- The skin of our cells is comprised of phospholipids and they are necessary for nervous system and cardiovascular system function and integrity*
- Phosphatidylcholine is the most abundant of the four phospholipids that predominate the membrane and is the most important structural and functional element in the membrane*
- Fats, when incorporated into phospholipids, they strongly influence membrane properties, including fluidity, flexibility, permeability, and the activities of membrane-bound enzymes and cell-signaling pathways*
While it’s true that the fountain of youth hasn’t been discovered yet, that doesn’t mean that big advancements aren’t being made, especially when it comes to cellular health and aging.
We’ve come a long way from the early days of science when scientists viewed the cell as a simple membranous sac with some particles floating aimlessly within. Today, we know that’s not the case. The trillions of cells inside our bodies are a complicated assembly, and everything starts within them.
Cell Structure 101
Let’s step back to high school biology for a moment. All cells have a membrane, cytoplasm, and a nucleus. In the cytoplasm, those aimless bodies account for a substantial array of tiny, but distinct, structures we call organelles.
The wall that surrounds and protects our cell is called the membrane and it helps to maintain the structure of the cell while controlling the coming and going of different materials in the body.
All cells contain genetic material in the form of DNA and ribosomes for protein synthesis. The DNA is linear and bound to proteins to form chromatin, the substance of the chromosomes. Many membrane-bound organelles in the cytoplasm provide separate compartments for the division of labor, including the mitochondria (the energy company), ribosomes (protein makers), the Golgi apparatus and endoplasmic reticulum (protein folders), and lysosomes (trash compactors).
Groups of cells that have a similar structure and function, together as a unit, make tissues, of which there are four kinds—epithelial, connective, muscle, and nervous. Epithelial tissues form the coverings of body surfaces, line body cavities, and hollow organs, and are the major part of glands. These cells are packed together tightly.
Connective tissue binds structures together to form a framework for different parts of the body. Some help to store fat or to protect from disease, while others help to repair damage. Adipose tissue and cartilage, bone and blood are in this category.
Tissues make organs, and organs make organ systems. These systems include the circulatory, digestive, endocrine, integumentary, immune, muscular, skeletal, reproductive, respiratory, and hematopoietic (makes material in blood). All the systems make a body, a unit that is made from proteins and fats and uses carbohydrates to burn for energy.
That was a lot of information! But, even if you skipped all that science, here comes the really important part to your health...
We know about vitamins and minerals, but we seldom—maybe never—think of fats and phospholipids (we’ll refer to them as PL’s for). PL’s are vital to cell membranes—they help the cellular and organelle membranes to be flexible, allowing the free flow of energy into the cell and debris out—known as endocytosis and exocytosis. But PL’s are more than mere structural elements. They’re necessary for nervous system and cardiovascular system function and integrity, and even more.
The Four Unique Phospholipids
PL’s may be distinguished by the type of molecules tied to the phosphate group: phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), phosphatidylinositol (PI), and phosphatidylserine (PS). PC is the most abundant and is the most important structural and functional element in the membrane. Functionally, PC:
- modulates inflammation
- reduces serum cholesterol
- stabilizes bile breaks down triglycerides
- facilitates the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins
- enhances tissue regeneration
- improves lung surfactant activity
- and helps to enhance anti-inflammatory eicosanoids.
PE is second in volume, where its relatively small head group makes it easy for proteins to find their positions within the membrane. PE is imperative to the health of mitochondria.
PS is a signaling molecule that can be made from within when an ethanolamine head is swapped for a serine head. Because it can enhance cognition, PS is held to be a cure-all for memory lapses. That PS made by the body is deemed better than that from a bottle. PS is typically confined to the inner membrane leaflet, facing the cytoplasm, but telegraphs to the outer part to signal the imminence of cell death, apoptosis. In platelets, PS directs the clotting process.
PI contains bound inositol and is especially abundant in brain tissue, where it plays a role in facilitating the formation of cell signaling molecules and in helping to bind proteins and carbohydrates to the outer leaflet of the membrane.
Food, Supplements and Cellular Health
It’s fairly well accepted that we can’t get all the nourishment we need from our food supply, despite what some doctors may say. Which is why supplementation may be a good idea. Even the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA), established in the mid-20th century, don’t satisfy physiological needs. BodyBio PC Complex contains all the phospholipid fractions needed for optimal structural, functional health, and well-being.
There is quite a difference between what we swallow, what we absorb, and which nutrients are actually assimilated into our body. Since BodyBio PC is in liposomal form, it’s able to survive the digestive process and enter cells. When PC is juxtaposed to any of the body’s cells, the cell views the PC as a building block and incorporates it into its own architecture.
The Truth About Cholesterol
Even though it’s gotten a bad rap in recent history, cholesterol is actually beneficial to membrane health. Cholesterol molecules are set up between the soft and oily phospholipid molecules to give structural stability to the lipid layer. This doesn’t mean that we should go out of the way to eat cholesterol-laden foods, but instead, that eating some in a balanced diet will do no harm.
The Protein/Carb Connection
Cells are in constant contact with each other. Proteins open the channels of communication, and carbohydrates power the machinery.
Low-carbohydrate diets may work for certain treatment plans, but some carbohydrates in the cell membrane are connected to proteins and form glycoproteins or glycolipids while forming the glycocalyx that surrounds the cell membrane. This combination creates an electrical charge to prevent potentially dangerous substances from entering the cell.
Additionally, some carbohydrates act as receptors for specific hormones. But this doesn’t mean we get a free pass to binge on sugars, ultra-starchy foods, and processed (and possibly mold-ridden) grains. Eating high-quality organic plant foods, especially crucifers and greens, is really important.
Why We Need Fats
When the low-fat, no-fat trend became popular during the 1990s hit the airwaves in recent years, fats were denigrated as evil and replaced by the true villain…sugar. Mouthfeel, or how food feels inside the mouth, is an important part of how we eat, and also the beginning of the digestive process. Sugar-laden foods and empty calories impede this process and wreak havoc on our bodies in more ways than one.
Fortunately for cellular and overall health, fats are once again being hailed as an important part of the diet. After all, we know that Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids are important structural components of the cell membrane. When incorporated into phospholipids, they strongly influence membrane properties, including fluidity, flexibility, permeability, and the activities of membrane-bound enzymes and cell-signaling pathways (Jump, 2013) (Stillwell, 2003).
Dietary use of essential fatty acids (EFA’s) can direct the molecular structure of the membrane and facilitate the passage of materials into and out of the cell. In this regard, BodyBio Balance Oil, which perfectly combines four (4) parts omega 6 to one (1) part omega-3 to positively impact brain function, digestive health, immune support, liver function, and cardiovascular activity.
Just as there are parts to your car’s engine that you can’t see from the outside, there are interior parts to your cells that work together to keep everything running properly.
Our cells need a mix of B vitamins, Niacin, and Coenzyme Q10 to manufacture energy, transport electrons, and act as antioxidants. Not all foods deliver the high-quality goods we need to survive and thrive, so the higher the quality the better. Choose organic, grass-fed and free-range proteins as these are higher in key nutrients, antioxidants and healthy fats than conventional products. Since it’s hard to get all the nutrients we need from our diets, you may consider adding in some powerful brain and cell food as well to keep your body working like a well-oiled machine!
Want to learn more about the connection between cellular health and the food we eat?
We’ve got you covered here!