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Yesterday, a family member and myself were discussing the dying process (a family member recently died). It was brought up to me that - supposedly- the human body losses weight at or very near the moment of death. It was also mentioned that some people believe this weight is the soul leaving the body. However, assuming this weight loss does indeed happen, I have a feeling that there is a physical explanation for the weight loss.

I did a quick bit of research on it and found this Wikipedia article about the subject. But since Wikipedia isn't always the best resource, I am wondering if someone has some better information.

Does weight loss at - or near - the time of death occur and, if so, what is the cause?

(My theory was that the body often goes acidic near the time of death and that perhaps it actually starts to eat itself at this time).

  • It depends on the disease processes that were in place during that period. I don't think there's any magic. – Giovanni Tirloni Dec 5 '16 at 10:52
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    Matter can't be destroyed, not even by acid. – Carey Gregory Dec 5 '16 at 21:35
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    After death all the muscles of the body relax, including the sphincter muscles that keep your bowels and bladder from leaking. It wouldn't be in the least bit surprising to find that someone lost a few grams at the moment of death when their bowels and/or bladder emptied themselves. The doctor named in the Wikipedia article should have known that. – Carey Gregory Dec 5 '16 at 21:38
  • @Carey Gregory In response to the first comment, I wondered if that wouldn't come up. He seemed to think that it was about the same amount of weight each time. But then again, it is Wikipedia and I had a hard time finding anything else. – L.B. Dec 6 '16 at 15:32

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