The spinal cord is a long, thin, tubular bundle of nervous tissue and support cells that extends from the medulla oblongata in the brainstem. The brain and spinal cord together make up the central nervous system (CNS).
The spinal cord begins at the occipital bone and extends down to the space between the first and second lumbar vertebrae; it does not extend the entire length of the vertebral column. It is around 45 cm (18 in) in men and around 43 cm (17 in) long in women. Also, the spinal cord has a varying width, ranging from 13 mm (1⁄2 in) thick in the cervical and lumbar regions to 6.4 mm (1⁄4 in) thick in the thoracic area. The enclosing bony vertebral column protects the relatively shorter spinal cord.
Figure 1 Spinal Cord
The spinal cord functions primarily in the transmission of neural signals between the brain and the rest of the body but also contains neural circuits that can independently control numerous reflexes and central pattern generators.
The spinal cord has three major functions: as a conduit for motor information, which travels down the spinal cord, as a conduit for sensory information in the reverse direction, and finally as a center for coordinating certain reflexes. 1
Figure 2 Gross anatomy of the spinal cord
The human spinal cord is divided into 31 different segments. At every segment, right and left pairs of spinal nerves (mixed; sensory and motor) form. Six to eight motor nerve rootlets branch out of right and left ventro lateral sulci in a very orderly manner. Nerve rootlets combine to form nerve roots. Likewise, sensory nerve rootlets form off right and left dorsal lateral sulci and form sensory nerve roots. The ventral (motor) and dorsal (sensory) roots combine to form spinal nerves (mixed; motor and sensory), one on each side of the spinal cord.
The Table below list the natural substance that can enhance the health of the spinal cord, especially post spinal cord injury:
Natural Substances that Enhance the Health of the Spinal Cord
Category Substance Reference
Amino Acids Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR) 1
N-Acetyl-Cysyteine (NAC) 3
Herbs Ginko Biloba 5
St. John’s Wort 6
Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) 7
Hormones Pregnenolone 8
Lipids DHA 10
Omega 3 Fatty Acids 11
Minerals Magnesium 12
Nootropics CDP-Choline 14
Polyphenols Curcumin 15
Vitamins Folic Acid 17
Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin) 18
Vitamin C 19
Vitamin E 20
Vitamin D 21
BioFoundations – Natural Substances that Enhance the Health of the Spinal Cord (PDF)
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