Body

Your mental health depends on the health of your physical body. 

Mind

Your mental health depends on your thought patterns. 

Spirit

Your mental health depends on your emotional intelligence and mastery. 

We believe in integrated holistic healing. 

All the systems in the human body are interconnected and interdependent.

The human body contains trillions of cells, 78 different organs and more than 60,000 miles of blood vessels if you stretched them end-to-end. Incredibly, all of these cells, vessels, and organs work together to keep you alive. Each organ belongs to one of ten body systems that are dependent upon one another to function.

There are 10 systems in the human body:

System Organs
Circulatory Heart, lungs, arteries, veins, coronary and portal vessels
Respiratory Nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi and lungs
Nervous Brain, spinal cord, sensory organs, and all of the nerves that connect these organs with the rest of the body
Muscular About 700 muscles that are comprised of skeletal muscle tissue, blood vessels, tendons, and nerves
Skeletal Bones of the skeleton, muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints, and other connective tissues
Digestive Mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder
Endocrine Hormones
Lymphatic / Immune Thymus, spleen, tonsils, appendix
Reproductive Uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries in women and testes in men
Integumentary Skin, hair

Each individual body system works in conjunction with other body systems.

The circulatory system is a good example of how body systems interact with each other. Your heart pumps blood through a complex network of blood vessels. When your blood circulates through your digestive system, for example, it picks up nutrients your body absorbed from your last meal. Your blood also carries oxygen inhaled by the lungs. Your circulatory system delivers oxygen and nutrients to the other cells of your body then picks up any waste products created by these cells, including carbon dioxide, and delivers these waste products to the kidneys and lungs for disposal. Meanwhile, the circulatory system carries hormones from the endocrine system, and the immune system’s white blood cells that fight off infection. [1]

The human brain, as a part of the nervous system, interacts with all the other systems in the body.

The brain regulates the respiratory rate, stimulates defense mechanisms against infection, and controls the pituitary gland and other endocrine glands, which affects the hormone balance. It also regulates the speed at which food moves through the digestive tract, controls drinking and feeding behavior, and regulates the position of bones by controlling muscles. The brain is both in control of and dependant on other body systems to function properly. Below is a breakdown of how the nervous system, particularly the brain, is connected to all the other systems in the body, and the resulting impact on one’s mental health.

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Nervous System & Digestive System:

  • Digestive processes provide the building blocks for some neurotransmitters [2], which is paramount for healthy communication within the brain:
  • Healthy bacteria, known as probiotics, regulate GABA, the relaxation neurotransmitter, via the vagus nerve, lowering the stress response.
  • The brain is made up of 60% fat. It needs healthy fats to function properly, such as butter, eggs, avocados, walnuts, and coconut oil.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, especially docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), promote efficient electrical signaling between nerve cells, reduce inflammation, and improve mental concentration, fighting memory loss.
  • Antioxidants, especially flavonoids and vitamin E, reduce inflammation and improve memory function.
  • Blood sugar levels influence mood.
  • Inflammation caused by poor nutrition influences how neurochemicals are produced, negatively impacts mitochondria (energy production) and apoptosis (cell death), triggers sensitive feedback systems around stress hormones such as cortisol, and elevates cytokines, making you even more depressed.

Impact on Mental Health:

Based on the facts above, our diet is of paramount importance to our brain function and mood. By consuming nutrient-rich foods, we can improve our cognitive functions, such as memory, emotional regulation, decision making, and our ability to process events.

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Nervous System & Circulatory System:

  • The circulatory system provides your brain with a constant supply of oxygen-rich blood.
  • Oxygen is needed to produce energy, and the brain uses 20% of all energy produced by the body.
  • If the circulatory system is inhibited by vein or artery blockages, the brain gets less oxygen and less building blocks for neurotransmitters, resulting in poor communication and slower functionality.

Impact on Mental Health:

The quality of our blood circulation determines how much oxygen our brain receives and the amount of “food” our brain gets through proper delivery of sufficient micro and macronutrients. Therefore, the circulatory system is one of the foundational aspects of proper brain function and mental health.

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Nervous System & Respiratory System:

  • The brain depends on adequate oxygen supply to maintain optimal function.
  • Without oxygen, brain cells begin dying within four minutes, which can lead to significant brain damage and ultimately death.
  • Deep breathing oxygenates the brain, while shallow breathing, characteristic to stress, deprives the brain of necessary oxygen.
  • Deep breathing “wakes up” the brain. (Wim Hoff)

Impact on Mental Health:

Deep relaxed breathing oxygenates the brain and wakes up deep parts of the brain stem, allowing us to reduce stress, improve sleep quality, maintain focus, enhance creativity, and enjoy improved mental clarity.

