In recent posts I have been discussing the serious health hazards caused by eating sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and highly processed foods. A brief explanation about the physiology of how cells communicate – and how processed foods are responsible for disrupting that communication – is foundational for a broad spectrum of health issues that concern you.
No matter if your goal is to lose 10 to 15 pounds or to be cured of cancer, this knowledge is vital.
All living cells have receptor sites on their outer surface. These receptor sites are the way that the cells of your body receive the nutrients that are necessary for the cell to function. Also, it is the way that cells communicate with one another. These sites are embedded through the cell membrane. When the surface receptors of an individual cell are activated (by receiving chemical messages) the internal machinery of the cell is turned on.
All cells are in constant chemical “cross talk” with their neighbor. This is the way they are able to act in harmony with each other in a spontaneous and coordinated manner – like a flock of birds or a school of fish changing direction simultaneously.
For example, if you see a small clump of black fuzz on the floor, at first you may think it is a threatening spider. Your subconscious brain causes hormones to cascade their message throughout your body telling it to prepare itself for “fight or flight.” This “fight or flight” stress response is a remarkable example of cell communication and how it can elicit an instantaneous and spontaneous coordinated response throughout the body.
The hormone adrenaline signals many cell types throughout the body with many different effects. It stimulates the heart to beat faster; it increases the rate at which glucose and oxygen are circulated to muscle cells; it slows down or halts digestion; and, it suppresses the immune system.
How quickly does this happen? By the time you have jumped back in surprise and then realized what you saw was only a small bit of fuzz, it is over and your systems are returning to their normal state of operation. Your heart rate settles; your digestion continues; and, the immune system cells continue their patrol.
Personally, as I study the complexity (and yet somehow also the simplicity) of how the human cell uses receptor sites to take on nutrients and coordinate communication with other cells, I am overwhelmed by the majesty of creation.
There are over 10 trillion cells in an adult’s body. Each of these cells has receptor sites on their outer surface. Each of these receptor sites are designed to receive different chemical protein messages. Only specific shaped proteins can fit in each receptor site – often described as being like a lock and key arrangement. It is easier to imagine if you think of the round shapes fitting into round holes, starred shapes fitting into starred holes, etc.
Here is where it becomes mind-boggling – the enormity of it! Picture yourself in the center of a single cell looking outward at the cell membrane, as if you are looking at the night sky. As you see the part of each receptor that is inside the cell, their number would make the number of stars that you can see on a dark night seem insignificant. There are hundreds of thousands of receptor sites embedded in the outer membrane of each cell. All of these sites are needed to enable the cell to receive the nutrients it needs.
Micronutrients are vital for the proper functioning of all of your bodies systems. There are over 10,000 micronutrients in vegetables and fruits. These micronutrients are synergistic, which means that when taken together may increase each other’s effectiveness.
In his book, Wetware, a Computer in Every Living Cell, Dennis Bray describes the possible receptor site outcomes of a single bacteria cell: “…so the number of possible states it can have as a whole is ludicrously large. It is not only greater than the number of cells in any conceivable population of bacteria; it far exceeds the number of atoms in the known universe. To all intents and purposes, it is infinite.”
Most likely you have some knowledge of cell receptor sites and might be unaware of it. Probably you have heard the term “beta blockers.” Beta blockers are medicines that block the “beta” receptor site of heart muscle cells. Beta blockers are used to reduce blood pressure. Have you seen the possible side effects of using them?
Possible side effects.
- heart failure,
- sudden death.
Sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and processed foods should all have a cautionary label listing the possible side effects of their use. It would read something like this:
The use of this substance has an 80% probability of causing one or more of the following effects:
- insulin resistance,
- leptin resistance,
- metabolic syndrome,
- heart disease,
- type 2 diabetes,
- impaired immune function.