Your body goes to extraordinary lengths to remain in balance. This process is also known as homeostasis. Homeostasis is the process by which your body regulates various critical functions including salt balance, blood pressure, and temperature. Perhaps, one of the most important is the balance of water in your body. Water balance is exceptionally critical as your body cannot survive for more than two to three days without water. The manner in which your body regulates the amount of water in your body is fascinating.
A hormone called Vasopressin also known as antidiuretic hormone (ADH) regulates the amount of water in your body. ADH is synthesized in the hypothalamus and is converted into arginine vasopressin or AVP. AVP then is released into your body in response to parts of your body that have a higher concentration of solutes. In simple terms, this means any part of your body where the amount of water is low. The release of AVP triggers your kidneys to begin to reabsorb water from cells around it and make it available to your body. If the amount of water available within your body is sufficient, this process will stop. If it is not, it will trigger thirst and make you want to drink more water. Additionally, vasopressin is also involved in the regulation of blood pressure and temperature.
The release of vasopressin is also regulated by factors other than the level of water in your body. For example, alchohol reduces the secretion of AVP by blocking channels in your nervous system thus interfering with your typical response. Similarly, cortisol also inhibits the secretion of vasopressin. Cortisol is the hormone released when you are stressed.
The functioning of the hormone vasopressin could easily qualify as perhaps the most crucial hormone in your body as it regulates water. Despite this, a low volume of blood can lead to over secretion which means you can end up with toxic levels of water. Yes, there is such as thing as too much water in your body.