ENERGY! Where does it come from?
We’ve seen how the cell makes protein molecules. The names of some of these proteins are familiar to us, such as adrenaline, testosterone, estrogen, insulin, cholesterol, dopamine, triglycerides, ATP. Others are not so familiar, such as collagen, the connective tissue used through the body to hold tissues together. Then there are countless other proteins found in bones, muscles and hair. Many do not have names but only numbers for identifying them. Some are coded as catalyst and messengers to set in motion various events and processes, such as caffeine and “signaling messengers,” to which I’ll dedicate several blog posts later on.
But before we get too much further into our thematic consideration of the healing process, let’s look at where the cell gets its energy to power its complex machinery. I’ll call on Dr. Gary Samuelson again to help tell the story as he tells it so well in his booklet, The Science of Healing Revealed . . . New insights into Redox Signaling.
First, let’s view a couple of video clips: Powering the Cell: Mitochondria (2 min) Powerhouses of the Cell (1 min) [Note: video clips are best viewed in full screen mode and using headphones. To return to the blog, exit full screen mode and then click on the BACK arrow up top left on the screen.]
(Or simply view these embeded videos, although one of them does not have a full screen mode option.)
After viewing these computer animated models of the life and inner workings of the cell, is there any doubt there is a God governing intelligent unfoldment of creation? Watching these inner “micro machines” of the cell move about in buoyant salty fluid with such grace and certainty, demonstrates the nature of what we’ve come to call the “subtle energy” of life. Life is in no hurry. Why should it be? It is in control of the entire universe, and that’s not going anywhere, has no agenda to accomplish within a “deadline.” Nor does it use “power or might” to accomplish its work. “By my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” are the eternal miracles of life accomplished. The subtle energy that empowers our cells is our very lifeline – and “subtle energy work,” such as attunement and sacred sound healing, is the “wave of the future” in the field of health and healing, as well a lifestyle, simply because it supports the healing process and doesn’t “intervene” with or impose upon the innate wisdom of the body.
Now, on with our lesson for the day . . . .
THE FUEL REFINERS
Almost all of the machinery inside the cell is adapted to use only one type of fuel, namely ATP, providing, providing 95% of the energy necessary to keep this machinery and thus the whole body working. The cell’s fuel, ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) has three high-energy phosphate molecules on one end. They are put together by the burning of simple sugars with oxygen from the blood in a process that is called the “metabolism” of sugar. ATP itself is built up while passing through a complex protein called ATPsynthase. . . . Most of the ATPsynthase is embedded in the wall of the main energy powerhouse in the cell, the mitochondria. It is in the mitochondria where most of the ATP fuel is manufactured. The ATPsynthase in the mitochondria produces the vast majority of the cell’s fuel, in the form of ATP.
Video clips: ATP Synthesis (1:12), The Krebs Cycle (0:27)
The mitochondria are interesting objects by themselves, they have their own circular DNA, called “mtDNA,” and behave much like bacteria, they divide and reproduce themselves and manufacture some of their own proteins, but they are always under the control of the nucleus; something like domesticated, energy-producing “cattle” of the cell. There are anywhere from 10 to 5000 mitochondria in each cell, often comprising up to 50% of the total cell‘s inner volume. Consequently, the mitochondria also consume the lion‘s share of the cellular oxygen in exchange for the ATP fuel they produce.
The importance of ATP cannot be over emphasized; every time your muscles move or a thought runs through your brain, every time you sweat or salivate or look at something, billions upon billions of ATP molecules are being consumed in order to power the process. The chemical reactions powering your cells are blurringly fast on the molecular scale. Most of the complex reactions take place in less than one millionth of a second.
THE FUEL STATION ATTENDANTS:
Just like the gas pedal 0n your car, most of the molecular micro machines inside your cells have “throttles,” called kinases, that control how fast the ATP fuel is consumed by these machines and consequently how fast these little machines operate. ATP is expensive to produce and thus is carefully conserved and used to fuel the most important processes of the cell first. This ATP fuel is also carefully regulated so that no part of the cell receives more than its fair share and ensures that the fuel goes to the place where it is most needed. A few examples of the actual
protein regulators that determine how much ATP fuel is used and where it is used are listed next. The keys to these kinase fuel gateways are determined by a variety of different molecules that are floating around in the neighborhood as well as the presence of oxidants and reductants that will be explained in following chapters.
Pyruvate-Kinase — surprisingly, some of these tiny molecular kinase molecules, like Pyruvate Kinase, actually look like throttle valves that, when activated, physically open up a passage to let the ATP through.
cAMP and cGMP are a few of the hundreds of messenger “keys” that unlock the “fuel gates” (Kinases) on the molecular machines so that they can accept the fuel (ATP) that they need to work. These messengers are often released by signals coming from the outside of the cell and regularly unlock the gates that regulate sugar intake and smooth muscle control of the blood vessel dilation. cGMP, for example, helps open up blood flow and is one of the active ingredients in the popular drug, Viagra.
Ck2a Kinase with IP3 — some kinase gates, especially gates that let through certain metal ions used in muscle control and rapid signaling, are controlled by small molecules like IP3 that hold the fuel gate closed or open.
Video clip: Glycolysis and Cellular Respiration (3 min 17 sec). This is a look at the practical, rubber-meets-the-road application of all we’ve just considered.
Aren’t these YouTube video clips entertaining, as well as educational?! I just love them . . . and I am so thankful to their various creators for making them so freely available on the Web.
I don’t know about you, but I am totally blown away by the biological immensity and complexity of the cell’s anatomy and physiology. And we’ve only been looking at a single cell’s internal activities. Multiply what you’ve seen by 100,000,000,000 cells . . . that’s one-hundred-trillion! It’s mind-boggling . . . for me anyway. It definitely makes me more aware of the miracle that life is, and it engenders in me a profound sense of respect for the cells of my body and a desire to offer them as much help as I can to make their work easier – such help as eating wholesome foods and taking nutritional supplements and herbs when needed with an attitude of blessing them all, as well as eliminating as many toxins from my life as possible, and doing moderate exercise daily, if only a twenty to thirty minute walk outdoors where fresh air is available and nature’s beauty abounds.
But even more important, I help my cells by maintaining a internal climate of peace and joy, because I know they feel what’s going on inside my heart, as well as the vibrations of my thoughts. I will think of these beautiful cells every time a negative thought creeps into my head, a resentful or complaining attitude wants to take root in my heart, or an ill spirit comes along to vex my soul. In the words of the Psalmist, “Let me dwell in the secret place of the Most High, and abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Let me love unconditionally myself, my neighbor, my world. Let there be peace in my house of being.
Tune in to my next installation in this series of articles exploring the nature of The Healing Process for a consideration of “The Signaling Messengers” and the critical roles they play in maintaining chemical balance (homeostasis) in the body and implementing its healing process.
I will also be sharing a very significant scientific breakthrough and its application via innovative technology: The Redox Signaling Molecule. I look forward to it because it will represent the “golden nugget” of this series on the healing process.
I’ll leave you to the enjoyment once again of David Bolinsky’s entertaining presentation of the “Fantastic Voyage inside the cell.” (10 min)
My best to your health and healing,
Dr. Tony Palombo