How does energy maintain body temperature?
Humans are endothermic beings, which means they produce their own heat like an autonomous biological reactor. This is different with ectothermic animals such as reptiles. These heat up due to their surroundings and, above all, the warm rays of the sun. Our body produces the heat itself, but it can only do this with the help of energy in the form of food (fat, carbohydrates and protein).
If we eat a salami pizza, it is first split into small units during the digestive process, which then pass into the blood. The actual energy generation takes place in tiny cell organelles, the mitochondria, which are found in all body cells. A cascade of reactions takes place there, in which energy is released. This is stored in ATP molecules (adenosine triphosphate) and given off as heat. Certain enzymes split off a phosphate from the ATP after a few seconds to a minute. The energy released here drives our muscles and the brain.
When we are in a resting phase, most of the heat is generated in the liver, kidneys, heart and brain. This is distributed throughout the body via the bloodstream. When we do sports, a lot of heat builds up in the muscles. Since different temperatures always want to balance each other out, the body is constantly giving off heat to its cooler surroundings. That means, he needs warmth and thus food supplies. If we don't eat anything for a long time, body fat is burned as a substitute.
How does the body regulate its temperature?
A body temperature of around 37 ° C is perfect for people. The tolerable range is small: if it is above 40 ° C or below 27 ° C, there is a risk of death. Fortunately, we have a sophisticated system that protects us from this. All over the skin there are heat and cold receptors that transmit their information to the spinal cord and brain. These then send out signals to regulate the temperature. If the body temperature rises as a result of exercise, warm outside temperatures or a fever, we begin to sweat and the blood circulation increases, so that the heat is released through the skin and the critical core of the body cools down. If, on the other hand, we are cold, the vessels constrict and the blood flow decreases, so that the precious warmth remains close to the organs. Trembling, i.e. frequent short muscle twitches, provides additional warmth.
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