There are many different ways to categorize body systems— AIM has
chosen to organize them into five systems, plus categories for overall
health; concerns unique to women, men, and seniors; and general lifestyle.
The five systems are the digestive-eliminatory system, the cardiovascular
system, the immuno-respiratory system, the nervous system, and the musculoskeletal
system.Learning the basic functioning of these systems, the disorders
that affect them, and the risk factors for these disorders will help
us take better care of our bodies. Learning how to support these systems
through lifestyle choices and supplementation is key to finding solutions
to health concerns and to living well.
The skeleton, made up of all the body’s bones, provides strength,
stability, and a frame for muscles to work against in producing movement.
Bones are both strong enough to support our weight and light enough
to allow us to move.
An out-of-balance body is the result of lifestyle choices. If we
are eating our "standard" diet, are over or under eating, are not exercising,
and are worrying about too many things, we may bring on an imbalance
in our whole body health.
The cardiovascular system consists of the heart and
blood vessels. Through this system, blood circulates throughout the
body. All body organs and tissues need a supply of blood to receive
nutrition and to remove waste products.
Lifestyle makes a significant difference in our health. How we live
has a direct impact on the overall quality of our lives. Our lifestyle
choices also affect others around us and the environment in which we
The digestive system is a 25- to 35-foot-long hose-like structure.
It receives food at one end, breaks it down into nutrients (a process
called digestion), and absorbs the nutrients into the bloodstream for
delivery to the cells.
Both men and women have special considerations. For men, prostate
concerns (urinary dysfunction, infection, cancer), impotence, and fertility
(sperm count, sperm motility) are a worry.
The immune system is the army that protects us from invaders. It
extends throughout all body systems and is linked to our brain and affected
by our state of mind. It protects us from bacteria, viruses, and cancer
The nervous system has two distinct parts. The central nervous system
comprises the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system is
the network of nerves that connects the brain and spinal cord to the
rest of the body.
Women have special needs for the minerals iron and calcium; folic
acid; the vitamins B6, B12, and E; soy-based foods; and cranberry supplements.
There are also many herbs of special interest to women. These include
black cohosh, wild yam, and dong quai.
As we age, our bodies change. We don’t have the same ability to repair
tissue damage and build bones as we did in our youth. Appetite and the
sense of taste often diminish, resulting in less than optimum nutrition.