What is Homeostasis, and Why Is Homeostasis Important?
Homeostasis refers to a state in which a cell or body maintains equilibrium. It is an important part of all living things, as changes are ongoing both inside and outside the cells. Homeostasis is based on feedback regulation loops in the endocrine system. Since the endocrine system regulates cellular activity in the body, it plays a key role in the body's ability to stay in a state of balance.
Feedback regulation happens when a cell or body is exposed to a stimulus that has a positive or negative effect on it. If positive feedback occurs, the stimulus enhances the cell or body response. On the other hand, negative feedback occurs when the stimulus is detrimental to the cell or body.
The endocrine system helps drive many functions throughout the body, including metabolic processes, cellular growth and development, sleep, and mood regulation. When homeostasis is maintained, the endocrine system can function properly, and bodily processes to manage temperature, blood sugar level, and other conditions can be performed efficiently and without interruption. Yet, if the body moves out of homeostasis, it cannot maintain an adequate supply of energy. In this instance, bodily processes may suffer, and the body may become more susceptible to harmful bacteria, viruses, and pathogens.
There are 11 major organ systems in the human body, which include the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, excretory, nervous and endocrine systems. The immune, integumentary, skeletal, muscle and reproductive systems are also part of the human body. Each of these systems maintain homeostasis and often working in conjunction with each other to achieve this balance.
How Does the Body Maintain Homeostasis?
The body does numerous things to maintain homeostasis on a day-to-day basis, such as:
- Maintain Proper Glucose Levels: If glucose in the body exceeds a healthy level, the pancreas can release insulin, which helps the body use sugar and carbohydrates. Or, if the body's glucose level falls too low, the liver boosts this level by converting stored glycogen to glucose.
- Regulate Blood Pressure: The heart senses changes in blood pressure and notifies the brain accordingly. If a person's blood pressure exceeds a normal level, the brain tells the heart to slow down. Comparatively, if a person's blood pressure falls below a normal level, the brain tells the heart to speed up.
- Balance the Body's Water Level: The body requires sufficient water to maintain balance. If the body's water level is high, cells increase in size. And if the body's water level is low, cells shrink.
Environmental factors such as a change in temperature can interrupt homeostasis. These charges are easily correctable with a conscious behavior (i.e., putting on a coat if it is cold). Yet other factors that interrupt homeostasis are not easily correctable, especially if you don’t know what is causing the imbalance. For example, taking a certain medication (i.e. antibiotics) for one health issue (i.e., an infection), may in fact create imbalance in the gut bacteria or increase intestinal permeability. Over time, this may lead to leaky gut and inflammation and if left unabated, may put you on the path to an autoimmune condition. So, in this example, homeostasis is severely compromised and the effects can influence the entire body.
What Is the Best Way to Achieve and Maintain Homeostasis?
There is no surefire way to achieve and maintain homeostasis because we can’t control everything in our environment. Overall, a healthy diet, regular exercise, sleep, and good habits (“clean living”) can help minimize the risk of exposure to environmental toxins that can disrupt homeostasis.
It is also important to identify warning signs that the body may be out of balance. These warning signs include:
- Food sensitivities
- Nutritional deficiencies
Gastrointestinal (GI) issues are often the first and most obvious signs that the body lacks homeostasis . If you are experiencing bloating, nausea, or other GI problems, check with your primary care doctor and discuss a referral to a GI specialist. It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis, and then you’ll be on the path to explore lifestyle choices to help you achieve and maintain homeostasis and whole-body health.
Can Colostrum Help People Achieve and Maintain Homeostasis?
Colostrum-LD® is a bovine colostrum supplement that is clinically demonstrated to help people manage leaky gut symptoms. This supplement may help restore the immune system to a state of balance by remediating a leaky gut. Colostrum’s growth factors help maintain tight-junction integrity in the GI lining. It also contains a rich combination of immune components that help balance the immune system, depending on whether it is underactive (rev it up) or overactive (tone it down).
For people who want to minimize leaky gut and inflammation and maximize homeostasis and whole-body health , Colostrum-LD® is an ideal nutritional supplement. Since homeostasis is important at every stage of life, people of all ages can benefit from this superfood. To learn more about bovine colostrum supplementation, please read our blog.