These supersoldiers are basically just humans, but with a lot of bio-engineering. Basically, any change that is somewhat possible is within our limits. Now, the question is, what would be the effects if breathing pores, kinda like spiracles (not like frogs, coz then the whole skin would have to be made much different), to allow oxygen to much more easily reach certain muscle cells? (Around important muscles like biceps, triceps, quadriceps, other muscles important for fighting) Since one of the main* reasons for our fatigue is lactic acid buildup die to not enough oxygenation in the muscles causing them to respire anaerobically. Since more oxygen is available to these muscles, would they in fact tire slower? What dangers would this present (poisoning the pores, etc.) Btw, assume sweat can't go in these pores.

*There's also ion (Na and Ca if I recall correctly) depletion, but let's not bring that in. Assume that is handled separately, perhaps by bio-engineering muscles that hold more ions. The point being that ion depletion won't hold them back, oxygen depletion and lactic acid buildup would get there before.

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    $\begingroup$ You'd have a large conduit for infection. $\endgroup$
    – NomadMaker
    Oct 31 '20 at 15:09
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    $\begingroup$ The gas exchange surface area of the human lungs 50 to 75 square metres (540 to 810 sq. ft.) The total surface area of the skin is not more than 2 square meters (22 sq.ft.), that is, less than 3% of the gas exchange surface area of the lungs. The pores will of course be only a small fraction of that. You would be better by selecting soldiers with a larger vital capacity, which can easily vary by much more than 3% between individuals. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Oct 31 '20 at 18:27
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. Since that basically answers it, you may just move it down to answers $\endgroup$ Nov 2 '20 at 3:46
  • $\begingroup$ Lactic acid buildup is one of those idea's that has been discredited but remains a feature in mainstream media. Lactic acid buildup does not stop muscles, quite the opposite. Lactic acid even accelerates regeneration of the muscles. The lactic acid buildup and muscle pains are coincidental, rather than one causing the other. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Nov 22 '20 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP wouldnt you develop the pores to contain a miniature lung tissue to expand that surface area? You cant turn the entire skin surface into a lung-like tissue. The local muscle movement would pump the air in and out, similar to our muscles already pumping much of the lymphatic fluid. A bigger problem would be blood flow. Blood passing through these lung tissues would have lost much of their flowspeed. Lymphatic hearts exist (not in humans), those might be added to such lung tissue to pump it into the main bloodstream upstream. Naturally such pores would be located after the muscles. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Nov 22 '20 at 19:19

My answer mostly covers the physiology of your idea.

If this were possible you would have made an alternative route to supply oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the working muscle cells and surrounding tissues. However, for gas exchange to be possible normally a very fine network of vessels with extremely thin walls is required. Having this on the surface of a person's skin in the form of pores would not only have questionable efficacy but would also be limited by things such as clothes, skin oil. It would also mean that the protective keratin layer of the skin would have to be removed to allow for this delicate network to function.

So your first problem is placing a delicate structure on the surface of the body, exposed to harm and stress.

But even with all of this said and done, the physiology was never examined. Yes, it is true that aerobic metabolism yields more energy for the same amount of material used compared to anaerobic metabolism, yet for these processes to occur the cell would still need to have available infrastructure and material to use up. This would mean that for a super-soldier to be able to meet all the power demands during strenuous exercise, he should be able to supply his cells with enough nutrients and have many more available receptors to catalyze the reactions.This would mean that the cells themselves have greater stores of materials, the metabolic system can process extreme loads to maintain with a body-wide supply of those nutrients and the circulatory system can manage the delivery.

This means that merely providing more oxygen does not solve your problem. You are forced to alter the physiology. At this point, you have to elegantly balance many scales with enough room for error in all levels, which is not easy.

Oxygen can always be compensated by the extreme circulation, lungs and the extra pores, but the other parts of the equation leave gaps. In the end, it is quite likely that anaerobic metabolism would be initiated. Other things that you have not also taken into account is acid-balance which bring the kidneys into play, blood cell metabolism which involves the bone marrow/spleen etc...

If your bio-engineering was this advanced to able to balance all of those systems, then by no means would it bother with micro-pores. It would instead have introduced special carrier molecules in the circulation that would provide the energy for the cells in already processed forms such as ATP and in the meantime, make sure the infrastructure is available to process this energy.

Other things that would be worth mentioning is of course infections but this is whole different story.


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