Eric Bakker N.D.May 6, 2022

The nervous system of the body is also referred to as the neurological system of the body. Known as the "information processor" of the body. Your nervous system receives and transmits signals throughout the body in order to govern various physiological processes.

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What is the Nervous System?

The nervous system of the body is also referred to as the neurological system of the body. Known as the “information processor” of the body. Your nervous system receives and transmits signals throughout the body in order to govern various physiological processes. The nervous system is made up of two parts: the central nervous system (which includes the brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system (nerve fibres that attach and lie outside the brain and spinal cord). Your body cannot function properly unless it has access to this extremely sophisticated information and communication system.

How Does the Nervous System Work?

The Neurological System is divided into two major parts: the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS).

The Central Nervous System is the body’s information headquarters, ultimately regulating nearly all body functions.

The CNS includes:

  • The Brain – Processes incoming information from within the body as well as from outside the body through the sensory nerves of sight, touch, smell, sound, and taste, among others. Commands are then relayed throughout the body through the nervous system. Your brain also stores and processes information related to language, communication, emotions, thoughts, dreams, and memories, amongst other things. In other words, the brain is the central processing unit for all thinking and decision-making.
  • The Spinal Cord – Is the primary information-transmission channel that connects the brain and the peripheral nervous system. It extends approximately 18 inches from the brain down the bony spinal column, which serves as its protective covering. The spinal cord is a tube made up of nerve fibres that runs through the body. Electrical impulses pass through the nerves, allowing the brain to interact with the rest of the body and with other parts of the body.

The Peripheral Nervous System is responsible for the remainder of the body. It includes cranial nerves (nerves emerging from the brain), spinal nerves (nerves emerging from the spinal cord) and all the major sense organs.

The PNS includes:

  • The Somatic Nervous System (SNS) – Responsible for all muscular activities that we consider voluntary or that are within our conscious control.
  • The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) – Responsible for all activities that occur automatically and involuntarily, such as breathing, muscle contractions within the digestive system, and heartbeat. The components of the ANS work together to create a balanced response to outside stimuli. The ANS includes:
    • The Sympathetic System – Stimulates the function of cells and organs. The sympathetic nervous system is engaged when there is a perceived danger or threat, when there are extremely strong emotions such as fear, rage, or enthusiasm, when there is intensive exercise, or when there is a great deal of stress. Basically, everything that the body senses as a threat will cause it to activate its protective response. Once activated, it increases the pace of heartbeat, increases the activity of the sweat and adrenal glands, slows the digestive system, and delivers blood to the skin and muscles, all of which help the body prepare for a “fight or flight” response when confronted with a threatening situation.
    • The Parasympathetic System – It slows down and inhibits the operation of cells and organs. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for slowing the heart rate, resuming digestion, and increasing relaxation throughout the body, among other things. This “rest and digest” response serves to offset the “fight or flight” response and aids the body’s recovery when a crisis has passed, according to the National Institutes of Health. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for determining a person’s normal resting heart rate. Whenever the blood pressure is too high or the carbon dioxide levels in the blood are too low, this system decreases the heart rate and reduces its output.

What Causes an Unhealthy Nervous System?

You may be wondering, “How did my neurological system become so unbalanced?” Well, the fact of the matter is that chronic health conditions do not just “happen.” There can be a genetic component that predisposes someone to becoming chronically “unwell,” but research shows there are other factors–often within our control–that are usually the cause.

An unhealthy neurological system may be caused by:

  • Poor Diet – Vitamin, mineral, and amino acid deficiencies affect the neurological system’s ability to function effectively. This may lead to certain levels of neurological impairment such as mental confusion, loss of concentration, Depression and Anxiety, just to name a few.
  • Chronic and Acute Infections
    • It is suggested that an overgrowth of candida yeast may be responsible for a variety of neurological symptoms, including Brain Fog and depression, due to the multitude of toxins that this fungus gives off.
    • The bacteria that causes Syphilis (an STD) can invade the central nervous system (occurs in 3 to 7% of those who have an untreated infection) and may cause neurological impairment and stroke-like symptoms.
    • Other illnesses that affect neurological function include bacterial and viral meningitis (inflammation of the tissues surrounding the spinal cord and the brain).
  • Exposure to Pesticides – A study conducted on vineyard workers showed that long-term, low-level exposures to pesticides have measurable effects on cognition.
  • Stress – Chronic stress and negative thinking can wreak havoc on the neurological system. Over time, chronic stress can trigger mental disorders such as Anxiety and Depression, among others.
  • Heavy Metal Toxicity – Heavy metals such as aluminium, lead, and mercury accumulate in the brain. Ongoing studies are examining possible links between high levels of toxic metals and severe neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease (due to aluminium and mercury exposure) Autism (due to mercury exposure); and antisocial and behavioural disorders (due to lead exposure).

