Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson

Chris Johnson (Left), Steve Johnson (Right)


Digestive System

For this week’s post, I will be talking about how our body can take the food we eat, and convert this to energy.  Of course, this is due to our digestive system.  It’s amazing how we can eat a particular food, and break this down to the molecular level in order to sustain/regulate energy, chemical levels, hydration, and more within our body.


The digestive system has many different components; some directly affect digestion while other structures act as accessory organs.  The GI (gastro-intestinal) tract is the major component of digestion.  This is where food and nutrients directly come into contact with the body.  Just as in the integumentary system, these walls of the GI tract are made from epithelial tissue, which is constantly being replaced.  Accessory organs play a large role in digestion as well but are never in direct contact with our intake.

Major structures and functions related to digestion:

  • Mouth

         *Food enters.

         *Teeth grind up and tear apart initial food.

  • Pharynx

         *Helps keep food and liquid from entering the lungs.

  • Esophagus

         *Upper portion under voluntary control while lower portion under involuntary control.

         *Pushes food downward through peristalsis.

  • Stomach

         *Storage for food.

         *Physical and chemical breakdown of food.

         *Hydrochloric acid and pepsinogen released to degrade proteins.

         *Some absorption.

  • Liver

         *Detoxification of the blood.

         *Stores glucose and glycogen.

  • Gall Bladder

         *Stores bile that was produced by the liver.

  • Pancreas

         *Production of important compounds including insulin and glucagon.

         *Also produces amylase, which breaks down carbohydrates.

  • Small Intestine

         *Primary site for digestion and absorption.

  • Large Intestine (including the colon)

         *Reabsorption of water and compacts any waste material.


  • Rectum

         *Storage and expulsion of waste.


Our digestive system can take a long time to fully digest and absorb all these nutrients that are ingested.  It can take up to three hours for food to pass through the small intestine.  Considering what is occurring at a molecular level, this is very impressive.  What a person eats or doesn’t eat can have infinite results.

It’s amazing to think how different your body is effected simply what you consume.

For example,

-Alcohol is a depressant that blocks neural receptors resulting in a variety of outcomes including dehydration, impaired coordination and vision, dizziness, vomiting, etc.

-Orange juice supplies the body with vitamin C, potassium, electrolytes, and raises blood sugar.



Include starches, sugars, and fibers.  Fiber is not digestible for the system; it passes through essentially unchanged.  Some fiber is water-soluble so it will take on a thick liquid form when passing through the body.  Sugar, in the form of glucose is directly used by the body and is not broken down, rather stored in the liver for energy.  Starches are eventually broken down into glucose and have the same result.


Proteins are broken down into amino acids.  These amino acids are then used for rebuilding cells.  This is why people take protein after working out.


Fats are not all bad.  They are a great source of energy for the body.  When you don’t use that energy, then that’s when you see that excess fat.  Fats are first dissolved into tiny droplets in order to pass through the intestine.  The fat droplets are soon moved into mucosa cells where they are then formed back into larger fat deposits.  Fats are then stored throughout the body as an energy source.


Some vitamins are fat-soluble (vitamin A, D, E, and K) while others are not (vitamin C and all vitamin b’s).  Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the liver and fat tissue.  Vitamins insoluble to fat are typically flushed out of the body when there is an excess.


If you are interested in learning about digestive system diseases, I would recommend taking a visit to the site linked below.



Integumentary System

To continue my theme from last week, I will be talking to you, yet again, about another major body system.  Last week, I stressed the endocrine system that consists of different glands that are responsible for hormone production normal development.  This week, I will be discussing the Integumentary system.  This is another lesser-known body system that many people do not consider, outside of acne or sunburns.

The integumentary system is centered around your body’s biggest organ, the skin.  The skin is accompanied by the nails, hair, and some nerves and glands to make up this system.  The skin is made up of three layers that have different makeup and serve different roles.



  • This is the outermost layer of the skin.  This section is important for various reasons.  The epidermis is the body’s major form of protection from outside pathogens.  Also, it is responsible for sensation in touch.  There are nerves in this portion of the skin.  Another important aspect is pigmentation, as this protects from harmful UV rays.  The epidermis is also a waterproofing layer that keeps water from passing the skin.


