How does heat produce in body?-The Biology Bug

This article gives an idea about what exactly heat in your body is? How does it produced and regenerate? What is thermal regulation?

Key points: Endotherms, heat generation in body, organs involved in production of heat, excess production, cooling agents

When you get pimples or boils on your face, sometimes rashes on your body, headache, hair fall  or fatigue, then I am sure you all must have heard by someone in the house saying that there is too much heat in your body. This is absolutely correct because all you’re experiencing are the symptoms of increased heat in your body. But have you ever thought what this heat is? Where does it come from? How is it generated or produced in someone’s body? Further article explains the process of heat generation by various parts in human body.

Let us first understand there are two categories of animals when it comes to thermoregulation. Endotherms which are warm blooded animals and ectotherms that are cold blooded animals. Humans are endotherms which means they have to adjust the body temperature according to the environment unlike the ectotherms which includes fishes, amphibians, reptiles etc. Human body tries to maintain that with the help of several metabolic processes. Heat is one of the byproduct of the metabolic processes which occur simultaneously.

The body finds its own way to release the heat outside and controls thermoregulation. It finds the ways to release excess of heat by skin, acid production or high rate of burning calories. Human body has several sources for production of heat. One of the major sources is liver but it also includes kidneys, muscles and brain. Highest metabolic activity can be seen in the liver. Liver has more than fifty functions to do at regular intervals. The heat generated in the liver is basically due to cellular respiration. Since liver is a large organ, there are many cells that contribute to the heat. Also sometimes when old blood cells are split, they release the bonding energy which again leads to heat production. It is observed that blood leaving from the liver and brain is comparatively warmer than the normal blood.

Now when we talk about various organs in the body which are responsible for the process, it is important to note that there is one organelle which is present in almost every organ of the body which is mitochondrion. This is called as powerhouse of the cell and basic function of this organelle is to produce ATP. Therefore during the production of ATP i.e. energy, some amount of heat is released.     

Another way in which the body produces heat is by hyperthyroidism. Thyroid gland is an endocrine gland which produces certain hormones like T3 and T4. When there is excess production of these hormones, the body starts getting warmer. Thyroid hormonal imbalance can lead to excess heat production. In response to external environment hypothalamus sends a signal to thyroid gland which increases metabolic activity and makes more energy.

What causes excess of heat?

Let us understand one thing that body continuously produces heat to maintain the body temperature and to respond the external environment. But in few cases when the production is not controlled and body can not regular thermal conditions.

Micro-organism

There can be multiple reasons for that which include bacteria or any micro-organism which elicits the immune response. In order to kill that organism body increases the temperature. Therefore fever is one of the immune response to react against foreign substance. The only concern in this case is when body goes on increasing the temperature and starts damaging the other cells. Therefore we need to visit the doctor. Similarly we can give an example of mosquito bite. In response to that bite, body produces excess heat in that specific area and it becomes reddish in color.

Medicines

As we have already discussed that liver is one of the major source for producing heat. It is because all the food i.e. complex substances that we eat goes to the liver, breaks down to the simple substances and then distributed in body. Our liver acts as a checkpoint for all the substances that we eat or drink. Since liver has never encountered medicines at regular basis, it needs to cross check them. It is called as a first pass effect when some amount of medicine is lost due to the liver action. During this effect a lot of metabolic processes occur which contribute to the heat production. Liver is already producing heat via several metabolic processes. In addition to that the medicine causes more heat and the amount of heat depends on the number of medicines. More medicines causes higher metabolic rate and produces lots of heat in the body.    

Food

Generally the food which takes more time to digest or has high amounts of carbohydrates and proteins tend to produce more heat in the body. The body has to spend lot of energy for breaking down the high molecular weight substances. As a results lots of metabolic activity takes place and lead to excess heat production. It also applies to the oily or especially saturated fatty substances. This type of food has more amount of fats but generally body has a tendency to store the fats in adipose tissues and can be useful in starving conditions. But at the same time some of the fats are broken down and involved in metabolic pathways. Hence they also contribute to the heat.

How to reduce heat naturally?

  • According to Ayurveda one should drink plenty amount of water. As we all know that water is a universal solvent and can dissolve almost anything. It also act as a cooling agent.
  • Yogurt and buttermilk are the best option to reduce heat in your body. These substances are slightly acidic in nature and contribute to neutralize the effect of heat.
  • The best way to reduce heat is to consume sweeteners rather than using sugars. Therefore consumption of honey can be benefecial to reduce heat.

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