The nervous system is a unique and critical system within the human body. It is responsible for physical feeling, muscle movement, and a myriad of functions contained therein, but it depends on a healthy body overall in order to function right, and that responsibility rests with you. Following is a look at the nervous system, as well as some natural products that can bolster its health and longevity.
A Brief Look at the Human Nervous System
The functions of the human nervous system are incredibly important, and its structure of cells is large and intertwined. Maybe you know the basics of how your nervous system works. Nerves throughout your body sense physical stimuli and send signals to your brain in response to physical contact, pain, heat, and other sensations. The nervous system works the opposite way as well, carrying messages from your brain to your muscles telling them when and how to move.
The nervous system is comprised of many billions of individual nerve cells, with roughly 100 billion nerve cells present in the brain alone. The brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system (CNS), and are of utmost importance to keeping the human body alive. All of the other nerves in the body comprise the peripheral nervous system (PNS).
The human nervous system can also be divided into both the somatic and autonomic nervous systems. The somatic nervous system controls all voluntary movements that you make. Alternatively, the autonomous nervous system controls all muscle movements and processes that one does not have total (or any) conscious control over, such as heart rate and breathing.
The Need for a Healthy Nervous System
Like other bodily systems and one’s general health, the nervous system is potentially vulnerable to damage and disease. Nerve cells use glucose for energy, which is consumed and/or produced by consuming food. A balanced diet that is sufficient in certain vitamins and healthy fats is beneficial to proper nervous system functioning. Sufficient sleep on a regular basis is also necessary for optimal nervous system functioning.
The nervous system can potentially be affected by a variety of disorders known as neurological disorders. Epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and Parkinson’s disease are some of the many neurological disorders that occur in humans. Neuropathy is another neurological disorder, usually not debilitating, that one can develop as an adult. Poor diet and lifestyle habits over the course of life can precipitate the development of degenerative neurological disorders.
Six Supplements That Benefit the Nervous System
In addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle that support the immune system, certain natural supplements can potentially benefit the functioning and longevity of the nervous system. These supplements are merely components of a healthy lifestyle, and not a replacement for good lifestyle choices. Some of these are backed by substantial scientific evidence, while others are not. Always talk to a doctor or physician before trying a new supplement.
Vitamin B12 is extremely beneficial for the nervous system. B12 helps to maintain myelin, which is a critical component of the entire nervous system, in addition to nerve cells themselves. A deficiency in vitamin B12 can weaken the synthesis of myelin, which is a precipitating factor in neurological damage, as well as various symptoms associated with neuropathy.
Vitamin B6 is important for brain function, specifically in the functioning of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. It is also very important for the brain development of very young children, and in regulating energy use in the brain.
Acetyl-l-carnitine is an amino acid that can help foster healthy nerve cells and reduce pain that occurs due to neuropathy. At least one study has shown acetyl-l-carnitine beneficial to clinical patients experiencing neuropathy.
Magnesium is vitally important for nerve cells to transmit signals amongst each other. Magnesium is beneficial because it is a contributing nutrient in the firing of nerve cells. It might also help prevent nerve cells from dying by preventing the overexcitation of nerve cells.
Vitamin E is essential, and one of its benefits is helping to regulate the proper functioning of the nervous system and nerve health. Deficiency in vitamin E can be a contributing factor in the degeneration of neurons.
Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is a substance with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that provides a variety of benefits to the human body. One of its benefits can be as a therapeutic for those with certain neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis. It might also help relieve the burning and tingling sensations associated with neuropathy.
A lot of factors can affect the well-being of the nervous system over the course of one’s life. If any of the above supplements seem worth trying, then talk to your doctor about using them.