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What Is the Relationship between Homeostasis and Metabolism?

By Marlene de Wilde
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Homeostasis refers to the maintenance of a stable internal temperature and environment that enables the systems in the body, specifically, metabolism, to work to maximum efficiency. Metabolism is the amount of energy the body extracts, stores and uses to maintain itself. The relationship between homeostasis and metabolism is such that homeostasis is required for metabolism to work efficiently and effective metabolism is one way the body maintains homeostasis.

The connection between homeostasis and metabolism is a close one in that should there be a disruption in homeostasis, metabolism will be negatively affected. Metabolism depends on the work of enzymes to catalyze the chemical reactions necessary for the breakdown of food into energy. Enzymes cannot work unless the body is kept at a consistent temperature. Homeostasis must be maintained within the cells for the reactions required by metabolism to take place. Should the temperature be too high, then the enzymes will stop working; should it be too low, then the rate of reaction increases, which may be just as detrimental.

Optimal metabolic efficiency is maintained by the negative feedback loop by which homeostasis operates. Should the sensors in the body detect that a variable such as temperature or pH level is outside the narrow range of acceptability, it alerts controllers such as the hypothalamus in the brain or one of the other body organs to alert the effectors such as blood vessels, the skin or hormones into action. In this way, the relationship between homeostasis and metabolism is stabilized.

Internal conditions of the body that must remain stable include the body temperature, pH level and glucose level. These factors are maintained in a normal range unless there is a build up of toxins; in which case homeostasis and metabolism are disrupted and illness results. Maintenance of a stable temperature is managed by antagonistic mechanisms which include effectors such as the smooth muscles in the arterioles of the skin or sweat glands whose role is to increase the body temperature if external conditions are cold or the body needs to fight off a virus and others that lower it when the sun comes out or the virus is defeated by the immune system. Regulators lower and increase the pH level and hormones reduce and increase the glucose in the blood according to need.

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Discussion Comments
By ysmina — On Feb 12, 2014

Does this mean that if I maintain my body temperature at the optimum level, I can improve my rate of metabolism? My metabolism is a bit slow.

By burcidi — On Feb 11, 2014

@ddljohn-- There is definitely a connection between these factors. And you are not wrong in thinking that stress may have triggered these disruptions. Stress is one of the major causes of disease and many experts say the same. It is known that stress disrupts hormone and chemical production in the body. We produce more cortisol than usual which has a detrimental affect on many bodily functions.

It is also believed that stress prevents the body from detoxifying efficiently. Toxins start building up and start damaging various systems. For example, I read recently that a major toxin in the body is acid. When acid builds up in the body for whatever reason, the body creates more fat to store the acid in it so as to prevent damage to organs. This fat tends to accumulate around the stomach area and this accumulation will affect insulin sensitivity. So it's definitely possible that stress triggered your diabetes by messing up your homeostasis. You probably had an inclination towards it already due to lifestyle habits or genes. But stress can be the trigger.

By ddljohn — On Feb 10, 2014

I have type two diabetes and I'm only 24. I developed diabetes after several years of extreme stress due to my work conditions and financial problems.

I've been trying to learn more about the connection between homeostasis and metabolism because I believe that stress disrupted my homeostasis, which in turn disrupted my metabolism. Or it might go the other way. Stress might have disrupted my glucose levels, which disrupted my homeostasis and metabolism. Either way, I'm sure that these are related. I think it's difficult to understand all of the mechanisms in the body and how they may react in different situations. But if I understand these connections at least a little bit, I might be able to prevent future problems.

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