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Nervous System & Muscular System:

  • Receptors in muscles provide the brain with information about the body’s position and movement.
  • Muscle use promotes neurogenesis – the growth and development of nervous tissue. [5]
  • When we move, our muscles secrete hormones, growth factors, and small proteins called cytokines that are important in cell signaling into the bloodstream, leading to structural and functional changes in the brain.
  • Restricting exercise lowers the amount of oxygen in the body, which creates an anaerobic environment and alters metabolism. [3]
  • Reducing exercise also seems to impact two genes, one of which, CDK5Rap1, is very important for the health of mitochondria – the cellular powerhouse that releases energy to the body. [3]
  • Disuse of large muscles can result in serious alterations in the metabolism of brain stem cells and their ability to generate new nerve cells. [4]

Impact on Mental Health:

Active engagement of our muscular system and building muscle strength stimulate the production of new nerve cells, which impacts learning, memory, and the quality of your cognitive function.

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Nervous System & Skeletal System:

  • Bones provide calcium that is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system. [6]
  • The skull protects the brain from injury and the vertebrae protect the spinal cord.  [6]
  • Sensory receptors in joints between bones send signals about body position to the brain. [6]
  • Bones secrete neurohormones FGF23 and osteocalcin, which regulate kidney function and glucose homeostasis, respectively. These hormones then travel through the blood to make a small set of neurons more excitable, more ready to respond to the world, aiding your decision-making ability. [7]

Impact on Mental Health:

The skeletal system supports and protects the body, facilitates movement, protects internal organs, produces blood cells, and stores and releases minerals and fat [8] that are important for proper brain function. Therefore, we can improve our mental health by caring for our bones and ingesting the right amounts of calcium and vitamin D, as well as exercising to keep the skeleton aligned properly.

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Nervous System & Endocrine System:

  • The endocrine system is a major communication system of the body. It secretes hormones that are important messages both within the brain and between the brain and the body.[9]
  • Hormones provide feedback to the brain to affect neural processing. [6]
  • Reproductive hormones aid the development of the nervous system. [6]
  • The brain has receptors for many hormones; for example, the metabolic hormones insulin, insulin-like growth factor, ghrelin, and leptin. These hormones are taken up from the blood and impact neuronal activity and structure. .[9]
  • In response to stress and changes in our biological clocks, such as circadian rhythms and jet lag, hormones enter the blood and travel to the brain and other organs. In the brain, hormones alter the production of gene products that participate in synaptic neurotransmission as well as affect the structure of brain cells. As a result, the circuitry of the brain and its capacity for neurotransmission are changed over a course of hours to days. In this way, the brain adjusts its performance and control of behavior in response to a changing environment. [9]
  • Hormones are important agents of protection and adaptation, but stress and stress hormones, such as the glucocorticoid cortisol, can also alter brain function, including the brain’s capacity to learn. Severe and prolonged stress can impair the ability of the brain to function normally for a period of time, but the brain is also capable of remarkable recovery.

Impact on Mental Health:

The endocrine system affects brain health and communication within the brain with hormone secretion, which impacts the formation and re-formation of neural pathways. The latter affects how you process life, your mood, and your ability to learn. Maintaining healthy weight and including iodine in your diet will keep your endocrine system and hormone production healthy, which will contribute to your mental health.

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Nervous System & Lymphatic System:

  • The lymphatic system starts as lacteals lining the intestinal tract that absorb nutrients and toxins – mostly fats and proteins. If the intestinal skin becomes irritated, the lymph around the gut, called the Gut-Associated Lymphoid Tissue (GALT), can become congested. Many experts agree that this is where 80% of the body’s immunity lies. If this major hub of lymph becomes congested, due to poor digestion or stress impacting beneficial intestinal microbes, the entire lymphatic system can become congested. [12]
  • The brain is served markers of lymphatic endothelial cells by lymphatic vessels associated with the dural sinuses, large venous structures situated in the membrane between the brain surface and the skull. [10]
  • The same structures are used to remove dead brain cells and “clean the brain out.” [11]
  • Inflammation in the body causes the lymphatic system to release cytokines. They act as chemical messengers, communicating with other cells in your body to regulate inflammation.
  • In turn, inflammation can affect the amygdala – the part of your brain that plays a role in processing emotion. When the amygdala is affected by inflammation, it can create OCD, anxiety, and fearful thoughts. [12]

Impact on Mental Health:

Since brain function is directly impacted by inflammation, it is imperative we choose an anti-inflammatory lifestyle to provide an optimal environment for mental health.

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Nervous System & Reproductive System:

  • Reproductive hormones (estrogen and progesterone) are made from cholesterol and travel in the blood. They easily cross through cell membranes, as well as through the blood-brain barrier.
  • Once inside the central nervous system, the hormones act as receptor targets and trigger changes, such as increasing or decreasing protein and neurotransmitter levels, which significantly affects many brain structures and functions.
  • Estrogen increases TpH2 mRNA which helps make more serotonin in the brain
  • The decrease of reproductive hormones impairs learning and memory function facilitated by the hippocampus.
  • Stress affects the woman’s ability to ovulate or produce an egg each month, and if a woman does not ovulate, progesterone is not produced.

Impact on Mental Health:

Estrogen and progesterone have a tremendous impact on the nervous system, so maintaining healthy hormone levels is paramount to maintaining healthy brain function.