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Research Article

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The Body Maintains Balance in Fluid Levels


BRYCE BERNALES, JACKSON HILTON, RACHEL LOBL, ROBERT ORTA
STEM Marin, San Marin High School, Novato, California, 94945

Abstract
The human body has the ability to maintain its water balance, utilizing a process called
homeostasis. We tested the rate at which the body expels water with respect to the
amount consumed. After consuming various amount of water (up to 600mL), we
measured the time the subject could wait before urinating. Our experiment showed that
drinking more water causes the subject to have a greater urge to urinate. We also found
that drinking 150mL of water with breakfast will last until lunchtime without the need for
urination.

Introduction Methods
Homeostasis is the process in which the body This experiment requires water, a measuring
maintains a balance in all of its systems.1 For cup for cup, and a watch.
fluids, this maintenance is done by the Record time of day, as well as the
kidneys. They extract excess water from the water and food consumed that day for each of
blood stream, and eject it from the body via the test subjects. Each test subject must drink
urination.2 When our water levels drop, their assigned amount of water none,
causing dehydration, it can result in a fatal 150mL, 300mL, 450mL, or 600mL. Right
drop in blood pressure. Our main source of after drinking, the test subjects will set a timer
water is drinking, followed by the small on their phones for themselves. When they get
amounts in food.3 From 2005 - 2010, the the urge to urinate, they will go to use the
average youth in the United States consumed restroom and stop the timer before they
450mL of water per day, while the average urinate. They will record the time. Once all of
adult consumed over a liter.4 the data is collected, compare and analyze the
We are attempting to show that the data.
human body can maintain homeostasis as it In our experiment, our testers
relates to fluid balance. We predicted that themselves took their own data, and recorded
drinking more water would cause the body to the times and observations with their
urinate more quickly. smartphones, sharing it with the rest of the
group after they were done testing. We also
measured the water the testers drank with a
measuring cup, and took the differences of
times the testers drank and peed in order to enough to last until lunch without producing a
find the correlation. need to urinate.
The most successful part of this
Results experiment was our data collection. We were
Through our experiment, we discovered that able to eliminate several variables, and we
drinking water has a direct correlation to the made few errors in following our procedure.
time it takes for the body to signal the need to Some improvements that could have
urinate. The more one drinks, the sooner the bettered our experiment would have been to
bladder sends a signal to the brain to get rid of be able to test more people. This would have
the water through urination. given us much more accurate data. We also
could have used a more precise measuring
Amt. system testing how long it would take for test
Test Time
Water D/U* Notes subjects to use the restroom in correlation to
Subject (H:MM)
(mL) what they ate or drank beforehand.
1 0 5:05 D little thirst Errors that were made could have been
no signs of in the amount of water we drank. While
2 150 4:39 D dehydration until measuring we used a dry measuring cup which
12:40 made it difficult to pour into the water bottle
3 300 1:31 U and some spilled. Another error made was the
mild/moderate lack of accounting for the differences in our
urges to pee test subjects. Weight, height, physical activity,
4 450 1:02 U immediately and overall fitness are variables not accounted
after, and before
drinking,
for in the experiment and could influence the
results. Since an individual requires a certain
urges to
5 600 0:53 U regurgitate, sore
amount of water that differs from another
stomach individual the quantity of excess water in each
*Drink (D) means that the subject drank water instead of our test subjects would differ. The amount
of urinating due to dehydration. Urinate (U) means that of physical activity would also be inconsistent
the subject needed to urinate to remove excess water in the test subjects resulting in a difference in
from their system.
water loss due to sweat. Although the food
eaten before and during the experiment were
Discussion
recorded, more detail would be required to use
This data proves homeostasis because it shows
it to analyze data.
that the body expels fluid quicker when it has
To further investigate this experiment,
more of it. This shows that the body attempts
we could analyze the correlation between the
to maintain a consistent water level by
time it took to urinate and the weight the
ejecting excess fluid. It also showed that
subject has. Another method we could do is
drinking 150mL of water with breakfast is
to test how different foods or liquids eaten
beforehand can affect the time taken to
urinate.

Implications
The data shows that the more water a person
drinks, the more water they expel. This is
proof of homeostasis in the human body since
more excess water results in the body
removing more water through urination. This
data can be used to explain how water levels
in the body, if increased too much, will see a
decrease very soon after the increase. We can
also use this data to act as a control for other
experiments, or compare it to experiments
whose dependent variable is weight to make
sense of the data.

References
1. Homeostasis. Dictionary.com,
Dictionary.com,
www.dictionary.com/browse/homeostasis.
2. GCSE Bitesize: Water balance. BBC, BBC,
www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/a
dd_ocr_pre_2011/homeostasis/waterbalrev1.s
html.
3. Spector, Dina. Here's how many days a
person can survive without water. Business
Insider, Business Insider, 9 May 2014,
www.businessinsider.com/how-many-days-ca
n-you-survive-without-water-2014-5.
4. Nutrition. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, 12 May 2017,
5. www.cdc.gov/nutrition/data-statistics/plain-wa
ter-the-healthier-choice.html.