The urinary system is significant for body metabolism because it regulates the content of blood and the fluids of the body. The major organ of this system, the kidneys, filtrates body fluids and contributes to the acid-base balance. For athletes, it may provide some insights into the strategies to reach specific goals of weight and appearance control. The current paper describes the basic mechanism of the kidneys’ functioning and discusses some implications for athletes. It will be shown that the urinary system is highly influential for the whole body and that it can be dangerous if athletes do not treat it wisely.
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The body needs to obtain several groups of nutrients, namely, amino acids, fatty acids, glucose, and nucleotides, which constitute catabolic processes. Through anabolism, the body uses these molecules to create proteins, fats, carbs, and nucleic acids, releasing energy. The process of obtaining substances through digestion and using them to build up essential molecules for body functioning is called metabolism. Hormones help to regulate how energy is obtained and released. When glucose is collected from food, it increases blood sugar levels and causes the secreting of insulin, which should stabilize the glucose level. Insulin initiates the protein synthesis process, while other hormones (cortisol and thyroid hormone) cause protein breakdown (Evans & Heather, 2019; Sinha et al., 2018). Thus, the functioning of the hormonal system is connected to metabolism.
The fluid containing the blood with other molecules is filtered by nephrons in the kidneys. The system of nephrons consists of tiny tubes, and their three main functions are filtration, reabsorption, and secretion (Lawrence et al., 2018). One part of each nephron is the renal corpuscle, which includes glomerulus, which is a ball of many capillaries, and the Bowman capsule at the outer side. Filtration happens in glomerulus, and water and proteins go to vasa recta, and the rest of the content passes glomerulus and flows into the renal tubule. The latter consists of the proximal convoluted tubule, loop of Henle, and distal convoluted tubule, and collecting duct, which provide tubular reabsorption, as well as produce urine and several hormones.
However, some hormones, such as vasopressin and aldosterone, regulate the influence secretion of urine. Vasopressin regulates urine volume, which is why it is also called antidiuretic hormone. The production of vasopressin is connected with water intake, and lower levels of vasopressin are associated with a better metabolism (Brunkwall et al., 2020). Vasopressin is operating in collecting duct, where it causes changes in membrane functioning and slowing dehydration due to water reabsorption (Lawrence et al., 2018). Thus, vasopressin is significant for overall body metabolism and functioning.
Another role of the kidney is sodium and potassium balance with the help of aldosterone, which is produced by Adrenal Cortex. Aldosterone increases reabsorption of sodium, along with stimulating higher excretion of potassium. Kidneys and lungs also provide Acid-Base balance, which is also known as the body’s pH balance (Nagami & Hamm, 2017). The absence of this balance leads to such diseases as acidosis and alkalosis. The mechanism of the kidney maintaining balance is complicated, but briefly, one can say that it generates bicarbonate in order to excrete hydrogen.
For athletes, kidneys are one of the most risked organs because sports highly increase the pressure on metabolism. The urinate system has to deal with a massive concentration of protein, which may cause damage to the kidney’s functioning. Therefore, it is essential to monitor the condition of the urinary system, maintain a diet with high water intake, and consult about extra protein intake with a medical specialist. It is especially important to screen the condition of the kidneys before starting a career in sport.
To conclude, the kidneys aid significantly in maintaining metabolism and providing energy for the body. The urinary system is connected to the endocrine system, acid-base balance, and overall body functioning. Professional athletes need to be aware of how this system influences the body and take measures to prevent an unfavorable outcome. Although increasing water intake may benefit kidney functioning, it is preferable to monitor the unitary system with a medical specialist.
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Brunkwall, L., Ericson, U., Nilsson, P. M., & Enhörning, S. (2020). High water intake and low urine osmolality are associated with favorable metabolic profile at a population level: Low vasopressin secretion as a possible explanation. European Journal of Nutrition. Web.
Evans, R. D., & Heather, L. C. (2019). Human metabolism: Pathways and clinical aspects. Surgery (Oxford), 37(6), 302–309.
Lawrence, E. A., Doherty, D., & Dhanda, R. (2018). Function of the nephron and the formation of urine. Anaesthesia & Intensive Care Medicine, 19(5), 249–253.
Nagami, G. T., & Hamm, L. L. (2017). Regulation of acid-base balance in chronic kidney disease. Advances in Chronic Kidney Disease, 24(5), 274–279.
Sinha, R. A., Singh, B. K., & Yen, P. M. (2018). Direct effects of thyroid hormones on hepatic lipid metabolism. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 14(5), 259–269.