Nutrition and The Organs
When we achieve this correct energy balance, this is also known as metabolic homeostasis. Maintaining this correct energy balance is important to ensure bodily functions don’t suffer and that overall health is maintained.
In this article we will break down some of the important nutrients required to support specific organ systems and their functions.
Every organ system in the body requires energy from the nutrients we eat. Without this energy there would be no output and with no output the human body would fail.
THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM - The body has therefore successfully adapted at efficiently exporting nutrients for energy production to all 10 organ systems. This process starts with the digestive system, and when nutrients reach the small intestine, they are directly transported to the liver. The liver is therefore the only organ system in the body capable of exporting nutrients to other organ systems.
THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM –The endocrine system could be considered one of the most important when it comes to nutrition. That’s because this organ system is responsible for regulating appetite, nutrient absorption, nutrient storage, and nutrient usage, along with many other functions such as reproduction.
The endocrine system is also home to a number of glands within the body, such as the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenals, thymus, pineal, pancreas, ovaries and testes. Each of those glands secretes at least one or more hormones, which are biological molecules that regulate cellular processes in other target tissues.
The body has two methods for signaling other systems, either through nerve connections, or through hormones. The endocrine system is responsible for producing the majority of hormones used by the body to signal the beginning or ending of some process. The production of these hormones is dependent in a large part by availability of nutrients.
One important point to consider here is that all of these systems are connected. They are either functioning or they are not. For the endocrine system, adequate nutrition is critical for the optimal functioning of all of these glands.
THE CIRCULATORY SYSTEM - The circulatory system is essentially the body’s own in-built delivery service. Its primary function is to transport nutrients to cells and waste products away.
It is comprised of the heart, blood and blood vessels. The blood is the main transporter that is pushed around the body by the heart. It travels through a complex blood vessel network, comprised of arteries, veins and capillaries.
The capillaries deliver this nutrient rich blood to the cell and exchange this energy for metabolic waste. These tiny capillaries have a reduced diameter to reduce the speed of blood flow, giving the cells added time to absorb the nutrient rich blood and exchange it for waste and carbon dioxide.
THE NERVOUS SYSTEM- The central nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord and a host of other nerve bundles in the body. This system is comprised of neurons, and the human brain is estimated to contain over one hundred billion neurons alone. The brain is also known as the ‘command center’ to the CNS as it controls all body functions.
For example, when we decide to pick something up, say a deadlift in the gym, a sensory neuron transmits a signal from our muscles through the spinal cord and into the brain.
It then processes the signal and replies via another neuron in the brain, that travels back to the muscle that will lift the weight. This signal stimulates those muscles to contract, and you are able to pick up the weight. This process occurs at lightning speed and all enclosed within a vast communication network of cells.
All nerve impulses travel by the movement of charged sodium, potassium, calcium and chloride atoms. As you know, these are a few of the essential minerals in our diets and considered essential because of the important role they play in the CNS function.
The mineral potassium aids in proper nervous system function by regulating nerve impulses. Potassium plays a role in action potentials, the electrochemical impulses your nerve cells use to transmit a signal throughout the cell. Over the course of an action potential, sodium and potassium flood into and out of the cells, providing a temporary electrical signal that elicits a response within a nerve cell. Foods rich in potassium such as bananas, prune juice and oranges can help us consume adequate levels of potassium each day, supporting proper nervous system functioning.
Calcium also plays an important role in regulating action potentials in nerve cells within your brain and throughout the body. Calcium’s main function is to initiate action potential and return it to normal state once again.
Calcium consumed in the diet is therefore of importance, such as in dairy products, beans and kale.
It’s therefore important to find the right dietary balance to support the optimal function of the CNS. Aside from a diet high in fruit and veg, while low in processed fats and sugars, one that is also rich in omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants can provide the brain with more energy and protection.
THE IMMUNE SYSTEM - The immune system is another complex organ system in the body comprised of white blood cells, skin, mucus and bacteria. Its main role is to seek, recruit, attack and destroy foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses that enter the body.
THE MUSCULAR SYSTEM - The muscular system allows the body to move voluntarily and involuntarily (digestive system and heartbeat). It is comprised of over 600 skeletal muscles, and each and every single muscle will require energy to move and perform its functions.
Muscle cells, just like liver and fat cells, have the ability to store this energy for when needed, in the form of glycogen. This storage doesn’t last for long as every muscle contraction relies on energy delivery to the muscle.
When energy levels are low, this muscle contraction weakens. The body does not need to receive this energy as direct glucose like the brain, as muscles will also used alternative fuels such as amino acids and fatty acids to provide energy.
THE ORGAN SYSTEM- The organs work together in maintaining our health, and nutrition plays an important role in its functioning. Doctors focus on organs for simplicity, but the Health Guardian must consider the body holistically, as a system of systems, and consider the impact these organs have on each other, while coping with pathogens, trauma, and the stress of daily life.