  • The dermis is the middle layer of the skin.  This is the portion of the skin that contains the sweat glands.  This is vitally important in cleansing the body and keeping cool.  The other major aspect of the dermis is the collagen fibers.  These fibers make up the connective tissue in the dermal layer.  This is what keeps the skin elastic.  It’s commonly used in the form of injections in patients to get rid of facial wrinkles or sagging.


  • This is the third and final layer of the skin.  The subcutaneous layer is composed of adipose (fat) tissue that pads and supports the organs underneath.  It is also an insulator, meaning it helps keep our body temperature constant.  Collagen is also present in the layer providing the same function as stated before.  This portion of the skin is a pale white color.  If you have ever seen a really bad burn and its white, this means that it has been burnt through the first two layers of the skin.  Ironically, there is little to no pain because there are no nerves present in this layer.

Located below is also a diagram of the ‘anatomy’ of a nail.  Nails are actually made from epidermal cells but have the protein keratin.  These cells help support and protect the tips of the fingers.


Why Exercise Is Great For Skin

  • Circulation
  • Perspiration
  • Stretching
  • Eases Stress

Exercise enhances circulation.  This is important to the integumentary system because higher circulation replenishes the skin with nutrients and keeps the skin healthier.  More exercise = more sweating.  If you are properly hydrated, this is helpful in cleansing out the pores.  Accumulation of toxins can occur in these pores frequently and the more you sweat, the better this is for your skin.  When you exercise, muscles are constantly moving, contracting, relaxing, etc.  Cellulite is expressed from small pockets of fat.  This is common in many people, especially females around the thigh area.  By exercising these muscles, cellulite can be reduced; not only by burning fat, but also by tightening the connective tissue in the skin that keeps the elasticity.  Lastly, exercise has been proven to lower stress.  Stress has been proven to influence aging, acne, hair loss and more.  It seems simple; if you exercise more, you have better control over your body and less stress.  Therefore, it appears that by exercising, you can limit unwanted acne and maybe even prolong hair loss.

Fun Facts:

  • You have a whole new layer of skin every month.
  • Hair grows about one centimeter per month.
  • An adult has 20 SQUARE FEET of skin!
  • You shed around 40 lbs of skin in a lifetime.
  • We lose 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells every minute!
  • Bed bugs exist solely to eat our dead skin.
  • Your nails grow .5 mm over the course of a week.
  • Original Content From:

Also, check out the integumentary song! Brought to you from Mr. Parr.

*In the tune of Brokenhearted by Karmin


Endocrine System

For my next couple posts, I will focus my attention on the body systems.  There are ten major systems of the body; each is very unique and crucial in our being.   These systems work together and separately to allow us as humans to live, and give us the many abilities that we are capable of doing.  Flaws in any one of these systems would cause our whole body to suffer.

Circulatory System

  • Includes blood circulation involving the heart, blood vessels, and blood.  This also includes subsets: lymphatic system and immune system.

Integumentary System

  • This is the dermal region that includes the skin, hair, and nails.

Digestive System

  • The digestive system is composed of many different arrangements that include any structures that assist in eating, drinking, processing, and expulsion.  This would include the mouth, stomach, liver, intestines, etc.

Endocrine System

  • Includes hormones and the glands of the body.

Excretory (Urinary) System

  • This system contains the skin, lungs, kidneys, and large intestine.

Muscular System

  • Includes muscles and tendons and works in conjunction with the skeletal system.

Nervous System

  • This involves nervous tissue of the brain, spinal cord, and the many nerves throughout the body.

Reproductive System

  • In men this refers mainly to the testes and penis.
  • In women this refers mainly to the ovaries and uterus.

Respiratory System

  • This system includes structures that assist breathing and gas exchange.  These would involve the trachea, lungs, mouth, pharynx, etc.

Skeletal System

  • This includes the bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons of the body and works in conjunction with the muscular system.



For this particular post, I will be specifically discussing the Endocrine System.  This system has glands that produce hormones that then influence body functions.  Your growth, sleep schedule, chemical balance, metabolism, reproduction, and more are controlled by the endocrine system.  One other important function of the endocrine system is its activity in converting calories into energy.  This system functions through the use of eight major glands: Pituitary, thyroid, pineal, thymus, hypothalamus, pancreas, adrenal glands (2), and the testes or ovaries.

