Our Amazing Body

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JOHN PETROZZI: Hi. Welcome to Living is Easy with John and Josh on 89.7 F.M. Eastside Radio. I’m John Petrozzi.

JOSHUA HARPER: I’m Joshua Harper.

JOHN PETROZZI: This show is all about you. It’s all about wellness. It’s all about staying healthy and being alive

JOSHUA HARPER:   What’s on the show today, John?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, today we’re going to talk about our amazing body and how it’s made up. All biological systems are actually made up of basically four core components, which are fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids.

JOSHUA HARPER: These are all our basic things that make up our cell?

JOHN PETROZZI: Our bodies, yeah. Even plants are made up of these things, and frogs and turtles, birds, lizards. Everything is made up of these four components

JOSHUA HARPER: So you can be broken down into these four categories?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah, exactly. When it comes down to it, we are basically the combination of two cells—our mother’s egg cell and our father’s sperm cell—so like it or not, love it or lump it, you’re made up half of our mother and half of our father, genetically.

So what happens after conception? The sperm gets through to the egg and produces a union of the two, the genes of both cells. Then the first lines of cells that get produced are called stem cells. Have you heard of stem cells in the news and that sort of things?

JOSHUA HARPER: I’ve heard a lot about them but I don’t really know much about them. What are they?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, stem cells are basically undetermined and undifferentiated cells, so it’s kind of like getting a brand new exercise book with pages in it but blank pages.

JOSHUA HARPER: So it’s just like a blank canvass.

JOHN PETROZZI: Exactly, right. Yeah. The body has an innate ability to produce cells and produce life, so it knows exactly—we don’t know how; researchers haven’t discovered how the body produces what it does—but we just know that the body has got the innate ability to differentiate and grow and thrive in the environment.

JOSHUA HARPER: So are these the first things that are developed after the combination of the sperm and the egg?

JOHN PETROZZI: Exactly, right. Yeah.


JOHN PETROZZI: So these stem cells produce three germ layers. The three layers are called the endoderm, mesoderm and ectoderm. What they are is basically endoderm is the inside layer, mesoderm is middle layer, and ectoderm is outside layer. So those three layers get specialized from the stem cells and those three layers basically produce other parts of the body.

JOSHUA HARPER: What do you mean by germ layers?

JOHN PETROZZI: It’s just a word that’s given to them. I suppose it’s just a classification name, yeah. It’s a bit of a funny name, isn’t it? They’re not germs at all, but I’m sure germ means something in Latin or Greek or something.

So far, the sperm and the egg have assimilated nutrients from their external environment to grow and produce these three germ layers. Again, it’s the nervous system that is the first system to be produced. What happens is, basically, those cells flatten out and they produce like a donut shape and then they produce a tube kind of like a straw.


JOHN PETROZZI: And if you see one of these things under the electron microscope, all you’ll see is like a straw that’s produced, looks like a straw that’s sitting on top of a donut and that straw produces our nervous system and our spinal cord and brain.

JOSHUA HARPER: This is just at the first stages of development?

JOHN PETROZZI: Exactly, right. Yeah. This is within the first 5 to 10 days-


JOHN PETROZZI: -after fertilization.

JOSHUA HARPER: Then what happens?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, basically, there’s energy forces inside there that produce life, and those cells start to differentiate over time into different and various parts of the body. For instance, with the ectoderm it produces specialized cells that eventually become our nervous system, which is a combination of our brain, our spinal cord, our spinal nerves and anything else that’s nerve related. It’s kind of like the electricity station of our body. The other thing that the ectoderm produces is the epidermis, which is our outer skin.


JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. It also produces our hair and our nails.

JOSHUA HARPER: So it is sort of like a human being. Like physically, the ecto or the outside is the actual outside of us.

JOHN PETROZZI: Exactly right, yeah, but it’s funny though because this ectoderm produces basically our outsides, everything that you can see—our hair, our skin, our nails—but it’s also producing the most important part of our body which is the nervous system.


JOHN PETROZZI: For instance, with some genetic disorders that produce spina bifida (in some third world countries, it’s still quite prevalent), spina bifida happens to a new born baby and you can see it at birth. What you’ll see generally is a lump in their spine or a lump sticking out of their skin. What that lump is basically nerve tissue that’s squeezed itself out of the spine and is basically sitting out underneath the skin, so it can be quite a severe condition and is normally brought about by nutrient deficiencies in the baby or in the mother when the baby was born or when the baby was conceived.

These days, fortunately or unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration puts in a lot of chemicals into our food. Some of those things are put in there so that we avoid birth defects, and one of those birth defects that they are trying to avoid is spina bifida.

