Cellular Health, Whole Body Health

Cellular Health, Whole Body Health

The building blocks of our bodies are often forgotten when looking at a whole person and their health. These microscopic basic components of life seem so abstract when someone is complaining of muscle pain or fatigue let alone brain fog or swelling in their joints. All life begins with cells and so health and disease ultimately can be evaluated on this level.

Cell Membrane

The barrier between the environment and us starts with a thin layer known as the cell membrane. Within this fatty membrane are proteins, channels and receptors all allowing for communication between the environment and the cell. Research has shown that the viscosity and pliability of the cell membrane can be impacted by the nutrients taken in to our body. Also, the quality of our cell membranes translates to the effectiveness of cell receptors sitting in the membrane.

The types of foods, especially fats that we consume, are the building blocks we give our body to make our cell membranes. The more omega-3 essential fatty acids we integrate into our cell membranes, the more anti inflammatory and flexible our cell membranes become. This pliability of our cells allows receptors to be more prominent and easier seen by neurotransmitters and hormones. Research has found that insulin receptors and neurotransmitters improve function with an increase in omega-3 essential fatty acids. Cell membranes have become a major focus in health research as we learn more and more of the importance in signaling molecules and communication between cells on the surface of our cells.

Intracellular space: The Start to Detox

Beyond the membrane of the cell, the intracellular space is home to all of the organelles, DNA and cytoplasm that are responsible for all of the functions of the cell. The quality of this space can be influenced substantially by external factions. Toxic burden, hormone imbalance, dehydration and poor diets can all shift the balance of water in our bodies. Cells can become functionally dehydrated because our body’s solution to pollution is dilution of the space between our cells or extracellular space. Essentially if there are toxins, hormones or inflammation outside of the cells, the body floods the area with water to protect the cells, but in the process dehydrates them.

Extracellular and intracellular water balance can be measured with bioimpedance analysis. Using technology similar to that of an EKG, the water levels inside cells and outside cells can be tested to assess the balance of water. This test is performed at a physician’s office and typically takes less than two minutes using electrodes placed on the limbs. How is your intracellular space? The balance of water inside and outside your cells is a good first clue!

 

Mitochondria: Cellular Energy

Organelles are the organs of cells. The mitochondria are often identified as the main organelle for energy. This powerhouse of the cell creates the most basic form of energy, ATP. They function using specific nutrients to fuel every cell and thus the whole body. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been identified in many conditions, including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Autism. Fatigue, muscle pain and brain fog are among some of the symptoms that can be associated with mitochondrial fatigue. Unfortunately these are the symptoms of hundreds of other conditions. How do you know if you have mitochondrial fatigue?

Evaluation of mitochondrial function typically involves checking levels of specific amino acids in either blood or urine to assure proper ratios. Also, specific products from mitochondria can be measured. The most common test, done by the majority of conventional labs, looks at ratios of alanine and lysine. Proper balance between these two levels or not will speak to the health of cell’s mitochondria. Assessing mitochondrial function can help determine if it is the cause of vague symptoms of imbalance.

Specific nutrients are needed to help the mitochondria work. Magnesium, CoQ10, carnitine and D-Ribose are all indicated for reviving fatigued mitochondria. Used in conjunction, they are extremely effective at improving symptoms and function of this organelle. Levels of specific nutrients may also need to be assessed to ensure adequate doses. Levels of carnitine and magnesium can be tested in blood tests as well. Many medications and even caffeine can deplete the body of magnesium, therefore an individual’s need for magnesium maybe greater than a standard dose. Nutrient support for the mitochondria ensures its function and a healthy cell.

The cell exemplifies the beautiful design of the body and how responsive it can be to healthy lifestyle and nutritional support. Happy cells offer a great foundation for a happy body.

 

Dr. Lauren Young is a board certified naturopathic physician, accepting new patients for her family practice in Manchester, CT. Dr. Young is in network with most insurance companies. For an appointment or more information, please call (860)533-0179 or visit www.ctnaturalhealth.com.

 

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