On this page I want to talk about healthy cells, how they are structured and a little about how they work. Later on this page I also discuss some aspects of diabetes you might find informative.
I know, I know.. you must have 'done' all this in school - but it may have been a long time ago - and you may not have really GOT how amazing they are.
If you ever saw Star Wars, you might remember the 'Midochlorians'.. tiny beings who (so the story goes) live within each and every cell in our bodies, communicating with us and between us.. together they form part of 'the force' - the energy field of the universe.
Heady Hollywood stuff I know, but I always liked the idea because it fits rather nicely with my ideas about the mitochondria - the power house within each one, and what new research is now revealing about IT'S development.
In my college I wanted my students to really understand the wonders of each part of a cell's functions because it's the healthy functioning of each one, that ensures our ongoing health and allows the energy of homeopathy to work. Because Homeopathy works on a dynamic level.. in the world of energy fields..the micro worlds of cells must connect with the macro world of universal energies. We are indeed, an energy field within a larger energy field.
As I said, maybe you learned about human biology in school - but this page will give you a quick reminder, and hopefully inspire you to pay greater attention to their well being. After all -- the Midochlorians may really be true!:-)
I found some great descriptions in Dr Ross Walker's excellent book, The Cell Factor and have reproduced a lot of his information. I hope he doesn't mind.. and I do thoroughly recommend any of his books.. they are readable and informative.
THE CELL IS A FACTORY
Think of a cell as a factory. In the factory there is an entrance that faces the road. Trucks enter the factory from the road and go and park in the delivery area. Raw materials come off the trucks and are delivered to the various parts of the factory for use on different machines to manufacture different products.
The factory needs a constant supply of power. It has to have sturdy strong walls to protect against weather and robbers.
The management team is in a separate office within the factory so that regular instructions can be given to the workers.
There is an OHS team and a Security team to maintain the well being of the workers and to ensure that the property of the workers and the products themselves are safe. There is a cleaning and maintenance team that ensures that the factory floor is spotless and any waste products are transported out, taken out of the factory and disposed of. The management team has to arrange for regular deliveries to the factory of products as well as raw materials.
There are many factories manufacturing similar and different products.
The roads in the body are the blood vessels, they deliver the products in the form of macronutrients (fats, sugar and protein) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and trace metals) Without an adequate supply of these, it cannot function efficiently, cannot make energy or sustain life - these are known as Qi, Prana, or The Vital Force in alternative and complementary therapies.
Oxygen is vital to the well being of a healthy cell. ( Hence my regular reminders to you to breathe deeply and breath more often!) It is delivered to the cells in a protein, haemoglobin. Oxygen enters the cell across the cell membrane and travels to the energy centre – the mitochondria.
The mitochondia is a mini power station, burning oxygen with the breakdown products of the fats, sugar and to a lesser extent, the protein (the major fuels), creating the major energy generator ATP (Adenysine Triphosphate). This is a complex amino acid which literally IS ENERGY packets, made and stored for our use.
A healthy cell membrane is made up of 75 percent fatty acid in a lipid bilayer. The fats need to be made up of a healthy, natural fat and includes the fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6, as well as a significant amount of saturated fats and cholesterol. If the membrane is not functioning properly then it is difficult for the delivery products to enter the cell and nourish it. If the membrane does not have normal amounts of these essential fatty acids then it cannot deliver adequate nutrients to the different areas of the cell for normal processing.
To make the cells of a muscle work, i.e. move, a whole series of proteins are needed. The production of these proteins requires a constant supply of amino acids – these are the breakdown products of proteins – some of which we manufacture in the body and some of which we MUST get from our food.
Control of protein production and every other function of the healthy cell, including division, occurs in the nucleus of the cell, which also controls its own DNA production and the timing of division.
Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide diffuse in and out, but glucose requires energy to enter the cell. It has to latch on to a receptor and is then delivered to the factory floor – which is called the cytoplasm.
The Immune system is the security guard AND health and safety officers. They make their own proteins and maintain their own health.Components of the white cells – the T3 And T4 - destroy viruses and tumours and B cells – which are more geared to produce antibodies, are basically mobile nervous systems. They contain their own thought processes and an enormous amount of memory about bugs that have affected humans over the thousands of years of our development. They can develop new killing mechanisms to destroy bacteria, viruses etc. Many other white cells exist, which deal with acute bacterial infections and allergies for example.