The reason why these sorts of things can be related—the skin condition with the nervous system condition—is because way back when our cells were differentiated, it was the stem cells that produce the ectoderm, and those two are still related.

The other thing that we’ve got is the mesoderm. The mesoderm is the middle layer of those three stem cells, and that is basically going to eventually produce our heart muscles, our muscles, our skeletal muscles, our smooth muscles which are the muscles on the inside of our digestive system and blood vessels. It also produces our kidneys and also our red blood cells. So it’s responsible for a lot, and by the looks of it, it’s got more to do with circulation and pumping mechanisms of the body.

For instance, our heart is the major muscle that pumps blood around our body. The skeletal muscles are those things that make us move, and the smooth muscles are things that help us to digest and move, I suppose, unconsciously, things throughout our body. Like the breakfast you had this morning Josh, you’re not consciously thinking of the smooth muscles inside your gut. Your brain is doing that automatically and allows that muscle to just contract and sort of squeeze food out from the digestive tract. Red blood cells, you don’t think about them being produced but they’re always being produced as well. It’s the same with kidney function; the kidneys’ job or main job is to balance the pH of our body which is the acid and base levels. Also, the kidneys detoxify our blood from chemicals and toxins and waste products, and basically, it goes through our water system and we excrete it out through urine throughout the day.

The third part of those three stem cell lines is the endoderm. Basically, Josh, the endoderm is anything that’s got to do with our digestive system, so these cells eventually produce our stomach, our colon (which is the intestines), our liver (which is a massive organ that detoxifies our body), and the pancreas (which produces insulin to help with our sugar levels), our urinary bladder, the lining of the urethra. Also, it produces the epithelial or covering cells of our trachea or windpipe. It also produces our lungs, our pharynx (which is our swallowing tube), the thyroid, and also the intestines.

JOSHUA HARPER: All right, so it’s basically from the mouth to the anus.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. Exactly, right. Yeah. As well as the lungs. So, they are three layers that were formed from our sperm and our egg cell.


JOSHUA HARPER:  Welcome back to Living is Easy with John and Josh on 89.7FM Easts5ide Radio.

John, it sounds like our bodies are fairly complicated. How do our cells know what to do and how to talk to each other?

JOHN PETROZZI: You’re right, Josh. It is very complicated, but for some reason there’s just the magic inside, the innate ability of the body to coordinate and heal itself. Each cell has to be able to, firstly, take in nutrients from its external environment. It needs to be able to process that nutrients into energy and use it usefully. It needs to be able excrete any waste products that it can’t use into the environment again.

JOSHUA HARPER: This is every individual cell in our body?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. Exactly, right. Yeah. There’s a balance in the body called homeostasis. Homeostasis is basically the balancing intricate system inside the body that coordinates any absorption and any excretion. It regulates blood pressure, it regulates heart rate, breath rate, it helps us to think during the day, it helps us and tells us when to sleep, when to wake up. So it’s basically like the conductor of the body.

JOSHUA HARPER:   Is there a certain organ in our body that the homeostasis is based?

JOHN PETROZZI: It’s actually everywhere. Every single cell has the ability to either help with homeostasis and balance or take it right out of balance, but the nervous system really coordinates most of that homeostatic information throughout the body in conjunction with the hormone and endocrine system. The reason why the nervous system is so central and key to producing a balance is because it produces electricity and it transmits electricity throughout the body. It’s exactly like a power station that produces power, converts coal into energy,  produces electricity which runs as an energy force  down our electrical wires into our homes and into our appliances to make them power.

So that nervous system inside our body does exactly the same thing. It, firstly, assimilates our nutrients and produces energy or converts food into energy. It transmits, in a really coordinated intricate way, electrical impulses across the body and then across the brain from left and right hemisphere, deep parts of the brain to the newer parts of the outside brain, straight down through the spinal cord and it kind of goes through software interfaces, I suppose, in the nervous system and in the brain. The brain stem takes in the information and it says, “Yes, I can pass this on.” or “No, we can’t pass that on.”

For instance we’re going to scratch our nose, you just want to scratch your nose and you don’t want to be tapping your feet away as well. Or you want to be scratching your nose and you don’t want your heart rate to increase. So there’s always a beautiful balance that allows you to do the things you want to do consciously.

JOSHUA HARPER:   Does this connect all of the organs in our body as well?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah, like a network. For instance, if you want a nerve to go down to your big toe, you’ve got a nerve that starts up in your, say, motor cortex in your brain and a little, small nerve that’s probably about- actually the motor ones go all the way down, right down through the spinal cord and they’ll synapse in the spine and then from the synapse right down towards your big toe. You’ve got two massively long nerves: one that goes from your big toe all the way up to say about just underneath your chest cage and your spine, so in some people it can be about a meter long, a meter and a half long. So if you’ve got damage to one of those nerve cells it will inhibit and, I suppose, interfere with the transmission of nerve impulses right down to your big toe.

