How Does the Digestive System Maintain Homeostasis?

Homeostasis refers to the ability of an environment or organism to stay stable irrespective of changes. How does the digestive system maintain homeostasis? It all depends on the essential nutrients that come from the food you eat. These nutrients help repair the structure of the digestive system and replenish it when needed. You need to understand that every system in your body depends on the breakdown and absorption of nutrients to build, repair, and maintain tissues. Overall, an abundance of mechanical, chemical, and enzymatic processes help maintain digestive system homeostasis.

How Does the Digestive System Maintain Homeostasis?

Your digestive system is quite complex and so many factors come in to help digest food and get essential nutrients required for repair of any damage to the walls of digestive system.

PH Balance

The process of digestion begins in the mouth, as many enzymes in your saliva help break down food. The digestive tract will lose its effect when there is no pH balance. Your body helps maintain that balance by changing the pH from the saliva. This helps create an acidic gastric environment that helps break down food quickly to protect your body from bacteria and pathogens.

Beneficial Microflora

To maintain homeostasis, your body maintains a hospitable environment for good bacteria. Beneficial gut floras like Bifidobacterium and Acidophilus work well to fight off infections and harmful bacteria when they get a feasible environment through regulation of pH combined with a balanced enzyme ration. These helpful bacteria are also capable of breaking down drug metabolites and carcinogens that may cause cancer. They also help your body produce vitamin K as well as other biologic substance.

How Do the Other Systems Maintain Homeostasis?

Now you have the answer to your question "how does the digestive system maintain homeostasis", you may be wondering exactly how other systems achieve the same balance.

1. Circulatory System

Composed of arteries and arterioles, thin-walled capillaries, and veins, the circulatory system takes blood from the heart, through thin-walled capillaries, and supplies it to the rest of the body. Blood returns to your heart through vessels. Your blood has two parts, plasma and formed elements. Those formed elements are responsible for homeostasis and they use oxygen during cellular respiration to provide energy for metabolic activities. Plasma also plays a role in homeostasis because the nutrients your body needs move through plasma. Plasma absorb wastes and releases nutrients at the capillaries, whereas plasma proteins help maintain osmotic pressure, which in turn also helps maintain circulatory system homeostasis.

2. Lymphatic System

Lymphatic capillaries are responsible for collecting excess tissue fluid and then returning it to the systemic veins by making use of lymphatic vessels. There are lymph nodes along the lymphatic vessels, which are responsible for filtering and purifying lymph. These nodes also contain special white blood cells called lymphocytes that help boost your immune system, which in turn helps maintain homeostasis.

3. Nervous System

The nervous system cannot store nutrients, which is why it is important for it to have a continuous supply of nutrients from blood. If anything interrupts the supply, this may lead to brain damage or even death. In order to maintain homeostasis, the nervous system controls and regulates other parts of the body.

4. Endocrine System

There are major endocrine glands in the body that release hormones. These hormones act as chemical messengers and move through your body in your bloodstream. The nervous system and the endocrine system works together to coordinate the activity of different body parts. The nervous system is the first to react to internal and external stimuli, whereas the endocrine system kicks in later but its effects stay for long. Together, they help maintain homeostasis.

5. Respiratory System

The respiratory system works through the respirator center located in the medulla oblongata. The brain sends nerve impulses to the diaphragm. The rib cage moves outward and upward, whereas the size of the thoracic cavity increases as well. The air pressure in the lungs comes down and is balanced by air that comes in through the nose. The rib cage and diaphragm return to their original positions when the brain stops sending out any stimulatory nerve impulses. The respiratory center also has chemoreceptors, which are extremely sensitive to the carbon dioxide present in the blood. When there is excess carbon dioxide in the blood, the respiratory system becomes active and increases breathing rate, which help maintain homeostasis in this system.

6. Urinary System

Your kidneys make urine when blood passes through them. Urine contains substances not required by cells. In order to make urine, your blood is filtered first and then with all nutrients and wastes it is sent to a nephron where the nutrient molecules and usable water and salt are absorbed again and sent to the bloodstream. The unwanted substances become a part of urine and leave the body.

Other Factors That Play a Role in Homeostasis

PH balance and good bacteria is the answer to the question "how does the digestive system maintain homeostasis". A number of other factors also play roles in homeostasis within the digestive system as well as other systems in the body.

1. Temperature

Many organs in your body help regulate its temperature. Liver and muscle contractions also play a role in generating heat within the body and provide your internal systems with the right temperature to perform properly.

2. Osmoregulation

The process helps regulate the osmotic pressure of bodily fluids. Your body ensures that the water content it contains does not become too concentrated or too dilated, and kidneys help in this case by getting rid of excess ions from the blood. This produces urine which helps maintain osmotic pressure.

3. Sugar Levels

Your body regulates sugar levels to maintain homeostasis. The pancreas releases insulin and glucagon. Insulin helps store glucose in the body cells, which lowers blood sugar levels in your blood. Pancreas releases glucagon when the blood sugar levels are too low, and this makes body cells to release glycogen which is then converted into glucose to raise blood sugar levels.

4. Balance of Fluids

It is important to have the right balance of fluids within the body for the maintenance of homeostasis. The balance is maintained through gain as well as loss of fluids. This is where two hormones, aldosterone and antidiuretic hormone (ADH), play a big role. 

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