How To Restore The Nervous System

There are many things you can do to support the healthy functioning of your neurological system. Listed below are key dietary recommendations:

  • Omega-3 essential fatty acids – Studies have shown that countries (like Japan) that eat a diet rich in omega 3 have lower rates of major depression. Obtain your omega-3 from different sources. While fish is an important source of omega-3, limit your intake since it may be contaminated with mercury (a neurotoxin that accumulates in the brain). Also, choose wild fish rather than farm-raised fish. Wild fish obtain omega-3 naturally through their diet. Fish farms, on the other hand, feed their fish land-based foods that may contain little or no omega-3. As a result, farm-raised fish may have little or no omega 3. Other foods high in omega-3 to consider adding to your diet are:
    • Walnuts
    • Flax meal
    • Fish oil
  • Tryptophan – This essential amino acid can be obtained from the diet or through supplementing with tryptophan. 5-HTP, an advanced form of tryptophan, helps the body produce serotonin and melatonin which play a role in mood regulation and quality sleep. Consider adding foods to your diet that contain tryptophan:
    • Turkey
    • Beans
    • Whole grain rice
    • Hummus
    • Lentils
    • Hazelnuts
    • Sesame and sunflower seeds
  • Whole Foods – Fill your diet with nutrient-rich whole foods such as organic nuts and seeds, bright berries, and dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, parsley, cilantro, and oregano.
  • Saturated Fats – Although saturated fats have a bad reputation, they are actually essential for fat-soluble vitamin delivery to the body, and a host of other body processes. In fact, 60% of the brain is made up of saturated fat. A good source of saturated fat to add to your diet is organic extra virgin coconut oil.

AVOID foods that can hinder the neurological system:

  • Alcohol, which impairs brain function and motor skills
  • Caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks that over stimulate the neurological system
  • Energy drinks that contain extra caffeine and sugar that over stimulate the neurological system
  • Refined sugars that may contribute to candida yeast overgrowth
  • Artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame and Splenda® that can have toxic effects on the neurological system13
  • Nitrites found in processed foods such as hot dogs, lunch meats, and bacon. Some studies have shown that children who eat hot dogs more than two times a week have a higher risk of brain tumours and brain cancers.14
  • Partially hydrogenated oils found in many processed baked goods and snack foods
  • Deep-fried food, fast food, and junk food, which contain trans fats.

NOTE: A healthy neurological system depends on a healthy gastrointestinal/digestive system. Read about the gastrointestinal system to learn specific recommendations for a healthy digestive system.

Other Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Neurological System

  • Use light therapy to regulate your circadian rhythms.
  • Get an evaluation from a mercury-free dentist who specialises in the safe removal of mercury amalgam fillings. Mercury accumulates in brain cells. Also, mercury in the body damages immune cells, which then lose their ability to ward off invaders like Candida. Candida overgrowth can impair neurological functions.
  • Talk to your health professional about chelation therapy for the removal of heavy metals from the body. It is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating lead poisoning and poisoning from other heavy metals. Chelation therapy, such as DMSA and DMPS, has been scientifically proven to remove excess or toxic metals from the body. Chelation therapy has been the mainstay treatment against metal toxicity. Chelation therapy complexes the metal and allows removal of excess or toxic metal from the system rendering it immediately nontoxic and reducing the late effects.
  • Eat organic foods and practice organic gardening to avoid pesticide exposure.
  • Test your house to ensure that it’s free of lead-based paints, especially if you have young children. Make sure that the ceramic plates and cups you use for eating and drinking do not contain lead-based paints and glazes.
  • As a preventive measure, reduce your exposure to aluminium. The presence of aluminium along with mercury creates an exponentially more toxic chemical reaction within the body, and especially the brain. Some suggestions include:
    • Drink filtered or purified water. Some studies have suggested that people exposed to tap water with high aluminium content levels have higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease and other nervous system disorders like Parkinson’s disease.
    • Switch to stainless steel cookware instead of aluminium pots and pans.
    • Switch to aluminium-free deodorant.
    • Breastfeed your baby. Avoid soy formula.