IJOSHUA HARPER: I was just about to say where is the nerve cell based in our body?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, for some motor cells and some sensory cells, they’re based in different parts of the spine and different parts of the brain, so you’ve got a whole conglomeration of different nerve bodies inside the brain and inside the brain stem. You’ve also got it in different nodes inside the spinal cord which is found in the neck region and the spinal cord that’s found in our thoracic or mid-back area. Like you know in the brain you’ve got gray matter and white matter?

JOSHUA HARPER: Yeah, what’s that?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, gray matter is basically anywhere where you find cell bodies, and white matter is where you’ve got the tracts or the long cable systems, because a nerve is protected by fat, a Schwann cell.


JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah, and that fat allows for perfect and beautiful transmission along the nerve at a really, really fast rate. So the nerve system sends out impulses and electrical impulses and it stimulates cells to start to produce. It turns organs on or off.

You’ve got two parts of the nervous system as well: you’ve got your autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is broken up into the sympathetic and parasympathetic.

JOSHUA HARPER:  What is that?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, basically anything that gets you fired up and ready to—the old saying is “Fight or Flight”—either you’re ready to put your body on the line or run away as fast as you can. That part of our ability is produced by our sympathetic nervous system, which produces adrenaline from our adrenal glands and makes our heart race and pumps blood away from our organs into our muscles to get us to run away or fight.

JOSHUA HARPER: Right. Get us pumping.

JOHN PETROZZI: Exactly. Yeah. Then you’ve got your parasympathetic nervous system, which is that part of our nervous system that calms us down and gets us ready for sleep or for healing or for digestion.

JOSHUA HARPER:  Is this melatonin and serotonin?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. Exactly, really good example. With hormones, for instance, you’ve got nervous system that goes out to your pituitary gland, which basically looks like a little boxing bag inside our brain. There’s a beautiful connection between our nervous system and our hormone system which coordinates a whole lot of homeostatic and balancing mechanisms inside our body. From there it produces a balance with our thyroid gland which helps us metabolize energy and metabolize fats, assimilate things and help us to convert that into energy. It’s got a great transmission to our adrenal gland which is our stress hormones, our stress system. Our reproductive organs as well, so with women, it’s got a connection with their reproductive system. When it’s time to ovulate, when it’s time to have or be ready to have babies, those sorts of things.

JOSHUA HARPER: Menopause and things.

JOHN PETROZZI: Menopause, yeah. With men, it’s the production of sex cells. So, the nervous system and endocrine system are beautifully linked to produce homeostasis, which is the balance inside our bodies, and without that balance, we wouldn’t be able to survive from day to day.


JOSHUA HARPER: Welcome back to Living is Easy with John and Josh on 89.7FM Eastside Radio. Before, you mentioned homeostasis, John?

JOHN PETROZZI: That’s right.

JOSHUA HARPER: What’s the basic process of homeostasis?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, again homeostasis is the intricate balance that is produced inside the body to keep us healthy. It’s kind of like the yin and yang, the black and white, the love the hate, (what other ones you got?) anything that produces balance. So in homeostasis, we need a nerve ending which is the sensory component or feeling component of our body. Then you’ve got neurons which are the transmission wires that send messages from the sensor and they send the messages to the brain. Then, the brain sends messages back down the neuron to the effector or the organ that needs to produce a task.

JOSHUA HARPER: What do you mean by that?   Like the feeling organ, could that be the hand?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. Exactly.

JOSHUA HARPER: Is that the hot plate or something?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. Spot on. Well, that’s a great example. If you’ve got like the oven on or the hot plate on and you don’t realise, you put your hand on top of it. You got sensory cells in the skin and then the messages pass from those sensors, from our fingertips into our hand, through a nerve or a group of nerves that goes up our arm and it goes up through our neck into our brain. Then the brain has to figure out what that sensation is. Is it hot? Is it cold? Is it burning? Is it prickly? Is it furry? What is it?


JOHN PETROZZI: The brain has to try to figure out that sensation, and it will do that generally through the sensors that are stimulated. So temperature stimulates different receptors to, for instance, touch receptors.


JOHN PETROZZI: So those receptors send a message to the brain. The brain says, “Yeah, it’s really, really hot. You better get your hand off it; otherwise, you’ll burn your hand up.” So what it does is it turns on the effector muscles, which are the muscles that help you to pull your hand away.


JOHN PETROZZI: And it does those through nerve transmission.

JOSHUA HARPER: I’ve heard that if you put your hand on something really hot, there’s a panic root and goes straight through your spine and straight back?