Endocrine disorders are usually separated into two categories:

  • Disease due to gland activity that leads to a hormone imbalance.
  • Disease due to tumors or nodules that can affect the levels of hormones in the body.



There are many endocrine disorders, yet most serious conditions are very rare.  Diabetes is the most well known endocrine disorder.  Diabetes results from high blood glucose levels.  The pancreas normally releases the hormone insulin that transports sugars from the blood to the cells.  When the pancreas or insulin does not function properly, it results in diabetes.

This condition is separated into type 1 and type 2.  Type 1 Diabetes is characterized by no (or a very small) production of insulin.  This is genetically inherited unlike type 2 diabetes, which typically occurs later in life.  Type 2 diabetes is when the insulin cannot accomplish its job of transporting sugars into cells.

Growth Disorders:

These disorders that affect the growth of an individual can have very negative effects.  The pituitary gland is also known as the “master gland” and has many important functions within our body.  One purpose of this gland is to release a hormone called GH or Growth Hormone.  This hormone controls a person’s development and can result in gigantism or growth deficiency.

World’s Tallest Man – 8’11”

People may have an excess of GH due to a tumor on the pituitary gland.  Death is not caused directly from gigantism.  Rather most people with this condition live shorter due to cardiovascular struggles because the body is so big.


Hormones can contribute to osteoporosis, where the bones of the body become weaker and more brittle.  About 40% of women above the age of 50 will experience a fracture attributed to osteoporosis.  Men have about a 25% percent chance of an osteoporosis related fracture.  This can be due to hormonal imbalances such as a decrease of estrogen or testosterone as we age.  Women become at higher risk of osteoporosis after menopause because of the estrogen reduction.  Also, excess cortisol or long term steroid use can lead to this.  Another cause is an overactive thyroid gland.


This is essentially an overactive thyroid gland.  This is found most commonly in women but it can occur in men as well.  The major cause of this is Grave’s disease.  This is when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland as if it’s an invader.  The outcome of this is excess thyroid Imageactivity.  Hyperthyroidism is also commonly attributed to thyroid nodules that influence the hormone levels and make the gland hyperactive.  Bulging behind the eyes is a common symptom of this disorder along with fatigue, weakness, trembling, anxiety, diarrhea, weight loss, and rapid heart rate.


See below for a full list of endocrine glands and functions.

The following link can provide you with greater knowledge regarding the many different disorders and conditions relevant to the endocrine system.



We live in the 21st century.  Our world has changed vastly from the time of our distant relatives.  On a large scale, our surroundings are constantly evolving from reformations, wars, revolutions, rising, and falling.  Countless inventions and human action has taken this world by storm and each upcoming generation provides the “newest product”.   There are tradeoffs.  I personally love the fact that we have antibacterials and I would say most people like the convenience of cell phones.  However, the economy is becoming worrisome, our environment harbors stress, and materialism has become sacred.  The point I am trying to make is there is a constant give and take relationship with us and our environment, and what both become.

Now to scale down and turn your attention to a more specific topic, noise.  With so many technological and mechanical advances, everything essentially became louder.  Our early ancestors did not experience the noise that we encounter daily.  There were no jackhammers or chainsaws in the 1600s.  Currently, it is an everyday occurrence to come by loud machinery, music, mechanics, etc.  This has lead to an increase in hearing loss.  Noise is the number one cause of hearing loss (other than old age) but how realistically can/will we prevent this?

It is possible to turn down the music blasting out of your earbuds or stereo.  It is reasonable to wear some type of earplug when surrounded by loud machinery or when having a band practice.


Noise has become part of our culture.  I feel as though it has been overlooked and its almost second nature for it to go unnoticed (even in intense situations).

Within the inner ear, a structure called the cochlea is present.  This is where the major aspect of ‘hearing’ takes place.  These cells within the cochlea have tiny hairs that receive these vibrations and stimulations and transfer this to the brain.  Over time with increased exposure and/or damage, these hairs can lose function.   This damage can become more and more serious and can eventually land you at the doctor’s office fitting a hearing aid.  Yet, most people do not think of any consequences of noise outside of the obvious hearing loss. 

