We’ve been considering the role of the cell in facilitating the healing process, sharing some of Dr. Gary Samuelson’s booklet The Science of Healing Revealed – New Insights into Redox Signaling. In this post we will look at the basic concept of the cell’s function in manufacturing protein molecules, the fundamental building blocks of our anatomy.
(Note: This post contains several video clips for your visual aid and entertainment. They are best viewed in full screen mode and with headphones. After viewing a clip, click the full screen option again to exit full screen mode, then click on the BACK arrow at the top left hand corner of the screen to return to the blog.)
We’ll start with this beautiful video clip of The Inner Life of the Cell (8 min). Brief ABC Report (3 min). If you have the time, enjoy David Bolinsky’s entertaining Fantastic Voyage inside the cell (10 min.)
An Overview of How Healthy Cells Work
All life processes take place inside of our cells. In the simplest definition, a cell is a tiny bag filled with salt water and organic chemicals. The bag itself is made out of a bi-lipid [phospholipid] membrane (3 thin sheet that has waterproof layers on both sides and a thin layer of fat [cholesterol] in between).
Note the need for cholesterol in the cell structure, not at all the “bad” thing medicine and pharma would have us believe. Balance and ratio, as in all things, is the primary factor.
View clip Anatomy of a cell (3:38)
All of the materials that the cell needs to maintain life must be passed through this membrane into the inside of the cell and also all of the unneeded garbage that is generated inside tile cell needs to be passed back out through this membrane to the outside of the cell. The cell manufactures certain portals or gateways, called receptors and co-receptors, that are embedded in the cell membrane to let the materials in and out and to pass chemical messages from the outside to the inside of the cell and vice versa. Everything that affects the cell must be able either to pass through these portals or to diffuse through the membrane. (4:40)
(Click on picture for a larger view, then click on BACK arrow to return to blog)
In the middle of each cell there is another smaller double bag (made from two bi-lipid membranes) that contains the nucleus and DNA. The DNA [Deoxyibonucleic Acid] has encoded instructions on how and when to build the proteins that the cell uses. A DNA strand is made out of two molecular spines twisted into a double helix. Between the spines there can be found only four distinct types of molecules called nucleotides (labeled A,T,C,G) which are arranged in sequenced groups like rungs on a ladder. Groups of three of these rungs are called “codons” (A-T-G1 for example).
The exact sequence of these codons in the DNA strand determines the specific order in which amino acids are chained together (called polypeptide chains) in order to form proteins, thousands and thousands of different varieties. Most of the cell’s machinery and inner structure is formed out of the proteins manufactured from these genetic instructions. One exception to this rule is the formation of an organelle called the Mitochondrion. The Mitochondria (plural) contain their own DNA (called mtDNA) formed in circular strands and they divide and reproduce inside the cell much like bacteria divide, but are controlled and regulated by protein messengers from the nucleus. The Mitochondria’s primary job is to efficiently produce the fuel (ATP) that energizes the micro machines inside the cell that carry out the life processes. There are anywhere from 10 to 5000 Mitochondria in a typical cell, taking up to 50% of the cell’s volume.
YouTube video clips: DNA and RNA (1:45) Protein Synthesis (3:30) Transcription: From DNA to Flesh and Blood (4 min)
In theory, the DNA sequences of instructions (genes) inside any given cell in your body are entirely identical to the DNA sequences (genes) that are in every other cell (with the exception of the reproductive cells). Lately researchers have cloned whole animals by placing the DNA from a single skin cell inside an empty egg cell. The egg cell starts to divide and form a complete organism. The DNA package Inside every ceil in the animal has all of the instructions necessary to form a whole new animal. This begs the question: If the DNA in every cell is identical, then how does there come to be so many different varieties of cells and tissues, brain cells, bone cells, skin cells, liver cells, etc.? The answer to this question is found in the understanding that the individual cells do not act alone they are grouped and bound together into tissues.
The genes activated in the individual cells depend largely on messengers sent back and forth from their neighbors and are specific to where the cells are located in the body. After a while, the chemical (protein) messages sent from the surrounding cells activate the genes that determine the behavior of all the cells that collectively form similar tissue. So in a real sense, the cellular function is determined by the environment in which it lives. Cells, in this sense, “become what they eat.” [Underscore mine]
Cellular differentiation and “stem cells.”
The ability of a cell to change its form and function depending on the protein messengers surrounding it is called “cellular differentiation.” A cell gains its identity (brain, muscle, liver, etc.) from the messengers it finds around it and/or builds inside it. A recent triumph in science came when “stem cells” were discovered. These cells can take the form of any cell they come into contact with (they are undifferentiated cells). If you want to grow new brain cells, for example, then all that is required is to place stem cells in the brain. They will soon transform into new brain cells that fit flawlessly into their new environment as they are programmed to become new brain cells by their neighboring cells. This also happens if they are placed in the liver, heart, etc., the stem cells ultimately become similar to the cells that surround them. It is an interesting fact that the cells in your body can also genetically shift due to the intake of nutrients that you eat. What you eat can literally change the form and genetic function of your cells. There have been experiments with identical twins in mice, both having exactly the same DNA, that were fed different diets. One mouse grew shiny brown fur and was skinny. The other grew light gold fur and was fat and sickly. The only difference between the two mice was in what they ate.”
This point is one to give pause for deep consideration, so I will end this post with it. It is this kernel of truth that emerged out of the fascinating work of world renown Cellular Biologist, Dr. Bruce Lipton. Click on his name below when you have 35 minutes to relax and listen to this brilliant man as he tells his story of how he violated the central dogma that is the pillar of modern biomedicine. This dogma is the concept, formulated by Francis Crick, co-founder along with Jim Watson of the DNA double helix molecule, that the flow of information in biology goes from DNA to RNA to protein, and since you body is made of protein, and protein is coded by the DNA in the cell, which carries your genetic heritage and fingerprint, your behavior is controlled by your genes, and you are a victim of your heredity past. This is not the truth of the matter, but I’ll let Dr. Lipton tell his own story and leave you to your listening and learning pleasure . . . and with this prophetic pearl from Albert Einstein, who wrote: “The field is the sole governing agency of the particle.”
To your health and healing,
Dr. Tony Palombo
Video of Dr. Bruce Lipton (35 min.)