A big problem happens when we introduce trans fatty acids because the membrane cannot distinguish between synthetic and natural fats. When the synthetic ones are incorporated into the membrane, they have the effect of making it hard and impermeable to nutrients. The inner part is starved of nutrients. The cell lacks energy and therefore we lack energy.We don't have healthy cells.
Sugar is the most common form of energy . If our cell membranes are damaged we need constant sugar hits in order to overcome the chronic malnutrition – carbohydrate junkies? Or coffee junkies?
If this is you - then you need to be aware that your individual cell coverings - the capsule that holds all of the essential parts of the cell - are weakened. Step one towards more healthy cells is to start eating more of the Omega 3 and some 6 and give your cell walls some more OOOMPH! A tin of sardines three times a week, plus Red Krill Oil capsules every day will build up the membrane's thickness and strength.
THE DIABETES CONNECTION
The doorman who lets in sugar is INSULIN - the body’s response to the effects of the damaged membrane is to make more insulin. The body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin, and the insulin levels rise in the blood.
One of the effects of excessive insulin is the laying down of fat. Insulin also contributes to excessive production of triglycerides and the damaged membranes also cause a rise in the cholesterol trigylycerides and a reduction in the good cholestrerol, HDL, and high blood pressure. The sugars that cannot make it into the cells get deposited as plaque on the outside of the membrane. Lack of nutrients arriving inside destroys normal DNA function and the nucleus ( the management team) delivers the wrong messages.
Warning signs for insulin resistant diabetes include
* random elevation of blood sugar or h/o diabetes during pregnancy. * Elevated blood pressure * Abnormal cholesterol profiles – esp high triglyserides (anything above 1.5) * Abnormally low HDL (anything below 1.3) * Obesity , especially abdominal.
Treatment for Insulin resistence.
*Supplements CHROMIUM between 200 – 1000 micrograms a day improves delivery of glucose to the cells and diminishes the effects of insulin resistence.
*Suggested dose between 400 – 500 micrograms. Can be taken long term and can go as high as 1000 per day.
*Alpha Lipoic Acid 600 a day, very important for the mitochondria
* The Homeopathic remedy Vanadium – we know this as a remedy for Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia. Contact me for advice and support with either of these conditions.
* Ginseng – 2 or 3 grams
* Vitamin E should be used as a daily preventative by everyone over 35 , between 400 – 800 units, taken each night.
WHAT ARE FREE RADICALS?
We hear a lot about them but what exactly are they? Free radicals are the by products of reactions involving oxygen and other fuel sources. Basically they are unstable chemicals that have lost an electron during the oxidization process. They get that electron from one of the electrons from a blood vessel, from LDL cholesterol, your immune system or even from DNA. Those functions have then been disrupted because one of their electrons have been stolen. Free Radicals are produced by all kinds of stresses, pollution, food, exercise, stress, cigarette smoking.The body produces its own free radicals as part of the internal exchange of chemicals in energy production, but many more come from outside the body. You could think of them as unstable electrons that cause damage to protein, DNS and collagen.
One lung full of cigarette smoke releases three trillion free radicals!!
If our bodies become overloaded with free radicals our natural anti oxidant system becomes overloaded. They rip out the stable electrons from blood vessels, damage LDL cholesterol causing it to become deposited in the walls of the blood vessels, oxidize the DNA making it send abnormal chemical instructions to the cells – e.g. cancer.
WHAT ARE ANTIOXIDENTS?
These substances, or more correctly - parts of their own chemical structure - act to decoy the free radicals, sacrificing their own electrons. The body does make its own endogenous antioxidants which cope with day to day stresses as long as the quality of foods is good.
These are some of the well known natural sources of Antioxidants.
