Fats That Heal?
by Daniela Aguiniga MD
The cell membrane is structural skin that surrounds all cells of the body. It serves as a doorway to allow nutrients in and out of the cell and it is vibrant with activity. The cell membrane is often considered the essence of life. While the cell can carry on when other parts of the body undergo damage, including DNA damage, without the membrane, the cell will cease to function and die. The volume of the cell membrane is incredible with the liver containing about 300,000 square feet of membrane, the amount of about four and half football fields. Therefore, for optimal health and for healing, it is essential that we do everything we can to protect the cell membrane; here is where phosphatidyl choline (PC) enters the picture. It has been called “Life’s Designer Molecule” by some of the most well-known researchers in the area of lipid (fat) studies. Let’s take a deeper look at the cell membrane and how phosphatidyl choline, this miracle molecule, can help with healing.
The cell membrane has the capacity to be permeable or impermeable depending on the molecule that wants to cross. The type of fats we consume in our diet become part of the membrane and affect the composition, impacting many of its functions. Structure and function of the cell membrane depend upon the balance of structural fats including cholesterol and essential fatty such as omega 6 and omega 3. When this membrane has a high percentage of trans fats (margarine and most processed foods), and an abnormally high percentage of cholesterol, the membrane becomes more rigid and has less fluidity. Proper fluidity is needed for the ease of transport of nutrients into the cell, as well as the equally important function of expulsion of waste materials out of the cell. Proper balance of dietary fats, which become membrane fats, is needed otherwise membrane function becomes compromised.
Phosphatidyl choline is one of four phospholipids that make up the cell membrane and it is considered the most important of all, making up about 50% of the membrane. Supplementation with PC may offer exciting benefits for a wide range of health conditions. It helps the liver do its job better and helps to maintain the proper ratio of phospholipids on the cell membrane. This is how PC helps with age-related changes. Some authors report improvement of patient symptoms with a number of health conditions when supplementing with phosphatidyl choline:
- Neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, ALS and autism
- Diabetic nephropathy and diabetic retinopathy
- Asthma and degenerative lung and small vessel diseases
- Chemical sensitivities
- Liver damage due to drugs, prescription medications, alcohol and toxins as well as liver diseases such as hepatitis C
- Estrogen related problems such as PMS, fibrocystic breast syndrome, and uterine fibroids
- Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and Lyme disease
Phosphatidyl Choline may be given orally in supplement form (seewww.sanovivstore.com) however, chronic and serious neurodegenerative diseases may require a series of intravenous injections in order to make a significant impact. At Sanoviv, phosphatidyl choline is used both orally and intravenously for a wide variety of conditions in and effort to heal and protect the cell membrane and reverse a number of biological distortions.
So how can we improve the health of our cell membranes? Have a solid understanding of the food choices that enhance membrane function and health. Dietary sources of phosphatidyl choline include bee pollen, whole eggs, oat bran, beef and beef liver, Atlantic cod, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, shrimp, peanuts, salmon, milk, non-GMO soybeans, nuts and seeds. Be sure to avoid hydrogenated oils and trans fats to optimize the health and integrity of the cell membranes.
PC also improves the bioavailability of other nutrients that are administered with it, acting as a great emulsifier of fats as an example. For this reason, it has been shown to be helpful in preventing gallstones and has also demonstrated improvements in insulin sensitivity thus helping in the prevention of diabetes. Thus “Life’s Designer Molecule” is an important part of our overall health.