The human body is amazing — and strange. It
functions thanks to careful cooperation and coordination between organs such as
the heart, lungs, and brain, as well as entire systems that these organs form a
part of, such as the cardiovascular, respiratory, and nervous systems.
The brain tells the heart to beat, which then
pumps blood to the lungs, where the blood picks up oxygen before heading back
to the heart, where another beat sends it out into the body to replenish cells
with oxygen. That’s amazing, but it’s hardly strange to you — they taught you
that in high school. What you didn’t learn about are some of the more bizarre
links between organs, many of which were only recently discovered. Moreover,
these links can have a profound effect on your physical and mental health.
Here’s a look at some.
Mouth and Heart
Gum disease boosts a person’s risk of
contracting a heart condition by 20 percent, according to research cited by
Healthline. This may have something to do with bacteria causing inflammation in
the soft tissue lining the mouth, which constricts certain arteries and slows
the flow of blood. There’s another reason to brush and floss, but it’s not the last.
Mouth and Brain
Poor oral hygiene can lead to a number of mental health disorders. For starters, the
bacteria that cause gingivitis seem to travel through the bloodstream to the
brain, wreaking havoc on neurons and leading to memory loss and dementia. On a
more basic level, bad breath induces social anxiety, which, left unchecked,
often ends in depression. Again, brush and floss!
Gut and Brain
The gut-brain axis has been the subject of
intense study since researchers discovered that microorganisms living in your
intestines influence the cognitive and emotional centers of the brain.
That, in turn, affects the production of hormones such as serotonin, which
plays a large role in regulating your mood. To ensure a healthy gut,
many nutritionists recommend eating probiotic foods such as yogurt that contain
living cultures of healthy bacteria, along with taking probiotic supplements
and reducing the use of antibiotics.
Gut and Lungs
Although not as well understood as the
gut-brain axis, research has been conducted on how gastrointestinal microbes protect against
certain allergies and asthma, a respiratory disease in which airways in the
lungs constrict, making it difficult to breathe. It’s been known for a long
time that chronic lung diseases often coincide with gastrointestinal ailments.
Lungs and Brain
According to research cited by Onlymyhealth,
keeping your lungs healthy leads to better cognitive functioning and a stronger
brain overall. This can help people maintain their problem-solving abilities as
well as their memory recall into old age, when those functions begin to wane.
For healthy lungs, quit smoking and exercise.
Liver and Brain
This link is a bit frightening. According to
Scientific American, the liver actually “eats” a structure in the brain called the
hippocampus, the center of memory. More specifically, both the liver and
hippocampus compete for a protein called PPARalpha, with the liver coming out
on top among people with a lot of belly fat, another reason for a healthy diet
Skin and Bones
Spending time outdoors exposes the skin to the
sun’s rays, inducing the production of vitamin D in the largest organ
of your body, one that envelopes all the rest. Among its many other functions,
that vitamin works with calcium in building bone. The message: Get some sun.
Skin and Brain
It turns out that vitamin D also plays a
crucial role in mood regulation. Studies suggest that natural
declines in the vitamin during the winter months are related to a drop in the
amount of serotonin in the brain. It may be cold, but head outside anyway.
And that’s just the beginning. As science marches forward, it will doubtlessly discover even more strange connections between organs in the human body and how they affect your health in surprising ways.
Stay tuned — and stay healthy!
Image via Pixabay