Exercise. Follow a vigorous physical exercise program that really makes you sweat. Sweat helps the body release toxins from its system. In addition to your physical workouts, incorporate some brain fitness into your daily routine by challenging your mind. Some examples include crossword puzzles, brainteasers, hobbies, reading, socialising with friends, and learning new subjects that interest you.

Spirituality. The neurological system can be disturbed by emotional trauma, grief, anxiety, fear, depression, and other chronic negative outlooks on life. Keeping a positive spiritual attitude optimises the health of the neurological system.

Nervous System Dietary Supplements

Consider some of the following products which aid in the promotion and regeneration of a healthy nervous system.

  • B Vitamins
  • 5-HTP, L-Tyrosine, L-Theanine
  • Magnesium, Calcium, Multi Mineral, Vitamin B, Digestive Enzymes.
  • Melatonin – A naturally occurring substance that helps regulate your sleep cycles.
  • L-Tryptophan – To assist in deeper, more relaxing sleep—and help reduce stress and to manage any pain.

Conditions Related to Nervous System Dysfunction

The neurological system is specifically associated with many conditions. Below is a list of related condition articles that you may find helpful:

Other related conditions include: Alcoholism, Alzheimer’s Disease, Autism, Brain Fog, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson’s Disease.

References

  1. “Peripheral Nervous System,” Science & Nature: Human Body & Mind
http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/body/factfiles/brain/brain.shtml
Accessed May 2005
  2. Sports Coach
http://www.brianmac.demon.co.uk/physiol.htm#nervous
Accessed May 2005
  3. “Water Soluble Vitamins,” Colorado State University Cooperative Extension
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09312.html
Accessed May 2005
  4. “Depression: Is Yeast a Missing Link?” Dr. Joseph Mercola
http://www.mercola.com/2004/jun/19/depression_yeast.htm
Accessed May 2005
  5. “Syphilis,” Sexually Transmitted Disease Resource
http://herpes-coldsores.com/std/syphilis.htm#Symptoms
Accessed May 2005
  6. “Pondering on Pesticides,” Environmental Health Perspectives
http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/docs/2001/109-8/ss.html#pon
Accessed May 2005
  7. “Heavy metal? Exploring the Aluminum/Alzheimer’s link,” The Environmental Magazine
http://www.findarticles.com/p/resources/mi_m1594/is_1_16/ai_n8686452#continue
Accessed May 2005
  8. “Results from the Boyd Haley Laboratory relating to toxic effects of mercury to excerabation of the medical condition classified as Alzheimer’s Disease,” Dr. John Roberts B.Ch.D
http://www.holistic-dentistry.com/artalzeimer.asp
Accessed May 2005
  9. SafeMinds: Sensible Action for Ending Mercury-Induced Neurological Disorders
http://www.safeminds.org/
Accessed May 2005
  10. “The Lead Effect,” Environmental Health Perspectives
http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/docs/2002/110-10/focus-abs.html
Accessed May 2005
  11. The Omega-3 Connection: The Groundbreaking Omega-3 Antidepression Diet and Brain Program.
Andrew L. Stoll, MD
  12. “Are Saturated Fats Really Dangerous for You?” Dr. Joseph Mercola
http://www.mercola.com/2002/feb/23/vegetarianism_myths_06.htm
Accessed June 2005
  13. “Aspartame Dangers Revealed,” Dr. Janet Starr Hull
http://www.sweetpoison.com/
Accessed June 2005
  14. “Hot Dogs and Nitrites,” Cancer Prevention Coalition
http://www.preventcancer.com/consumers/food/hotdogs.htm
Accessed June 2005
  15. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Chronic Mercury Poisoning?
http://www.cfspages.com/fire.html
Accessed May 2005
  16. “Chelation,” Cathy Wong ND
http://altmedicine.about.com/od/treatmentsfromatod/a/chelation.htm
Accessed May 2005

 

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