I read an article from the Manila Bulletin recently on how you body repairs itself. It was an interesting article that somewhat made me realize that I have only one body and I have to take care of it. Here is the complete article by Ms Ma. Glaiza Lee.
Master Clock at Work
By: Ma. Glaiza Lee
Tick tock, tick tock, tick-tock, says the clock. Your body clock, that is. Yes, the expression “biological clock” is not just a myth that is often used to tease an old maid. It is true, the body has a built-in clock. Also known as the circadian rhythm, it is a cluster of brain cells that control the timing of bodily functions. Coined after the Latin words “circa” (around) and “diem” or “dies” (day), the human’s primary body clock is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), a pair of distinct cell groups located in the hypothalamus in the brain.
The light entering the retina of the eyes helps the human body to regulate the cycles. Once the light enters the eyes, the brain responds to it by adjusting the secretion of the body hormone melatonin depending on the time of the day. The variations in the secretion of each body hormone affect the person’s bodily state, which explains why we are energetic at certain times of the day, or why we have mood swings at other times. The clock’s rhythm is usually patterned after the earth’s 24-hour period. But Harvard researchers have recently shown that humans can be entrained to 23.5-hour cycle and 24.65-hour cycles.
Time starts now
Although the brain houses the body clock, some organs of the body such as the liver, esophagus, pancreas, lungs, and spleen are also affected by the body clock and have their own rhythm. They use the clock to schedule maintenance or repair sessions. When a person feels unusual – like having a headache, feeling lazy, or moody – at certain times of the day, this is because a certain organ of the body is trying to repair the damage done to it. And these weird feelings are the result of the energy being expended to do the repairs.
Ever wonder why you were sometimes roused from a deep sleep by coughs at 3 a.m.? It is possibly because the lungs are beginning their healing process. Like early risers, the lungs begin loosening the toxic waste in their area at 3 to 5 a.m. Coughing means the lungs are trying to expel the waste.
At 5 to 7 a.m., the large intestines and colon are going through their restoration. This is the time when a person has to drink lots of water (and less coffee) because the body needs water to do the repair and maintenance of the large intestines and colon. Aside from inducing good digestion, normalizing weight, and slowing down the ageing process, drinking water helps the colon flush out waste matter throughout the day. Waiting after the bowel movement before eating breakfast is much healthier to the colon and the large intestines.
The stomach repairs itself between 7 to 9 a.m. While the colon and large intestines need water for proper mending, the stomach doesn’t need much. A big meal might not be a good idea during this time, but eating something light such as fruits and fluids (water or juice) does.
The spleen, the organ responsible for creating lymphocytes for the destruction and recycling of old red blood cells, cleans up the body from 9 to 11 a.m. During its maintenance round, a person might suffer from allergies or slow recovery from colds and flu because the spleen targets the liver and the immune system. A healthy spleen means an army of antibodies to fight infection.
Clock’s ticking away
Have a rapid heartbeat or skipping beats between 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.? Don’t worry. It’s possibly because the heart is mending itself.
Repair and maintenance schedule for the small intestines is between 1 to 3 p.m. When a person experiences indigestion, pain, and bloating during this time, the probable causes are his diet is not right, the food is not digesting properly, and he’s stressed.
When a person feels tired and wants to take a nap from 3 to 7 p.m., it could mean that there’s something wrong with his kidneys and bladder. A healthy kidney makes a person energetic and active at that time.
No matter how intense your craving is, avoid eating sweets and sugar between 7 to 9 p.m. The pancreas is under repair at this time. When one eats sweets during these hours, he’ll suffer from lower back pain, which is a symptom of kidney problem. Kidneys, bladder, and pancreas work together. The kidneys regulate the pancreas, even directing it to cause a person to take a nap in the early evening so that they can all repair themselves.
Blood vessels and arteries go on repair mode from 9 to 11 p.m. When the vessels are in heavy repair, people will experience headaches and weakness.
The liver and gallbladder go into action from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Sleepless nights could possibly mean that the liver wasn’t able to process the waste matter in the body properly. Unprocessed toxins act as irritants in the body which could result in insomnia and frayed nerves.
The body’s rhythm is just like a alarm clock that needs to be set daily. A small change in a person’s routine can make the internal clock go out of whack. While most of us don’t pay much attention to our body clocks, constant disruptions such as jetlag and a change in sleeping patterns can be hazardous to our health. Notice how travelers who go through various time zones suffer from weird sleeping patterns (usually resulting in fatigue and disorientation). Jetlag prevents the body from maintaining its regular rhythm. The United States National Transportation Safety Board recognizes the effect of these disruptions on some professions, especially commercial airline pilots. They found out that the fatigue caused by an altered body clock had led to a number of air transport accidents.
Severe alterations of body rhythms may cause more serious and lasting mental disorders such as sleep disorders (insomnia) and bipolar disorder. Less sleep means lower production of melatonin, which in turn affects the organs and can lead to cardiovascular disease. Lower melatonin also raises the risk of cancer. Knowing the importance of body clock, and the more we know about our bodies, we can now make adjustments and change some lifestyle habits so that the body can follow its repair and maintenance schedule on the dot.
Now I know. XD