spleen, your lymphatic system, your integumentary system: Even
if you've never heard of them, you've got 'em and they're important.
They're the hard working, quiet guys behind the scenes. Sure,
you wouldn't survive very long without a heart or a brain, but a life
without your integumentary system would be equally short and
unpleasant as you will soon see...
system; it's all over you... it's your skin! Well, your skin and
the other things that are attached to your skin: hair, nails,
eyelashes, sweat glands, that sort of thing. Your skin is
actually considered an organ in it's own right. Not only that,
it's the largest organ of the human body. The average human has
about 6.2 pounds of skin. Stretched out there's about 2 1/2
yards of the stuff.
out of a Latin word for "covering," and that's essentially what the
integumentary system does. It covers your body to protect it
from disease, dehydration, and the elements. For disease
prevention, the skin forms a barrier against invaders, typically
little microbes. And your skin doesn't just sit there, oh no.
It's also proactive against those microbes, if it is clean and
healthy. Your skin produces a peptide called hBD-2 that pokes
holes in microbial cell walls. Dehydration is taken care of
thanks to the fact that your skin is waterproof. Water doesn't
get in, but more importantly, water doesn't get out either.
The system also helps
regulate body heat. When it's hot, you sweat and the evaporating
sweat carries away heat from your body. When it's cold, you
retain heat by constricting blood flow to the skin - to keep heat from
leaking out so quickly. When you're cold, you also get goose
bumps. In harrier creatures, this would help trap heat close to
the body by making the hair stand up. In relatively hairless
humans, it's usually a signal to crank up the thermostat.
Meet your Spleen:
Make a loose fist with your left hand. Now put it midway up the
left side of your abdomen. This is both the size and general
location of your spleen, which acts as one of your body's primary
Here's how it works.
Blood enters the spleen from an artery that branches right off the
aorta (the artery that comes directly out of your heart). The
spleen has all these various cavities designed to hold the blood - the
"red pulp" - and the areas called "white pulp," which hold those
important disease fighting elements like white blood cells.
While blood is
sitting there in your spleen, it's checked over for microbial
infections. If infections are found, they're ambushed and the
alarm goes out to the rest of the immune system to be on the lookout.
In case you've ever wondered where old blood cells go to die, the
spleen's the place. There, the hemoglobin (the stuff that
carries the oxygen) is broken down into iron (which is recycled) and
bilirubin, a pigment that's filtered out by the liver. The
spleen also traps old platelets and white blood cells. It's a
very busy place, as you can tell, with lots of comings and going.
The spleen is an
important organ, but you can live without one. This is good news
because the spleen is nicely situated to be poked by a broken rib,
causing massive hemorrhaging (remember, it's filled with blood all the
time). In a case like this, taking the spleen out is often safer
than keeping it in. but don't think that a spleenless life is
the same as a spleenful life. Uh-uh. People without
spleens are susceptible to sepsis - bacterial infections of the blood.
So, be good to your spleen and keep your body detoxed so that it never
feels overworked or under appreciated. Be good to your spleen
and it will be good to you.
system. The aforementioned spleen is an integral part of the
lymphatic system, which performs two very important functions.
It keeps your blood from leaking out of your circulatory system, and
it keeps your body from keeling over from infection. It's a
funny name (from the Latin lympha, meaning "river water"), but don't
laugh, it's better than being bloodless and infected.
So, how the heck does
blood get out of your circulatory system? Good question.
Aside from traumatic events like cuts, punctures and animal bites,
blood naturally leaks out of your capillaries, those teensy blood
vessels that allow your body's cells to exchange oxygen and nutrients
with the bloodstream. Most of it goes right back into the
bloodstream, but there's a small percentage of plasma and other
material that doesn't make the return trip. It's not so much,
but it can add up. If it's not drained, it can lead to edema (a
swelling in places you don't want swollen), which leads to tissue
damage, which leads to death, which leads to you missing every
important appointment you have next week.
This wayward plasma
drains into an extensive network of lymphatic capillaries that drain
into larger lymphatics and eventually all the collected lymph (as this
blood plasma is now called) is delivered back into the bloodstream
through a connection in your left and right subclavian veins, which
are located below your neck on either side.
Unlike your blood
which moves through your body thanks to pressure provided by your
heart, the lymph is carried along by minute muscle contractions.
If you're very still and think about it, maybe you can feel those
little muscles contracting.
Remember the second
lymphatic function - disease defense! Here's how it works...
Besides the aforementioned lymphatic passageways, you've got a few
other lymphatic organs working overtime to help coordinate your body's
blood-borne defenses (which you can think of as your own personal SWAT
team). On your team you've got B and T cells, which are know as
"lymphocytes," a kind of mamby-pamby name for a couple of tough guys
who ferociously track down and kill any little organism in your body
that is not actually part of you. The lymphocyte-developing
organs include bone marrow (where B and T cells are created) and the
thymus (where T cells mature).
Your lymphatic system
also features lymph nodes, which are bean shaped glands strategically
located along the system. These are the body's equivalent
of a border checkpoint. Lymph moving along the system collects
there and is checked for alien material. If any is found, it is
"detained," at which point an alarm goes off and lymphocytes are
released into your bloodstream to track down any additional offenders.
system. You have hormones. Just what are hormones anyway?
Simply put, they are chemical messengers that are produced by your
body to get other parts of the body to do things. You'll find
out what in a minute. The vast majority of these hormones are
produced and secreted by glands associated with the endocrine system.
Your endocrine gland
works fairly simply. Say it's time your body needs something -
have a growth spurt, release an egg, or cause your body to run real
fast because a large hairy man is chasing you with a chainsaw.
To prime your body for such activities, the appropriate endocrine
gland is activated. Your bloodstream dutifully carries the
hormone along until it reaches a cell that "reads" the hormone's
message. Before you know it, you've outgrown your pants, you're
ovulating, or you're running as fast as your little feet with carry
Just about every
system and cell in your body relies on hormones, their instructions,
and the endocrine glands that produce them can be found everywhere
from your groin to your brain. Some of the more famous glands
are the pituitary (it's hormones regulated human growth), the pancreas
(which produces insulin), the adrenal glands (which prime the body for
action and produce adrenaline), and the testes and ovaries which both
produce testosterone and estrogen (as well as other hormones) in
varying amounts depending on your sex.
So, there you have
it. All of these organs are hard at work, every minute - day and
night. This very minute they are hard at work, keeping you warm,
taking out the garbage, and protecting you from invasion.
Calcium Bentonite Clay is your endocrine system's best ally. It
takes a huge load off of the typical work day. It assists your
entire system in detoxification. Your body can easily become
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