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Opinion

Vampire Physiology

Andrew Lindquist | Copy Editor | 01/19/2011

According to vampiric legend, vampires have no pulse, no breath, do not eat and are for all intents and purposes dead. Over the centuries, vampire lore has moved from attributing the cause of vampirism from supernatural or spiritual phenomena to scientific reasons, such as an inability to sustain hemoglobin.

If we follow these rules to through to conclusion, vampires would have no ability to heal themselves, due to the fact that post-mortem wounds do not coagulate. This runs contrary to the vampiric attribute of accelerated healing.

If vampires do not breathe, that would mean their bodies would be totally deficient of oxygen. Oxygen is necessary for the production of ATP and is used as fuel to burn glucose, the two main forms of energy in the human body. Without ATP, death is imminent, but since vampires are already dead it is sketchy as to whether or not this actually matters.

Perhaps the two above paragraphs are reasons why vampires need to feed on human blood. One thing that cannot be solved thereby is the acquisition of vitamin D. Vitamin D can only be obtained via exposure to sunlight, or by consuming foods that are or are derived from organisms that photosynthesize. Since vampires cannot survive exposure to UV rays, they would suffer a severe deficiency in vitamin D. This would lead to cartilage degradation, increased risk of heart disease and cancer, and a suppressed immune system. Since vampires don’t really decay or get sick, this isn’t a huge issue.

Also, much to the dismay of fans of Edward Cullen, the fact that vampires have no heartbeat and therefore no blood circulating through their veins means it is impossible for them to achieve an erection.

We can counter all of the above flaws in vampire physiology by recognizing that by the same token by which it is impossible for something that does not have blood flow to close a wound, it is impossible for a normal human to die and be made into a blood sucking creature of the night. Still, it’s fun to think about.