Homeostasis, have you heard this word over and over again and wondered what is it and why do I want it? You are not alone! There is some confusion on what is homeostasis, and what is the importance of homeostasis in the body.
Let’s clear it up!
Today’s modern world has increased the average lifespan, but it has also shown increases of diseases. Was your first thought cancer or another terminal illness? While that is also true let’s look simply. How about the increase in now the common type diseases such as obesity, hypertension and even type 2 diabetes?
These chronic common diseases have skyrocketed in significance and numbers. Why? These diseases are a result of failures of homeostasis. A naturally occurring process that we were equipped to perform from birth! We rely on it to keep us healthy and achieve wellness.
Homeostasis is the essential mechanism of our bodies that keep it running without a hitch. It allows us to adapt, change and evolve when exposed to certain environmental changes internally or externally.
Why is not working properly in so many of us in this day and age… Let’s find out!
So, what is Homeostasis anyway?
When defining what is homeostasis the key is the ability to maintain a balanced state in a
constantly changing environment. This can be an internal stimulus or external in our physical environment. It is our bodies ability to handle and adjust to stimuli.
The literal definition of homeostasis “it is the ability of an organism to maintain stability despite changes”. Maintaining a stable, relatively constant internal environment. It is a self-regulating process that we all conduct in our bodies daily without any thought or effort for the most part.
Our internal body temperature is an excellent example of homeostasis that we do not have to think about to maintain. When we are hot, we sweat. When it is cold, we shiver. That is our bodies way of balancing this internal temperature. Keyword here is “balancing”.
Body temp is just an easy example. Homeostasis takes place in the regulation of all our body’s functions. This includes our organs, nervous system and even our mental state.
For more details this video from Bogo Biology makes a great addition.
Video Credit: [BOGObiology]. (2016, December 3. 5 Minute Bio – Homeostasis. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/kAy-03hIfck
Why is this homeostatic balance important?
What is the importance of Homeostasis in the Body?
This naturally occurring phenomenon is the way nature works to ensure that balance stays in place. It is essential to keep the body in homeostasis to obtain and keep optimum health, mental clarity, stability, and bodily functions.
This homeostatic harmony in our bodies prevents and wards of disease and illness. Leaves us feeling great and functioning properly.
When our bodies are not able to conduct this balance on its own for various reasons, we are unable to achieve homeostasis naturally.
This leads to:
- Decreased immunity
- Disease Onset or Amplification
- General ill health
- Aches and pains
- Basic Physical functions decline or stop working (such as temperature
control, pancreatic balance, kidney function and more)
- Break down in mental function (ability to think
and act clearly)
- Emotional wellness. (anxiety, depression, moodiness)
- Energy Depletion
A good example of disrupted homeostasis can be seen in the commonly known disease, diabetes.
Proper blood sugar levels in the body are regulated by the production of the hormone’s insulin and glucagon. These hormones are produced by the pancreas but also influenced by the brain and liver and used throughout the body. It is meant to be a harmonic balance of food consumption into energetic fuel for the body to use. It is part of our endocrine system. Let’s look at it simply.
When you consume food:
- The brain triggers the pancreas to produce insulin.
- This insulin communicates with the cells of the body in our fat and muscles to take up the glucose of this food to be used as energy.
- When all is needed is used then remaining is then converted to glycogen in the liver for storage.
- This lowers blood sugar levels to a normal range and signals the pancreas to reduce the insulin production.
- When you go without food consumption for a while the liver then converts the stored glucagon back to glucose and releases it into the blood.
In homeostasis this constant working balance keeps the whole system running perfectly.
But what happens when this system is out of balance and not functioning homeostatically, the resulting diabetes. The pancreas no longer produces the proper insulin or responding to the signals it is receiving, sometimes both.
The balance is thrown off!
Causes of Homeostatic Imbalance
As you see from the example above the importance of homeostasis in the body but there are many more. Maintaining this balance in the body is essential to wellness. So, what causes this imbalance to occur? Be sure to Check out the last on the list… it is the number 1 cause!
- Genetics. In many cases, we have a predisposition in our Genes to be more susceptible to certain diseases and disorders. This hereditary influence can be prevented and
overcome if a person maintains a healthy lifestyle in many cases.
- Improper Nutrition. Your body needs a certain level of vitamins and minerals to
function optimally. When your body is starved of essential nutrients it can
throw the whole balance off.
- Mental Instability. Our mental states and emotional well-being have a direct impact on the chemical make-up of our bodies. When the mind is stressed it decreases our ability to react and function normally.
- Physical Inactivity. Regular physical activity and exercise are vital to maintaining a healthy body weight, muscle and bone strength, and cardiovascular health. Inactivity can result in physical weakness and break down.
- Improper Sleep. The body and mind both need “off time”. Physical rest is an essential part of many of the bodies functions as well as mental focus and activity. When proper rest is not achieved the result can be a poor immune system, fatigue, headaches,
anxiety, and improper organ functions.
