The seasons change and so do we. Superficially, it may not appear as if we’re undergoing perpetual metamorphosis, but we are. Just as trees replace their leaves and birds shed their feathers, we too change dramatically. But our modifications and upgrades take place beneath the surface. Unlike leaves that turn and fall with colder weather, our alterations are hidden from view and we generally take these parallel life cycles for granted.
We may categorize our physiology in terms of systems, organs, tissues, and cells. Systems include cardiorespiratory, digestive, musculoskeletal, endocrine, lymphatic, and reproductive mechanisms. Corresponding organs include the heart and lungs, stomach and intestines, bones and muscles, the liver, pancreas, and thyroid and pituitary glands. Each organ is comprised of tissues and tissues are composed of cells. Although not an exact comparison, we could consider that a leaf is a cell of a tree. In that case, we could say that our cells are analogous to leaves.
Our cells perform complex functions, depending on the nature of their specialization.1,2 Cells have inputs in the form of nutrients and oxygen and outputs in the form of useful work (energy), as well as specific biomolecules they have manufactured and the waste products of such metabolism.
Cells wear out over time and must be replaced for the living organism to survive. Such replacement takes place continuously, a systematic process that itself requires substantial planning, signaling, and resources. For example, human red blood cells live for approximately 120 days. Thus, your entire supply of oxygen-carrying red blood cells is replaced every four months. Cells lining the stomach have a lifespan of about five days. Cells lining the alveoli of the lungs have a lifespan of approximately one week.
The coordination necessary for these life-and-death activities is the responsibility of the nerve system, the body’s master system.3 The nerve system provides instructions for the proper functioning of all the cells in your body and processes information received from these cells. The massive complexity of the nerve system requires timely and accurate transmission of all signaling. Regular chiropractic care helps ensure that your nerve system gets the job done. As a result, regular chiropractic care helps ensure that the critical processes of the cellular life cycle are performed appropriately, and helps ensure our ongoing long-term health and well-being.
- Gonzalez A, et al: Cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating neuronal growth by brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Cytoskeleton (Hoboken) 73(10):612-628, 2016
- Deiuliis JA: MicroRNAs as regulators of metabolic disease: pathophysiologic significance and emerging role as biomarkers and therapeutics. Int J Obes (Lond) 40(1):88-101, 2016
- Sun N, et al: The Mitochondrial Basis of Aging. Mol Cell 61(5):654-666, 2016