Functional Medicine

How Our Body Works

We take our body for granted

How many times have you had an issue with your body and perhaps took a pill to cure it? But did you ever stop to think twice about why you had this issue in the first place?

We really take our body for granted. We get mad at it.  And we feel betrayed and abandoned if it starts giving us concerns, issues and troubles.

We think about our body when we become exhausted, get a cold, the flu, or digestive discomfort, or when we experience difficulty breathing. But if it doesn’t get better right away from temporarily changing a few things in our life or taking some type of medication, we get discouraged, give up, and try to ignore it. 

We never think about how our body works.

Why is our body doing this? Why is it stopping you? What do you need to do to make it better?

Your body is your power house so it is important to understand how our body works, and support it properly. So let’s gain a deeper understanding of what is going on in our bodies. 

Take a look at the picture below:

This represents all the biochemical, energetic reactions going on in our cells which allows us to do what we like to do including living our lives. It’s worth having another look to embrace the complexity.

Once Cell is like an Orchestra that Helps Explain How Our Body Works

Now, multiply this by at least 10 trillion which represents a low estimate of how many cells we have in our bodies. One cell is like an orchestra with all its instruments (representing these pathways) complementing and supporting each other to make these beautiful sounds (representing your health and ultimately your life).

Now multiply the complexity of this one cell by 10-40 trillion cells or orchestras having to work with each other to produce this beautiful sound that is YOU. 

These cells or orchestras not only adjust to what is going on inside of us, but they also adjust to everything that is outside of us.  It is truly amazing and awe-inspiring!

Research has come a long way to help us understand  how our internal and external environment influences all these mechanisms and I am sure in the future we will understand that much more. 

But for now, I would like to provide a general overview of how our body works. That way you can start to discover and understand how your own body is working and develop better ideas to support yourself and your unique circumstances. 

For this, we need to start from the beginning right from conception. If you don’t go back that far you will miss a big part of the puzzle. 

It starts at conception

At conception, the cell of your mom and the cell of your dad got together and started to produce YOU.  So let’s see what they gave you right from the start. 

One cell is fertilized and after many divisions will become YOU. 

That first cell along with most of the other cells (red blood cells are a bit different)  will have a cell membrane, mitochondria, and a nucleus along with many other organelles but we want to keep it simple here. 

The cell membrane will allow things to come in and out of the cell. 

The mitochondria (many many of them in one cell) are like little furnaces. They produce the energy needed for your body to function. What is also very neat about mitochondria is that they have their own DNA (genes). The genes in your mitochondria come mainly from your mother and her lineage. So, you might be able to blame your mom if you never had much energy!

The nucleus contains your genes from your mom and dad and their lineage.

Your genes are like your information tank. The functioning of your genes will be regulated by your epigenome which surrounds your genes. It has the capacity to turn on a gene and to turn off a gene. This ultimately controls the functioning of your body. Your epigenome will be influenced by everything which goes on in your body and outside of your body. 

As you can see, from the very beginning, your mom & dad’s genes’ and their epigenetic along with their ancestors, influence your life today. This includes any malfunctioning within their genes, the environment they have encountered, their mindsets, and their imprints (good or bad). This all becomes a part of YOU. It might be activated already or it might not, but it is part of you. 

Therefore, your genes are your information tank and your epigenome is the program which activates the information it thinks your body needs for the circumstances at a specific moment. It can turn on genes or turn off genes.  

For example.:

  • When you eat carbohydrates, your body will sense it and your epigenome will activate the genes that you need to process your carbs, absorb them, or discard them depending on the situation.
  • When you encounter a trauma such as a death, accident, abuse, or famine, your epigenome will activate or deactivate the genes needed to respond to the situation. If you have encountered something similar before it will take cues from that past experience, good or bad.  

And this process takes place from conception until you die.

What influences the epigenome?

Everything you have encountered from conception to now, located inside and outside your body, has an influence on the epigenome. These are some examples of influencers on your body:

  • Hormones, protein, fatty acids, glucose, organelles, mitochondria, and nerve cells
  • Food intake, availability, quality
  • Water intake, availability, quality
  • Air
  • Sun and moon
  • House, car, work, business, career, and school
  • Finances
  • Relationships, love/hate, fun/happiness, beliefs, emotions
  • Microorganisms

    All this chemistry (protein, etc) produced through our genes due to the signals from the epigenome will ultimately make up how you think (your thoughts) and how you act (your actions). How does it work? To fully understand you need to learn a little bit about your nervous system. 

Your Nervous System

Now that you understand a bit more about your genes and epigenome you also need to understand the role of your nervous system in this process. Believe me you are not going to become a neurologist with this explanation. But, I will give you enough information to help you understand how your body is working. 