- Toxins. Toxins come in many forms. They can exist in a polluted environment such as air pollution or even black mold. They can also come from the consumption of foods and drugs. Many synthetic drugs prescribed or otherwise can have side effects and toxic reactions on certain functions of the body. This also includes recreational drug activity as well.
- Environmental influences. In addition to toxins from the environment above a homeostatic imbalance can occur based on other influences in your regular environment. A long hard
winter, lack of sunlight, excessive heat, are some weather-related issues. They
also can stem from a working environment, or living in an unclean space, or
worse having to live in degradation or having a lack of fresh foods and clean
- The big one, and #1 STRESS! Our modern world is loaded with stress. Work, relationships,
money, family and more are constant stressors in our daily life. Stress affects
us mentally and psychically. It poisons our bodies and is the root cause of
many diseases. Leading cause of our lack of homeostasis is STRESS!
Now we know what can cause an imbalance, how can we get ourselves realigned?
How can you maintain homeostasis?
Your head may already be swimming with ideas on how to maintain homeostasis from just reading through the causes. How many were shocked by the idea that our body can be thrown off balance by these all too common factors? I was! If you haven’t read my story be sure to check it out, and you can see my own battle with homeostatic balance.
What can we do, there are many options!!
- Improve your Diet. Introduce healthy, fresh natural ingredients into your diet. Avoid preprocessed quick foods.
- Introduce a plan for physical activity. Movement of any kind is better than being idle all day. Schedule physical exercise even if it as simple as stretching or walking. It all helps.
- Get plenty of rest. 6 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep is the minimum that you should try to obtain.
- Receive counsel for emotional and mental issues. This can be professional, friends, family or even in relationships where you can talk about your feelings and express any issues you have.
- Remove toxins. Take a look at the medications you take and be sure they do not have side effects that are impacting your greater health. Discuss it with your Doctor if you feel you need a change there. Stop toxic bad habits such as smoking or recreational drugs. Also, remove any environmental toxins you come in contact with on a regular basis.
- Improve your environment or living conditions.You can not control the weather, but you can control your interior weather. Add daylight bulbs, allow more sun in, keep a constant comfortable temperature,invite plants indoors. Clean up your space and make it more productive for health, mind and spirit.
- REDUCE STRESS. Meditate, take time for self, do things you enjoy, write a journal.These are just a few ways to help manage stress.
OK, I know that is easy to list and read but many of these are not so easy to implement! But it is worth it.Create a plan and follow through. Each step you take towards returning your homeostatic balance will improve your overall health and wellness!
An excellent ancient practice that is still very relevant today is Ayurveda. I recently wrote two articles on the topic that may help you to discover a plan that works for you. Ayurvedic practices are just one way to make an improvement in your natural balance.
- What is Ayurveda | Understanding the Ayurvedic Basic Principles
- Basic Ayurvedic Practices you can Start Today to Feel Great Tomorrow!
When maintaining or achieving homeostasis is more challenging then it is time to talk about adding supplements to your plan to reach your goals.
Supplements that Encourage Homeostasis
Before running out and investing in a “pill” for a solution be sure to use all your other resources first. It is essential. A supplement is a BOOST to a PLAN or LIFESTYLE change. It should never be
relied on as a “quick fix option”. However, implementing a supplement into a clear plan and action can aid your goal of achieving homeostasis.
Evaluate before adding a supplement! Look at your life as a whole. Identify what it is you need “help” with.
- Are you struggling with a physical disease or a genetic disposition that you are struggling with? If so, you need to choose a specific supplement to address your physical need. A doctor, herbalist or a nutritionist may help you identify what you are lacking.
- Is it your diet that is causing the issue? Whole, fresh foods are a great natural way to improve this. A dietary supplement may also be in order to help boost this plan.
- Is it STRESS? There are supplements that can actually help you feel less stressed. Lifestyle
changes can boost these.
I battle with the autoimmune disease Lupus, seizures and other issues. They are both genetically predisposition and a result of living an unhealthy lifestyle in my past. A plan alone helped but was not enough to get me feeling better or to achieve homeostasis. In fact, I am still on a path to achieving it. I have made HUGE improvements and feeling better every day, even GREAT on some days. For me, it took adding supplements to help.
My personal recommendations.
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Are you in balance?
We answered the question – What is Homeostasis! We unearthed its value and the importance of homeostasis in the body. So now the question!
Are you in balance? Have you achieved complete homeostasis?
I know it is a task I work on every day. The more focus I put on a balanced lifestyle, diet, and supplements to boost efforts the greater success is seen!
I want to hear from you. What is your plan, how are you going to achieve it or achieved it! How can I help! Or just your thoughts on homeostasis alone. Let’s have a discussion!
“Knowledge is the Power to a
Better You, Better Health and Unlocking your Natural Power!”