Did you know that on the microlevel, cells have a communication system akin to the brain? Let us introduce you to the brain of the cell: the cell membrane. The cell membrane is the structure that separates the inside of the cell from the outside environment. It’s made primarily of phospholipids, with cholesterol and proteins scattered throughout.
The cell membrane is an often overlooked, yet critical aspect to human health. In this post we dive into what the cell membrane does, its implications in human health and how essential phospholipids- which every one of the LivLong Lypo-Spheric™ products contain, can support cell membrane integrity and promote longevity!
What is a phospholipid?
Before we chat more about the cell membrane, it is important to discuss phospholipids. These are fatty molecules that make up the cell membrane and are responsible for its integrity, fluidity and health.
The body can synthesize certain phospholipids, but some, such as phosphatidylcholine need to be obtained through the diet.
Eggs, liver and soy are dietary sources of choline, which is used to make phosphatidylcholine. However, as a population, choline intake is insufficient. The ideal amount is 425mg for women and 550mg for men, with the upper limit sitting at 3,500mg. The current average intake is 325mg of choline/day. This decrease in choline availability has detrimental effects on the cell membrane.
Cell membranes are roughly composed of 90% phosphatidylcholine, but as we age this number declines to 10%. In the science community, it’s hypothesized that supporting phosphatidylcholine content of the cell membrane can reduce markers of aging, improve cognitive health, the immune system and positively influence the cardiovascular system.
The Brain of the Cell
The cell membrane is important as it is the means through which cellular communication transpires. It enables parts of the cell to speak to each other and is responsible for cell to cell communication, creating coherence throughout the body.
The outside of the membrane contains receptors. Certain molecules bind to these receptors, telling the cell how to act. There are also “gates” that span the length of the membrane. These gates act as security guards, permitting what can enter and exit the cell.
A healthy cell membrane is fluid, and is able to communicate to other cells in an effective and correct manner via the receptors and gates found on and through the membrane.
The messages relayed through the cell membrane, pass instructions that code for various proteins. These proteins provide the basis for life and health.
When membranes become rigid, lose their shape or their essential phospholipid content decreases, communication becomes fragmented. This disrupted communication results in dysregulated protein production, and we can see how this has adverse effects which ripple throughout the entire body.
Diet and Cell Membranes
Our diet influences the structure and function of cell membranes on a large scale. This is because of those phospholipids we mentioned. The high fat content of the cell membrane comes with certain risks.
First, the dietary fat we consume integrates into the cell membranes, much like the phospholipids. When the diet is largely healthy fats, such as omega 3s, this is beneficial. However, the standard American diet contains inflammatory fats, rancid oils and processed foods and is often high in omegas 6 fatty acids. The fats typically found in the standard american diet, cause the cell membrane to become rigid, and to contort its shape. These structural changes cause adverse functional changes.
Second, fats are highly susceptible to free radicals and oxidative stress- even those phospholipids that we talked about. This means that environment, lifestyle habits and dietary patterns have a significant influence over the health of the membranes.
Creating Healthy Cell Membranes
Reduce oxidative Stress – Protect the function of the cell membranes by reducing the amount of free radicals in the body. Adopting a whole foods diet, full of fruits and vegetables is the best way to do this. Reduce alcohol, and try our Lypo-Spheric™ Vitamin C to keep the cell membranes intact!
Consume Healthy Fats – Replace damaging fats such as vegetable oil, those found in fried foods and margarine with avocado oil, coconut oil and grass fed butter to help keep those membranes fluid!
Capitalize on The Livlong Advantage – The liposomes used in Lypo-Spheric™ products are made of essential phospholipids, such as phosphatidylcholine. Every sachet of LivLong vitamins provides on average, 500mg of these essential phospholipids. That then integrates into and repairs damaged cell membranes. Phospholipids also act as a scavenger for pathogens, chemicals and various toxins for added cellular protection!
A healthy body starts with healthy cell membranes. Whether you are taking our glutathione, ALCAR, ALA or Vitamin C you are also feeding your cells with the raw material to build strong, functional membranes throughout your entire body!
Author: Lisa Kowalyk, CNP, B.Kin