So you want to be a cannibal? Well, there's some bad news for you buck-o: your body doesn’t cotton to breaking down and expelling human meat. The health effects of eating people range from mental deterioration to a complete breakdown of your intestinal system that can cause you to rot from the inside out. We don’t know how much human meat you have to eat for that to actually happen, but do you really want to find out? Cannibalism has long been looked down upon as something only practiced by tribes, forgotten by time, who skulk through the jungles of the world seeking their next victims. But there are plenty of people in the Western world munching on human skin in the 21st century, and their bodies are not happy about it. Keep reading to learn what happens if you eat people.
What does eating human flesh do to your body? Does it give you the strength of those you’ve digested? Or does it just make you really sick? Put on your kiss-the-cook apron and get ready to find out. Have you ever succumbed to your dark desire to dine on human flesh? Have you ever let your inner Hannibal Lecter out for a meal? If so we’d like to hear from you. Leave us a comment and give us your best recipe.
Your Brain Deteriorates
In what might be the most disappointing news about cannibalism since Red Dragon (zing!), feasting on the brains of another human can cause the degenerative neurological disease Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (or CDJ if you're nasty). Sufferers of CDJ begin to exhibit Alzheimer's-like symptoms along with hallucinations, paranoia, and regular ole psychosis.
There's no known treatment for CDJ, but doctors are working on what they hope will be a medical breakthrough. Although the easiest way to avoid this disease to cut human brains out of your diet all together.
You'll Eventually Develop Kuru Disease
It may take some time, but if you develop a taste for human brains you'll also develop the dreaded Kuru disease, a long-gestating disorder that deteriorates your brain at a rapid pace and acts like a human version of Mad Cow Disease. Scientists who have studied this condition have noted that Kuru can gestate for up to 60 years before it begins to take hold, but it can also act within months of your first meal. So if you are going to eat human brains, make sure you've crossed everything else off your bucket list.
Your Body Gets Loaded Up with Delicious Prions
"Yum, Prions!," said no one ever. Prions are an infectious agent composed entirely of protein material, called PrP (short for prion protein), that can fold in multiple, structurally distinct ways, at least one of which is transmissible to other prion proteins, leading to disease that is similar to viral infection. It's not bad to have these in your body, they're naturally occurring and if you don't do anything to exacerbate the amount that you have in your bone marrow, spinal cord, or brain, you should be fine.
The one sure way of drastically increasing your prion intake is to eat a human brain - which is full of those delicious prions. Once you start popping prions they form sponge-like spores that attach themselves to your brain and prevent your cells from functioning properly.
You'll Get Constipation
Some of the most famous cannibals in the world are the Old Christians Club rugby union who crashed in the Andes Mountain range in 1972 and had to resort to cannibalism to survive. While on the mountain they noted that eating nothing but protein and water gave them constipation that lasted up to 35 days. The take away from this story is to make sure that you eat some leafy greens and some fiber with your meal of melted ice and charred human leather.