Your Amazing Body
Our bodies have the ability to repair and replace most of our tissues.
Our bodies are amazing. They have the ability to repair and replace most of our tissues. Believe it or not, your lungs are six weeks old and your taste buds just ten days! Most of the body's tissues are under constant renewal. It is believed, regardless of chronological age the average age of all the cells in an adult's body may be as young as 7 to 10 years.
We think of our bodies permanent, while most of it is in a state of constant change as old cells are discarded and new ones take their place. Each type of tissue has its own turnover time. There are over 10 trillion cells in the human body and we need to replace six billion a day to stay healthy. The body is constantly replacing old cells with new ones at the rate of millions per second. By the time you read this sentence, 50 million cells will have been replaced by others. Even as a physiologist, I find this incredible and astounding, while also reassuring that if we give our body the right tools it can heal and protect itself.
The cells lining the stomach last only five days. Red blood cells last only 120 days. Our second largest organ, our skeletal system is thought to be remodeled every 10 years. The skin is the largest organ of the body, with a total area of about 20 square feet and is replaced about every two weeks. The skin protects us from microbes and the elements, helps regulate body temperature, and permits the sensations of touch, heat, and cold. It stands to reason that we need to keep our skin healthy and that a quick turnover time is beneficial.
For many years scientists believed that the cells of the heart did not regenerate. Recently researchers at the New York Medical College found that the heart is populated with stem cells that constantly rejuvenate it at least three or four times over a lifetime.
Some of the body’s organs or tissues are thought to be as old as your chronological age. This includes cells of the brain, eyes and oocytes (ovarian eggs) Most of our cells that last a lifetime are found in the brain. “We are born with all the brain cells we'll ever have- around 100 billion- and most of the brain does not regenerate as it gets older”, explains John Wadley, consultant neurosurgeon at Barts and the London Hospital.
Researchers have shown that the body can renew most of its tissues, so why doesn't the regeneration keep us healthy for longer periods of time? Some scientists think that the primary explanation is that the DNA accumulates mutations and its information is gradually degraded over time. Another theory is that stem cells, that are the source of new cells in each tissue, eventually grow feeble with age.
Regardless as to the why, it is important to appreciate the body and all the astounding things it can do. This in part is what the Self Care Awakening is all about. To renew our bodies, we need the right tools.
Self Care Awakening we look at four vital areas that lead to a healthier life.
- Environmental toxicity and our body burden (Body Burden Matters) “the pollution in people” and what we can do personally to limit our toxic exposures and reduce our body burden of toxic chemicals.
- Water Matters discusses the importance of hydration and what happens if we don’t drink enough water. We also talk about different choices for healthy water that we consume and bathe in.
- Sleep Matters addresses the fact that many of us walk around every day sleep deprived. Sleep is considered by many of us to be an unproductive endeavor, when it is our most productive physiological activity.
- Weight Matters concerns itself with primarily excess sugar consumption and what we can do to limit our intake by simple easy activities.
Stay hydrated, get quality sleep, reduce your body burden of toxic chemicals and watch your daily sugar intake are things we can all do to be Healthy by Choice. It is all about making healthy choices to provide your body with the tools it needs to heal and protect itself the way nature intended.
Be Healthy by Choice and not by Chance
author: Gary Lindner, Ph.D.