JOSHUA HARPER: Is that right?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah, it’s right. With sensation, sensation goes up two ways. One of the fastest loops that go through is your reflexes, so when you go to a chiropractor and they do a little reflex hammer on your knee or something and your knee flicks?

JOSH HARPER: And your knee flicks.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. Well, that’s a really, really fast pathway, and it’s uncontrolled as well, so there’s no inhibition on that. It’s just a reflex; it just happens without you having to think about it, because there’s a loop that goes from your hand or your knee to your spine and back out to the muscles.


JOHN PETROZZI: That’s really, really fast. But the one that actually takes a little bit longer is the nerve that goes from the knee back up to the brain and then back down again, because it needs to travel a longer distance. So yeah, reflexes are really, really fast and they’re there to preserve our life and keep us alive.

So with homeostasis, it’s just a beautiful balance inside our body that allows our heart to beat, our breathing rate to be consistent, oxygenation of our cells through our blood to be in balance so there’s enough oxygen for our cells to uptake and stay healthy. It’s that balance that allows us to stand upright, to be able to look at a fly or a bee buzzing around in the air. It allows our blood pressure to stay at an even level so that when we get up from lying down, we don’t fall over.

Homeostasis, without it, we wouldn’t have health and we wouldn’t be alive; it would be impossible. Homeostasis is basically an unconscious ability that we don’t have to think about. So we’re really lucky.

JOSHUA HARPER: I read just before that your body has to stay at 37 degrees, right? And homeostasis balances this, and if it doesn’t, then we get hypothermia.

JOHN PETROZZI: That’s right.

JOSHUA HARPER: It’s so amazing just these things that we don’t think about.

JOHN PETROZZI: We don’t just think about it and we take it for granted as well. So it’s really important to think twice before you put a McDonalds hamburger in your mouth, because all the little nutrients that we are taking into our mouth have to be broken down to something useful. If our bodies are working on junk food or junk, it’s going to have a very hard time to maintain homeostasis and stay healthy.

The same goes for the thoughts that we think. If we’re thinking negative and, I suppose, self-abusive thoughts, it doesn’t allow our body to coordinate and stay healthy, because it’s always trying to run on bad thoughts and bad energy. It’s kind of like putting the wrong fuel in your car.

JOSHUA HARPER: Right. Yeah. And on that note, John, what do you want our listeners to take home today? Any advice or feedback?

JOHN PETROZZI: Definitely. Firstly, appreciate your body, and appreciate every day that it is coordinating and producing a beautiful balance inside to keep you healthy. Every action that you do every day is either going to be life-enhancing or it’s going to be life-taking for you. So, the foods you eat is really important to make sure that they’re wholesome foods. You need to be able to be taking in some great nutrients that your body can take in fairly easily into as energy to produce action throughout your day.

You need to be thinking good thoughts as well. Positive thought in regards to your health is super important. If you’ve got a mindset where you think that everything that happens to you throughout your day is going to be a negative thing, then you’ll be attracting negative things inside your life. But apart from that, your body’s going to be running on bad energy so you can’t heal a cut on your hand, for instance, quickly enough, compared to if you’re really, really positive that you’re having a great day.

Exercise is really important as well because it’s a great toilet flusher. It will get rid of all the waste and help you get rid of all other waste products in your body. If your body produces and starts to build up toxic products inside your blood, for instance, it’s going to be hard for your body to be running on killing fuel. Exercise is important.

The other thing that is really important is sleep and relaxation. They found that the more relaxed you are, the easier it is for your body to coordinate and produce homeostasis. So meditation might be one way to help you stay calm. Another way might be just a walk out in the bush or in the park. Take your shoes off and walk on the grass, on the beach, or get up one morning and do something that you really like doing. There’ll be something there where your relaxation will just happen. It might just be getting to bed an hour earlier because that will help your body to repair as well.

Finally, the nervous system is so important that it’s important to look after your spine. Your spine houses the most important part of your body which is your nervous system. Your spinal cord is the transmission between your brain and your body, so make sure that you’re sitting properly at the desk. Make sure your computer’s set up correctly. If you’re playing high-contact sports make sure you’re staying strong and able to take those loads without it affecting your spine. So there’s a couple of things, Josh.


JOHN PETROZZI: But again, homeostasis and the ability for our body to coordinate things is an unconscious thing and happens automatically, so be aware of it and be thankful for it.

Thanks for listening. Hope you enjoyed the show.

You’ve been listening to Living is Easy with John and Josh on 89.7FM Eastside Radio. I’m John Petrozzi.

JOSHUA HARPER: I’m Joshua Harper.

JOHN PETROZZI: Until next time. Stay well and stay happy.

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