Sponges – Primitive model of our stomach and metabolic circadian tidal rhythms

Sponges are closest to the ancestors of all Metazoa (all multi-celled animals) including both sponges and more complex groups.  Most sponges live in quiet, clear waters, because sediment stirred up by waves or currents would block these animals’ pores, making it difficult for them to feed and breathe.

Most sponges work much like chimneys: they take in water at the bottom and eject it from their osculum ("little mouth") at the top.  Since ambient currents are faster at the top, the suction effect produced by Venturi action does some of the work for free.  Sponges can control the water flow by various combinations of wholly or partially closing their osculum and ostia ( intake pores) and varying the beat of their flagella, and may shut it down if there is a lot of sand or silt in the water.

Classified within their own primitive phylum within the animal kingdom, sponges have some of the simplest body organization in terms of cellular interaction.  In most animals, cells work cooperatively together to be collectively called tissues, and tissues generally work cooperatively in groups called organs, and organs working cooperatively together comprise an organ system.  

Sponges are more primitive than all other animals in that they have no true tissues or true organs.  With no tissues or organs the capture, breakdown, and removal of waste are all carried out by each of the cells within the sponge.  This cooperation of diverse cellular types is the early model of our stomach.

Once anchored upon a surface, a sponge will feed by filtering the water that enters it via the ostia (incurrent pores) and exits out the oscula (the exit pores).   The diet of a sponge consists of plankton, mostly bacteria and detritus (organic waste).  In order to feed, tidal water flows across the sponge walls and through the ostium. 

Once in the ostium the water flows into the central sponge cavity called the spongocoel.   The spongocoel is lined with collar cells, many of which create a current inside the spongocoel that exits out the osculum.  These specialized cells have flagella, tail like whips capable of directing the current out of the sponge.  These specialized collar cells equipped with flagella are called choanocytes.  In fact the net effect of this movement draws water and food into the sponge from outside the sponge into it.

Sponges do not have distinct circulatory, respiratory, digestive and excretory systems.  Instead the water flow system supports all these functions.  They filter food particles out of the water flowing through them.  Particles larger than 50 micrometers cannot enter the ostia and pinacocytes consume them by phagocytosis (engulfing and internal digestion).   This is the early model of our phagocytic white blood cells, which comprise our cellular immunity.

Bacteria-sized particles, below 0.5 micrometers, pass through the ostia and are caught and consumed by choanocytes.  Since the smallest particles are by far the most common, choanocytes typically capture 80% of a sponge's food supply.  Archaeocytes transport food packaged in vesicles from cells that directly digest food to those that do not.  At least one species of sponge has internal fibers that function as tracks for use by nutrient-carrying archaeocytes, and these tracks also move inert objects.

Sponges, like any non-motile animal (like most anemones, soft corals, barnacles and other "anchored" animals) depend entirely on tidal movement of water around them to both bring the things they need to live (oxygen and food), and carry away waste products (carbon dioxide and excrement).

Sponges' cells absorb oxygen by diffusion from the water flow system, into which carbon dioxide and other soluble waste products such as ammonia also disseminate.   Archeocytes remove mineral particles that threaten to block the ostia, transport them through the mesohyl and generally dump them into the outgoing water current, although some species incorporate them into their skeletons.

On some reefs, sponges have been calculated to filter all the water around the reef in 24 hours, and individuals may filter their body weight in water every 5 seconds.  The volume of water passing through a sponge can be enormous, up to 20 000 times its volume in a single 24-hour period.  This plays a major role in the removal of potentially harmful bacteria (a sponge’s primary food source) from the water.

The tides are 24.8 hours long.  Two incoming tides each day bring in food, primarily allowing building and repair.  Two outgoing tides remove waste, encouraging break down and excretion.  Our metabolisms have their default circadian rhythms genetically imprinted by the tides. 

