To understand hydration, one must explore the human body and first understand how the body relies on fluids to maintain its well-being. The body has a means of balancing internally to maintain proper functions and levels.
WATER: It is scientifically proven that the body consists of 60 – 70% water. It is logical to say that at this percentage, this is a large portion of our body’s mass and drastic changes in that percentage can be damaging. There must be a balance.
ENERGY: The body is always using energy. Even at rest, nerves are firing, muscles such as the heart are contracting; therefore, energy is constantly being used. When the body is active, energy use increases allowing elevated loss of fluids and nutrients. The balancing act takes effect and realizes the body needs to refuel or replenish that which is lost.
Homeostasis is the ability to regulate the internal environment to maintain a stable equilibrium. There are many things the body must regulate, or BALANCE internally. The process is simple. The body has a receptor to acknowledge the change in internal environment. The receptor reports back to the control center – aka brain (see Hypothalamus). The control center then sends out a signal or a stimulant to an effector to start the corrective action. That effector can be a muscle, organ or structure in the body that responds to the stimulant.
One important function homestasis must regulate is the body’s 98.6ºF temperature. When this temp fluctuates up or down, the body is able to set forth a corrective action. Many things can contribute to fluctuation of body temperature and active, working muscles most certainly affect temperature. During activity, as muscles work (use energy), metabolic activity of cells occurs and cellular reactions give off heat. The body’s temperature rises and the body responds with corrective action.
Hypothalamus is a small but powerful gland in the center of the brain. This is the controller, which receives the receptor’s signal of a change in internal environment.
The hypothalamus controls many things, one being the regulation of the body’s temperature. You could say that the hypothalamus is the body’s thermomerter. It also controls thirst and fluid intake to assist with temperature and fluid balance. Temperature and thirst are both vital to the body’s ability to maintain hydration and return to an internal balance.
What we conclude is that the hypothalamus listens to the body’s messages. It then carries out homeostasis to properly regulate or BALANCE the internal environment of the body!
The Hypothalamus in action with Homeostasis
As the body works and activity increases, homeostasis puts it in overdrive. The body heats up and homeostasis will trigger the following as ways to cool it down:
- Heat loss by RADIATION – increased blood flow to skin surface
- Heat loss by EVAPORATION – sweating
- Trigger THIRST – Thirsty sensation stimulates drinking
Fluid Balance There is great value in what our body tries to communicate. Our response to stimuli is important to the BALANCE internally. What if signals from our body are neglected/ignored?
Let’s say a hard day’s work is ahead of us. There is much to do in a short period of time so we pick up the pace. We begin to sweat to the point clothing is saturated. The skin is reddish and hot to the touch. We become thirsty, and internally, dehydration is underway. Do we stop, take a break to cool down and have something to drink?
If we answer no and decide to keep pushing forward, we must be aware of the consequences.
THE SPONGE: A sponge is a great example to illustrate the magnitude of fluid balance in the body. A sponge is designed to absorb fluid – such as water. For illustration purposes, lets say a sponge is in a proper state when fully saturated with water. As you squeeze and continue to increase pressure the water is removed from the sponge until empty. The sponge is then set aside and it begins to dry and become very rigid. The sponge will not return to its proper state until water is replenished.
Our body is very similar to the sponge with the absence of fluid or neglect of proper fluid levels. As we put pressure on the body it constantly works to balance by requesting replenishment of fluids and nutrients. Without proper action, the entire body is at risk. Consider the efffects to the hypothalamus alone. Will it function properly? Will its ability to trigger thirst become delayed or altered? Will it’s neurons fire and release the proper hormone to activate the corrective body function?
Summary The hypothalamus and the process of hemostasis is vital to the body’s wellness. The fact is the body contains this gland and balancing process for a reason. When the internal BALANCE shifts to an unbalanced state, the body uses its natural process to make lifesaving adjustments.
As we have discovered, the more output from the body, the more activity taking place internally. As activity continues, more heat is expelled increasing core temperature and loss of fluid and nutrients. Homeostasis begins the cooling and replenishment process. Thirst tells us fluid is needed but water alone will not replace the electrolytes lost. We choose our favorite Sqwincher product along with water and replenish the body properly.
We are protecting the #1 machine – the body!