A crucial element to appreciating, caring and providing for the needs of The Human Body, is first & foremost, to have some basic understanding of how the body is made up and its requirements in order for you to have a healthy, enjoyable, active and fulfilling life, as free from pains and diseases as possible.
Without knowing the why, what and how, it is very difficult to have the respect necessary to accomplish those goals.
But can these needs and functions be explained in a simple-to-understand way?
If we do not try, we will never know. So let’s begin at the beginning.
In the beginning there was a single cell. Sperm from the father fertilized an egg from the mother. This combination contains DNA from both the father and the mother.
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is a molecule which contains the biological instructions that makes each of us unique. DNA, along with the instructions it contains, is passed from adult organisms to their offspring during reproduction.
Our bodies are made from billions of individual cells and DNA is the control center for each and every cell. It is present in each cell in the form of a number of chromosomes. Chromosomes are arranged in pairs and the two members of each pair are almost identical copies of one another.
The mass of DNA is surrounded in most cells by a strong membrane with tiny specific openings, which will, like a security guard, allow some items to enter or leave, whilst keeping others on the inside or the outside.
Important chemical molecules go in and out of these holes. The space in the cell that is not occupied by DNA and the various sorts of machinery is filled with water.
The DNA contains all the genetic information needed for construction of a human being. Growth occurs by the process of cell division. Each cell divides into two cells and these cells in turn divide, and so on. Just before any cell divides, it duplicates its entire DNA, so that every new cell contains a complete set of DNA, which again contains all the genes of the organism.
Only a small fraction of all the genes present on this DNA are activated in any given type of cell. Thus cells that develop into an eye use only the genes that program for the growth of eye-cells. How cells know which kind of organ they belong to still being researched.
The DNA of humans is composed of approximately 3 billion base pairs of cells, making up a total of almost a meter-long stretch of DNA in every cell in our bodies. So as to be able to fit, the DNA needs to be in a very compact form. The human DNA is packaged in to 23 distinct chromosome pairs. (link to “What is a Chromosome”)
So we now know or knew that all of us started as a single fertilized egg in our mother’s Fallopian tubes. Then, over the following 9 months or so, that cell grew, through a process of repeated cell division, into a fully formed newly born human being, with a brain, organs, limbs, muscles and a voice.
The questions of how this process takes place - how the fertilized cell knows what it is supposed to do and how it does that – is the big question.
However we are not going to tackle that research here even if we could.
What we do know is that together, these cells must form a total of ten trillion connections with the brain, and in almost every baby ever born this is done correctly. All of this is accomplished through the functioning of DNA, the computer program that runs through every living organism on earth – plants, animals and mankind.
DNA contains the biological instructions that make every species unique. DNA contains the instructions that are passed on from adult organisms to their offspring and again to their offspring during reproduction.
DNA is located inside a special area of the cell called the nucleus. Because the cell is very small, and because organisms have many DNA molecules per cell, each DNA molecule must be tightly packaged. This packaged form of the DNA is called a chromosome.
DNA spends a lot of time in its chromosome form. But during cell division, DNA unwinds so it can be copied and the copies transferred to new cells. DNA also unwinds so that its instructions can be used to make proteins and for other biological processes.
Researchers refer to DNA found in the cell's nucleus as nuclear DNA. An organism's complete set of nuclear DNA is called its genome.
Besides the DNA located in the nucleus, humans and other complex organisms also have a small amount of DNA in cell structures known as mitochondria. Mitochondria generate the energy the cell needs to function properly.
In sexual reproduction, organisms inherit half of their nuclear DNA from the male parent and half from the female parent. However, organisms inherit their entire mitochondrial DNA from the female parent. This occurs because only egg cells, and not sperm cells, keep their mitochondria during fertilization.
Few of us ever consider what DNA is made of? In biology parlance they’re called nucleic acids, and they are a specialized form of amino acids, which are basically proteins. Proteins are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are made up of atoms. Atoms are made up of protons, neutrons and electrons.
But stop and think for a moment, how does an atom know where to go to make 10 trillion connections?
Since when did we ever attribute intelligence to an atom? Where is this intelligence coming from that gives DNA the foresight to tell an electron where to go? If every atom acted independently, there would be an infinite array of biological species.
DNA is a double helix formed by base pairs attached to a sugar-phosphate backbone.
DNA has a spiral staircase-like structure.
Let’s take it a step further. DNA is made of chemical building blocks called nucleotides. These building blocks are made of three parts: a phosphate group, a sugar group and one of four types of nitrogen bases. To form a strand of DNA, nucleotides are linked into chains, with the phosphate and sugar groups alternating.
The four types of nitrogen bases found in nucleotides are: adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cytosine (C). The order, or sequence, of these bases determines what biological instructions are contained in a strand of DNA. For example, the sequence ATCGTT might instruct for blue eyes, while ATCGCT might instruct for brown eyes.
Each DNA sequence that contains instructions to make a protein is known as a gene. The size of a gene may vary greatly, ranging from about 1,000 bases to 1 million bases in humans.
The complete DNA instruction book, or genome, for a human contains about 3 billion bases and about 20,000 genes on 23 pairs of chromosomes.
DNA contains the instructions needed for an organism to develop, survive and reproduce. To carry out these functions, DNA sequences must be converted into messages that can be used to produce proteins, which are the complex molecules that do most of the work in our bodies.
A baby forming in its mother’s womb must develop from a single fertilized egg into a complex being having trillions of cells at the time of birth. A full-grown adult has about 30 trillion cells, but the growth in size is nothing compared to the intricate task of developing bones, organs, skin, intelligence and emotions from a single cell.
DNA's instructions are used to make proteins in a two-step process. First, enzymes read the information in a DNA molecule and transcribe it into an intermediary molecule called messenger ribonucleic acid, or mRNA.
Next, the information contained in the mRNA molecule is translated into the "language" of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. This language tells the cell's protein-making machinery the precise order in which to link the amino acids to produce a specific protein. This is a major task because there are 20 types of amino acids, which can be placed in many different orders to form a wide variety of proteins.
The only thing we can do is to be aware of the wonder workings of the Human Body, and then to respect its basic and simple requirements of us. After all, by us applying and providing for its needs, WE are the ones that will benefit throughout our lives.
The extremely complicated and mysterious make-up and functions of DNA are way beyond us understanding.
This is all the more reason to be aware of our lifestyle habits.
Don’t take too much advantage of its miracle workings and healing abilities.
- Do everything in moderation.
- Enjoy food and drink whilst being aware that both supply the energy needed for your body to function efficiently at work and play in your chosen spheres.
- The body is a machine and as such it needs to be active.
- Don’t take advantage of your body by feeding it with garbage.
- Be in control of those aspects which are in your control, for example, chewing your food correctly, maintain good postural habits, control your stress, breathe correctly (avoid being a “mouth breather”), live by logic of prevention rather than cure, adhere to a regular stretching and exercise routine, be a genuine “listener” to family - especially your kids - and associates.