Take Out the Trash or Suffer the Consequences
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist Byron J. Richards,
A new study on cellular detoxification1 is helping piece together the puzzle of exactly how cells become unhealthy. One primary cause is a failure of a cell’s trash removal and recycling systems to work properly, in turn setting off a cascade of cellular inflammation and free radical damage that sets the stage for poor health.
Cellular detoxification is also working in harmony with the overall flow of trash out of your body. Excess cellular waste products and waste products of large tissues (like lactic acid from muscle use) must flow through your lymph and to your liver or directly to your liver through circulation, must be processed by your liver, sent out through urine or in most cases sent into your digestive tract in bile and then out. Glitches in any step of this plumbing process cause a back up and prevent efficient garbage collection and removal. Excess garbage then triggers inflammatory and free radical damage and leads to poor health.
This is not a simple “clean” or “dirty” issue. You are not going to do some magical detoxification program and never worry about it again. It is more like the plumbing in your house. You use it every day and never think about it unless the toilet gets clogged. It is also correct to think about the issue in varying levels of clean or dirty, a sliding scale ranging from super clean to super dirty. The cleaner your system runs, the healthier you are likely to be. There is a reason why garbage strikes in major cities never last very long.
Cellular detoxification systems are occurring in the context of the health of your overall plumbing function. If cells have extra waste products they can dump them into the fluids outside themselves and small particles will go back into your venous circulation and large particles are carted off by your lymph system.
Your cells actually try to recycle waste and reuse what they can, a system of economy that society should follow. The idea is that rather than having a truck come by and pick up the garbage or the recycling, your house would have its own recycling center that actually converts the unusable back in to something useable, and only puts the extra out for collection. Your cells use protease enzymes (like those found in bromelain or papain) to break down trash within the cells and them assemble various molecules back into something that can be used.
The new study shows that this process is more difficult for no-longer-needed proteins (waste products) naturally embedded in cell membranes. The problem is that these proteins are no ordinary form of “trash.” They are signaling molecules that are telling your cell how to behave. They are only supposed to work for a short period of time; otherwise the signal they are sending is not appropriate and can actually cause inflammation, free radical damage, or serious cellular malfunction. The new research was the first to identify how this process works and how various signaling molecules act as the recycling crew for these cell-membrane proteins. The researchers believe that the failure of this system to work properly is a fundamental cause of many health problems due to mutated or poorly functioning cells. I would agree.
In addition to keeping your overall plumbing in good working order, this information suggests that the health of your cell membranes, especially the fluidity of them, is a vital aspect of cellular detoxification. Diets high in junk food, junk fat, processed food, chemical additives, and sugar are known to make cell membranes less fluid. This means that these foods, even if they don’t have direct toxicity (which most of them do), are indirectly causing cellular toxicity by making poor quality cell membranes that are not capable of recycling trash properly.
On the flip side of this coin are various fatty acids, fat soluble antioxidants, and other fatty-related nutrients that clearly keep cell membranes in better health. These include fatty acids like DHA Docosahexaenoic acid Essential omega 3 fatty acid integral to the health of all cell membranes, nerve and brain function. Must be gotten through the diet via cold water oceanic fish or some very limited plant sources or taken as a supplement., phosphatidylserine (which also contains phosphatidylcholine), the alkylglyerols of shark liver oil, tocotrienols, etc. It can now be understood that improving cell membrane health, which will take place over a period of months with appropriate nutrient support, is another key to the detoxification equation and a better quality of health.
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