Your nervous system is highly complex. It coordinates sensory (sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste, and pressure) and action (movement) information by transmitting signals to certain parts of the body and from certain parts of the body.

Your nervous system detects changes in the environment which impact the body. Then through its signaling system it involves many other parts of your body to adapt to the change and restore balance. 

Your body wants homeostasis (balance). Therefore, it is always on the lookout for changes.

There are 2 main parts of the nervous system:

The Central Nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord. The Peripheral Nervous system is made of nerves branching out from the spinal cord and extends to all parts of the body. The nervous system is involved in many processes including detecting and sending messages to the brain from the following:

  • Light
  • Sound (ear, vestibular system for balance)
  • Odor
  • Taste
  • Pressure
  • Angles of the joints, body position
  • Our guts
  • Heat
  • Seasons
  • Sun, moon

The nervous system helps generate movement when needed. It controls involuntary processes like:

  • Heartbeat
  • Releasing hormones (like adrenaline, cortisol)
  • Opening our pupil in response to light
  • Regulating our digestive system

Let’s review what we know so far…

So how does it work in real life?

Let’s say you want to pick up a cup. What is the trigger?

  • You are thirsty.
  • Maybe you like the shape of the cup and your brain would like to know how it feels to hold the cup.
  • You saw a detail that has triggered your brain and would like to see it closer.

Your nervous system has been triggered because of something.

Next, your nervous system needs to respond. It goes into its information bank (epigenome & genes), which produces a cascade of biochemical reactions to fulfill the need of the nervous system. If needed, it will make you pick up the cup and drink, or pick up the cup and feel the different structures, or make you investigate further what is going on with this cup.

For sure, you will have added to your information bank. Whether this information will be deemed very important to your nervous system will depend on the depth of the experience. 

Let’s say instead of wanting to pick up a cup you are in a situation of being bullied. The process will be the same. Signals will be sent to your information bank (epigenome & genes) and depending on your previous experience and/or the experiences of your parents and grandparents in relation to bullying, your information bank (epigenome & genes) will send signals for you to react a certain way. Some people might run away while some others might freeze on the spot. You might become very angry, frustrated, or hopeless. It is all based on what is stored in your information bank. 

These are all triggers

You can now see how bullying, discrimination, happy occasions, traumatic experiences, the state of society, famine, overeating, and more are all triggers. And these triggers will bring information to your nervous system and your epigenome about your environment and about yourself. 

Ultimately, what is in your information bank will give you the way you see the world, society, the environment, and the way you see yourself. It will also control the way you act, react ,and the way you think. Your mind is created by the dance of information going on into your brain and nervous system. 

The Dance that is going on in your World

Look at the diagram below and you might be able to start seeing and understanding what is going on with you. And what could be causing some of your problems. It may give you insights into how to resolve your concerns. 

Becoming Aware of Your Triggers

You are constantly triggered. Your body has to constantly adapt to what is going on in its external and internal environment. And most of the reaction from these triggers are good for you. But in some instances, and maybe upon reflection, you realize that some of these reactions are not the best for you. They are not helping you live your best life. 

Developing an Awareness of your Triggers

The key is to start developing an awareness of why a certain thought comes into your mind and why you are you physiologically and emotionally reacting a certain way to those triggers. 

You probably starting to realize how unique you are. Nobody else lived through everything you have experienced in your life with the information you were given from conception. Some people might have similar experiences but not exactly the same.  A good way to start understanding what has been stored in your information bank and what is triggering you is to keep a journal. Journal about how you are feeling through the day and what has triggered that feeling. If you have trouble sensing feelings, write down what messed up your life that day and what enhanced your life. Remember that many things can trigger you. Ensure that you do a bit of digging. 

The Neuro Emotional Technique (NET) is an effective way to find out what has been stored in your information bank and to change it, if needed. 

This is powerful information for you to have and maybe to share with others. When more people understand themselves, life can become more of a cooperation instead of a constant competition. 


Metabolic Pathways
Mitochondrial DNA
Epigenomics Fact Sheet
Influences of maternal and paternal PTSD on epigenetic regulation of the glucocorticoid receptor gene in Holocaust survivor offspring
Decoding human behaviour – Part 1 – Introduction
Decoding human behaviour – Part 2 – Some fundamentals of heredity
Decoding human behaviour – Part 3 – Is Epigenetics a new invention? Some common examples
Decoding human behaviour – Part 4 – How environment impacts behavior?
What are the parts of the nervous system?
Brain Basics: Know Your Brain


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