Now we live on the land and are ruled by the rhythm of the 24-hour sun cycle.  Without enough cues from early and mid day light as well as sunset, timely sustaining food or adequate movement we default into our primally programmed 24.8-hour rhythm of the tides, never catching up to the 24-hour cycle, exhausting ourselves ‘swimming against the current’,  increasing ‘ risk’ and existing in a foggy irritable ‘jet lag.’ 

When balanced to our allotted 24 hours, ‘incoming tides’ (requiring fuel for anabolic reduction) are at the strongest 6AM-9:30AM and 6PM-9:30PM making us stronger and more acidic. ‘Acidic ebb tide,’ which allows high alertness, dissolves aches and pains (by freeing bound minerals) and lifts lethargy, crests from 10AM to noon and 10PM to midnight.  

Without fully fueling the morning incoming tide, the body cannot maintain cellular immunity or anabolically build and repair.  Instead it must rely on catabolic stress mechanisms to break down structural and reservoir tissues to provide nutrients for metabolism. 

With unsustaining breakfast, firm muscles, thick skin and strong bones are eaten as flabby fat tissue builds up around our middles and is stored in upper arms and as cellulite as a survival response.  The balanced daily circadian release of all hormonal systems of the body is confounded, disturbing the internal harmonic systems designed to bring order out of chaos (which is necessary to maintain our homeodynamic rhythmic balance).

‘Outgoing tides (requiring energy and water for oxidation) crest at 12:30PM-3PM and 12:30AM-3AM and make us more alkaline.  ‘Alkaline ebb tide’ creates lethargic, sleepy, irritable behavior with fast reaction times, increased accident likelihood, chills, aches, pains and spasms climaxes at 3PM-5PM and 3AM-5AM.  This is the best time to be sequestered alone or asleep.

Best time for a siesta is between 2PM (when day-long rising body temperature drops for 1 ˝ hours) and 5PM.  A short period of sleep during the day does not have any effect on normal circadian rhythm, but can decrease stress while improving memory and productivity.  The best bedtime is 9:30-10PM (when melatonin peaks and body temperature begins its major decline), with awaking just before the light to revel in the sunrise. 

Lighting levels necessary to reset the clock and affect circadian rhythm in humans are higher than the levels usually used in artificial lighting in homes.  The sunrise and high intensity and blue wavelength of light is an important factor in the entrainment of the body clock.  Failure to entrain the circadian time-keeping system to the desired rest-activity cycle disturbs sleep and impairs cognitive function.

Besides being the primary hormone involved in directing the functioning of the immune system, adrenal cortisol also dictates when we should be active and when we should rest.  Cortisol levels follow a 24-hour cycle, peaking just before the sun rises and tapering off as the sun sets, unless triggered by our primary stressor: food (especially meals containing cooked food).  

As cortisol levels increase, thyroid hormone works better, temperature rises and we are given the energy to begin our day.  When cortisol levels drop, reaching their lowest point about three hours after dark (and melatonin peaks), our bodies enter into their sleep cycles, a period of rest, recovery and enhanced cellular immunity as well as physical repair and psychic regeneration.

Cortisol production regulates the cellular immune system on a 24-hour cycle.  As cortisol levels drop at night, immune cells become highly active.  The cellular immune cells eliminate large numbers of bacteria and viruses, causing need for greater mucus production for elimination.  As a result, one experiences more morning congestion and coughing as humoral immunity reciprocally increases as cortisol levels rise and the body attempts to get rid of increased production of mucus.

Just before daybreak, when cortisol levels rise, the activity of mobile immune cells tapers off.  The immune cells then rest, reset and recondition themselves in the spleen and liver in preparation for the next nightly cycle of patrol.  Cellular immunity becomes diminished when cortisol levels are out of cadence.  For example, when you eat and party too much at night, sleep poorly, skip breakfast or fly to a different time zone, cortisol is inappropriately released, confounding functional immune rhythm.

August 24, 2009

Steven N. Green, DDS, 10261 SW 72 St., #106, Miami, FL 33173


Antiagingdentist.com or sngreen.com