Extra virgin olive oil Tea – Green Fruit such a Blueberries and vegetables such as Red Capsicum. Red Wine Antioxident dose vitamins What are the supplements that are high in antioxidants Vitamin C Vitamin E Betacartene Selenium
Benefits * Collagen forming – support network for whole body’s organs and cells
* Immune system – defence system – increased when under stress
* Antioxident system - Vit C is a water soluble vitamin providing a vital apart of the antioxidant plasma protection package
* Nervous system – its vital for normal messaging to the brain. Neurotransmitters
* Production of hormones, iron absorbtion etc .
Who should take Vitamin C?
If you are under 35, without any major illnesses or in a very high risk category, don’t smoke, live in a pollution free environment and eat organically grown fruit and vegetables – there is no real justification for Vitamin C supplements
If you are over 35 but very healthy, no real risk factors but some of the above – it can be an added benefit
Anyone with high risk, high cholesterol, and strong history of heart disease or cancer
Anyone with established major diseases
Healthy – low risk – Dr Walker recommends 500 – 1000 mg daily Heart disease and Cancer patients Dr Walker recommends I – 2 gms per day
* A fat soluble Vitamin, composed of a group of compounds called TOCOPHEROLS. Seven forms of tocopherol exist in nature. Alpha Toc is the most potent. Vit E is necessary for all forms of oxygen consuming life forms. It is an antioxidant.
* It prevents saturated fatty acids and Vitamin A from breaking down and combining with other substances.
* It plays an important role in energy production, cellular respiration of all muscles, causes dilation of the blood vessels
* Highly effective antithrombin, inhibiting coagulation by preventing clots from forming. ( Read Ross Walker on E for heart problem patients)
* Prevents both the pituitary and adrenal hormones from being oxidized and promotes proper functioning of linoleic acid and unsaturated fatty acid.
* Vit E may be useful in slowing down the aging process
* Needed for proper focusing of eyes of middle aged people
* Stimulates urine secretion
* It’s a diuretic, helps lower blood pressure
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS
Omega 3 and Omega 6 are the polyunsaturated fats. Reminder of their five major functions –
1 For healthy membranes 2 To maintain the balance of body functions through eicosanoid compounds 3 To aid the normal function of the brain and retina 4 To reduce cholesterol and aid fat metabolism 5 To boost the immune system.
They are called essential because he have to eat them!
Saturated fats – e.g. animal fats and milk products and coconuts Mono - Unsaturated fats, olive oil, canola, avocado, nuts Poly unsaturated fats divided into Omega 3 (fish and Plant derived) and Omega 6 ( usually from vegetable oils) Trans fatty acids – the worst type, synthetic form of unsaturated fats
Essential fatty acids are a major component of eicosanoids – they maintain the local balance in and around the cell. They help maintain Homeostasis.
The balance between Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids in the body will affect the eicosanoids produced. Usually we consume them in the ration 1:10. The western diet contains much less Omega 3.
Omega 3 generates alpha-linolenic acid – create prostaglandin called prostacyclin. This is made in the endothelials which line of blood vessels and stops platelets from sticking, dilating blood vessels and improving blood flow.
Cardiologist, Dr Ross Walker, in his book The Cell Factor, believes the ratio should be 1:3. Other doctors say it should be 1:1. If you are pregnant you should especially be watching that your Omega 3 is high, because of the needs of the growing baby, and also when you are breast feeding. ( see the breastfeeding diet link)
LSA is a very good source of Omega 3 for those people who are allergic to fish oil.
Must have plenty of Vitamin E when having a diet high in essential fatty acids.
Nutriway Omega 3 has 180 mg of EPA and 120 DHA with naturally sourced Vitamin E added which helps with the oxidization.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 is the normal source of fatty acid , usually we consume it in a ratio of 10:1 – 10 being Omega 6 and 1 being Omega 3.
Omega 3 generates alpha linoleic acid – producing prostacyclin, which thins the blood and stops it being sticky, improving blood flow.
Eicosanoids are very important from our point of view as homoeopaths because of the effect they have on our immune system.
Excessive amounts of the omega 6 fatty acids produce arachidonic acid – these tend to be pro-inflammatory – increased levels of asthma and arthritis. Omega 3 has an anti inflammatory action.
I know - this page is stuffed full of info you learned in human biology - but it doesn't hurt to hear it again and put it into context of why we all need to pay attention to our individual cell's health.