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What Do Red Blood Cells Do

Red blood cells (also called erythrocytes) are the most common type of blood cell in the body of humans and vertebrate animals. But what do red blood cells do? This post will answer that question!

What do red blood cells do?

Red blood cells are a vital part of the circulatory system. When you breathe, many gases enter your body. These include oxygen and nitrogen. Oxygen molecules, as you probably already know, are the most important! However, these oxygen molecules need help to get to your vital organs so that your body can function. This is where red blood cells come in! Red blood cells contain hemoglobin which give them their red color. The hemoglobin is able to bind oxygen and carry it to important parts of the body like the brain and your muscles. The red blood cells release the oxygen molecules to these vital organs.

Did You Know…

  • When oxygen binds to red blood cells they become bright red?
  • Without enough iron in your diet hemoglobin (which contain iron) cannot be formed and not enough oxygen is transported?
  • About one quarter of blood cells in your body are red blood cells?
  • Red blood cells take up oxygen in the lungs (for humans and land animals) and gills (for fish)?
  • It takes about 20 seconds for human blood cells to take an oxygen molecule to a vital organ and return to get another molecule of oxygen?

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