How does the human body generate the heat to stay on about the same temperature all the time?


Bonus: What happens with the “generator” when you have a fever?

In: Biology

It’s got something to do with homeostasis; the process of keeping a relatively balanced and stable internal environment.

Basically, the human body generates heat, and that heat is either added to or reduced by the external environment and activities of the body. This can range from temperatures and wind factor, to exercise and sleep.

The body needs to stick to around 37.5°, I’m pretty sure the number is. So if the body temperature drops, the receptors pick this up and send signals to the effectors (for example, muscles) to vibrate and generate extra heat, thus causing shivering and hopefully returning your body temperature to normal. Conversely, if the temperature rises, the receptors will send signals to other effectors (for example, the sweat glands) and cause sweating, which cools down the body.

When the body has a foreign disease that it needs to get rid of, it often tries heating itself up to get rid of it. A lot of bacteria can’t survive above a certain temperature, and the body attempts to achieve that, often causing fevers.

That’s how I remember it, anyway. I could be wrong or inaccurate on some things, but that’s the general gist of how it goes.

Edit: Holy wow, thanks for the gold, stranger!

Metabolism! When people talk about burning calories, it’s more literal than you might think. Our bodies “burn” the sugar glucose, a chemical fuel, by reacting it with the oxygen we breathe. They isn’t a flame in your tummy or anything though, the oxidation reaction all takes place in the wet phase, in the bio-chemical soup inside the mitochondria inside your cells. The reaction releases the same amount of energy as if it were done in air, but is regulated to maintain body temperature.

Use more energy, burn more sugar, make more heat.