Noise has been linked to high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, ulcers, decreases in immune response, and more.  Now regarding a more socioemotional viewpoint, excessive noise is associated with increased aggression, loss of concentration/productivity, fatigue, and increased stress, along with other things.  Children in loud neighborhoods can experience an increase in cortisol (a stress hormone) as well as a higher resting systolic blood pressure. (Adventist HealthCare)

Sound can be a blessing or a curse; from your favorite song on the radio, to Ke$ha or a jackhammer, or something else hard on the ears.  Noise has a huge influence on your everyday life.  Think about it.  If it’s unexpected silence, that can trigger false expectations or anxiety and nervousness.  If it’s really loud, that can trigger aggression, angry mood swings, etc. 


Lastly, noise pollution has a profound effect on some animals.  Those species that communicate through long range or subtle sounds can have difficulty hearing each other.  This causes a disruption of their normal routine and can have negative effects on the animal (M. Mitra).

With this subject, I am not trying to teach.  It is rather common sense and easily comprehensive.  The objective here is to provoke thought.  Noise is something that goes unnoticed constantly.  It can be annoying, but more than that, it can have lasting effects on your health in a direct and indirect manner. 




As You Age…

As of late, my blog posts have been focused on the dietetics aspect of health.  For this post I will present a more medicinal stance regarding some common illnesses/diseases that many people will see affecting their lives as they age.  Some ailments are very mild but others can present debilitating consequences.  Below I will be focusing on conditions that arise over one’s lifespan and what YOU can do to help your chances of prevention.


As you age, the body becomes weakened and causes a higher susceptibility to different diseases and conditions.  Weight gain is common and you typically have a higher chance for mutations.  Along with this, the immune system is not quite as effective as it may have been in your vibrant youth.  Some common conditions that could appear while aging are arthritis, osteoporosis, type II diabetes, and heart disease.



There are different types of arthritis but in this case I will be talking about osteoarthritis.  Osteoarthritis is by far the most common form of arthritis and is related to aging.  Symptoms of this include joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.  Essentially, the cartilage lining the bone or providing a cushion are worn down to the point where discomfort or bone grinding may arise.  As you grow older, you may naturally lose the ‘tread on your tires’.  Exercise has been proven to help prevent this by strengthening muscles that provide extra support to the cartilage in joints.  Also, maintaining an ideal weight is important in not stressing the cartilage.  Lastly, proper treatment of joint injuries can help prevent further damage in the future.



Osteoporosis can limit a person to a great extent.  You may notice some older people walking around hunched over, sometimes almost bent in half.  This is due to severe osteoporosis.  As you age, calcium deposits are lost more than replaced.  The bones become porous and fracture easily and even without major fractures, pain can be present.  On top of this, you may find yourself getting shorter.  Most people reach peak bone density in their 20’s.  You can help prevent this by making sure you have an appropriate calcium intake along with vitamin D.  Drink that milk up before you need to start worrying about the deterioration of your bones.

Type II Diabetes:

Diabetes is concerned with how the body uses sugar.  Insulin allows the passage of sugar into various cells.  When insulin is not present or not functional, this can cause high blood-sugar levels.  Type I diabetes is genetic and occurs when the body does not produce insulin.  Type II diabetes is the lack of function of insulin and can also be related to genetics.  Still, there are ways to help prevent type II diabetes.  Excess weight can contribute to this because it is harder for insulin to function properly.  Also, poor diet and little exercise can also contribute to this.

Heart Disease:

Last but not least, the leading cause of death in the world.  Heart disease is a serious issue and can be found in many forms.  A heart attack is when a portion of the heart loses blood supply resulting in severe pain and ultimately death if not treated swiftly.  Heart disease incorporates a variety of other heart conditions including hypertension (high blood pressure), atherosclerosis (build up of fatty deposits), pericarditis (inflammation of the pericardium, or outer surfaces of the heart), and myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle).  There are a variety of symptoms for heart disease but a fairly common symptom is angina, or chest pain.  Prevention for heart disease can include limiting cholesterol level and maintaining a healthy blood pressure.  Eat your cheerios!  Also, you can reduce your chance of heart disease by sustaining a healthy weight, not smoking, limiting stress, and physical activity.


***As you can see, diet and exercise are extremely important in upholding a healthy life.  Everyone knows that they SHOULD eat right and they SHOULD exercise but many don’t really know how beneficial it can be.  You’ll feel better and who knows, you may just add a couple years to your life.  Aging is frustrating for all.  It is not fun being limited physically or mentally.  By taking care of your body, you can find yourself being more appreciative for this later in life.