Again, we’ve completed a full year in which we covered the very important topic of how to cleanse each body system to allow it to function at an optimum level, free of toxins and sludge buildups. Now this year, as we look at the proper functioning of these systems, we’ll consider “what does it take to allow the systems to have the nutrients to allow them to stay healthy.
This month, we’ll consider “care and feeding” of the nervous system. The basic function of the nervous system is to trigger and monitor all communication processes in the body. The Central Nervous System is composed of the brain, (which is the master controller, weighs an average of three pounds, uses 20% of the body’s total energy supply, and contains around ten billion cells) processes signals from the peripheral nervous system; the peripheral nervous system, which is a network of nerves branching out from the spinal cord and reaching throughout the body sending the electrical impulses; and the spinal cord, which collects the electrical impulses.
Neurons look like small squids with a large “head” section and a tail. The head receives message signals from other cells and pass then along to other cells through the “tail”. There are billions of nerve cells throughout the body, and these cells transmit their messages at the speed of about 400 feet per second. That is faster than we think! For example, think about touching a hot stove – we pull our hands back from the heat even before we recognize it burns!
A note from research done in the year 2000 said that prescriptions for antidepressants had increased over 100% in the previous five years. So how can we help to keep ours healthy? Here are some ideas:
- Protect it from injury. Sports injuries, motor vehicle injuries, falls, and military type injuries account for many such nerve problems. We should encourage safe practices and the regular use of protective gear where it is appropriate. Remember, some nerve damage may not be repairable!
- Work “brain food” into your diet. One resource stated that green, leafy vegetables are rich in brain-healthy nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene. And their research suggests that these plant-based foods may slow cognitive decline. Ensure you’re getting the omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fish like salmon, cod and sardines. The flavonoids in colorful berries help improve memory and a Harvard study showed that strawberries and blueberries delayed memory decline by up to two and a half years. Caffeine from moderate consumption of tea and coffee also helps to solidify new memories. And walnuts, which look like small brains have helped in studies help improve memory!
- And, of course, we recognize a number of supplements that enhance the function of the nervous system. Among them are B-vitamins which help support the system function; alpha-lipoic acid, an antioxidant known to relieve uncomfortable symptoms in the legs and arms; acetyl-l-carnitine which may raise energy levels, create healthy nerve cells, and reduce pain in people with neuropathy; n-acetyl-cysteine medically treats neuropathic pain and inflammation; curcumin is a favorite in the herbal world for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties; and fish oils!
Common problems associated with the nervous system include memory trouble, depression, insomnia, headaches, and other nervous disorders. If you have nerve issues, talk to us about supplementation that may be an answer for you. We have a staff of five Naturopathic Doctors who would be willing to talk with you via a brief phone conversation if you live far away, or a private in-store consultation if you are local. Find the herbals that will work for you, and we’ll be glad to mail them to you. We offer 10% discounts to those who mention our blogs/podcasts and free shipping on orders over $50.
Add “nervous” to your list of Healthy Body Systems!
– Randy Lee, BSE, MS, ND, is Owner of The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 73130. Call us at (405) 736-1030 and visit our website at www.thehealthpatch.com.