to read this right now).

So, what does this mean? It means that your blood is like a little tank of oxygen gas containing:

4 oxygen molecules x 280,000,000 Hgb molecules x 30,000,000,000,000 RBCs = a lot of molecules of oxygen that your tiny but mighty RBCs can carry!

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