Health

Health

Cell Membrane Goo is Good!

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

The body’s most critical control point for the manifestation of health or the lack thereof is a microscopic slice of biochemistry that is hardly ever addressed by mainstream medicine. It’s about 10 thousand times thinner than a human hair and it’s called the cell membrane. Not the cell mind you, but the nanoscopic flexible and intelligent (!) covering that surrounds it.

Cell MembraneNow in order to understand the significance of the cell membrane to the health of the body, we really have to use our right brain imagination skills and paint a picture in our minds eye. So think of a grape. That grape is going to be our imaginary cell. Except the grape we’re talking about is actually an intelligent life-form. Our grape/cell is an actually a little animal. A miniature animal that eats and excretes, makes proteins, has a nervous system and a digestive system, reproduces and fights off enemies and even thinks (processes information).

So picture a little grape-like blob. The circles you see on a piece of paper in a high school biology textbook that represent a cell are 2 dimensional representations. In reality a cell is a little blob, but if you looked at it without a high resolution microscope you probably couldn’t tell that it has a third dimension that makes it 3D, grape-like blob, not a circle. And this little blob is a universe of countless components, about ¼ the thickness of a human hair that has more working parts than a Boeing 747!! And, they are highly integrated parts, interacting with each other on countless parallel levels, meaning there are an infinite amount of simultaneous chemical reactions happening on the order of tens of thousands up to hundreds of thousands PER SECOND!!! A typical cell has something like 6 million working parts, all of which are communicating to each other instantaneously, on a parallel level that’s incomprehensible to our silly human heads (that are too busy with important stuff like Herman Cain, Obama and The Simpson’s and the Kardashians). And these 6 million parts are self-repairing and self adjusting. T hey are by definition “smart parts”.
Cell Membrane Goo is GoodNow this entire enchilada of parallel processing working parts is all covered by a skin, called the cell membrane. Just like the skin on our grape. The only difference between the skin on our grape and the skin that is a cell membrane is that the cell membrane is gooey. And this gooey quality is super important for cell health. Gooey is good!

Goo by its very nature creates the potential for smart. This is a very interesting biochemical phenomenon. The harder and more stiff a material is, the less potential it has for information processing. You notice our brain is gooey, it’s not solid. In fact, as it becomes less gooey with age it becomes less healthy. Alzheimer’s disease for example is associated with multiple hardenings of the brain’s goo which are technically called “plaques”.

The reason goo is smart is because it has an almost infinite different types of shapes it can take, that’s what makes something gooey, you can’t measure dimensions on it, because it always changing shape, that’s what goo is. Technically the shapes are called “conformations” and whenever somethings gooey it has infinite conformations. So, too put it simply: goo means flexibility and flexibility means information processing (smart). On the other hand, solidity means non-flexibility and non flexibility means non-information processing (dumb). To the cell and the body, Goo = smart AND solid = dumb.

Now in reality a biological structure like a cell or its membrane is NOT completely gooey. It will have certain structural components that make it, in actuality, partial goo or“semi-goo”. Remember, goo processes information. One of the ways information processing can be observed is in electrical (energy) conduction. So, our semi-gooey cell membrane is conducting energy. But only through its gooey part not it’s solid part. Because the energy can only flow through the semi-goo, the energy which flows, which is CONDUCTED, is actually only “semi-conducted”. So in essence goo is a SEMI-CONDUCTOR. Now what else can act like a semiconductor? A computer chip. In fact, all a chip is, is a semi conductor. So goo can act like a chip in a computer. Goo can act like an information processing system. But the goo needs be organized somehow (it’s only partial goo). You need organized goo NOT random goo. And nowhere in entire universe do we have a goo structure, that is as exquisitely architected and nano-organized as as a cell membrane. This skin, that coats the incredibly organized and synchronized internal milieu is itself structured with a profoundly deep and awe inspiring complexity that makes it a living breathing, self repairing and self adjusting computer chip. And, it plays a significant role in determining the health and condition of the inner cosmos of a cell.

So, the gooey cell membrane is where the action is in the disease process. Disease is largely about breakdowns in the cell membrane. Aging is largely about breakdowns in the cell membrane. And, many issues with hormone activity are largely about breakdowns in the cell membrane. Fortunately, cell membrane health can be regulated, in large part by decisions, lifestyle choices that we make involving food and nutrition. We’ll address those in a coming post.

SUMMARY:
-Health and the lack thereof always involves cells.
-Cells are 3D grape-like blobs, even though we represent them on paper as 2D circles.
-Cells are covered by a gooey membrane .
-The gooey membrane acts as an information processor, a veritable computer chip!
-The gooey, “smart” membrane plays an important role in determining how healthy the inner environment of a cell will be.
-In large, part maintaining cell membrane health involves healthy lifestyle choices.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Medical BS , Genetics and The Bright Side

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

Sometimes, when we’re looking for the Bright Side of anything, we have to eliminate or expand upon ideas that until our search began were assumed to be true and inviolable. The world of health is filled with such ideas. It isn’t all that long ago, for example, that pasta was considered a health food. When I was growing up in the 1960’s and 70’s, margarine was known to be a healthier choice for your bread or potatoes or corn on the cob than butter.

Recently the so-called “Central Dogma” has been promoted as the cause of both health and disease. The “Central Dogma” is a biochemical theory, first described by Francis Crick in the 1950s that basically states that once something is programmed genetically, it can’t be changed.

Francis Crick Genetics
In other words, once something is “in your genes”, that’s it. There are no other points, according to the “Central Dogma”, of control for the production of proteins, for the production of chemicals, for the production of of YOU. Now, whether or not the fact that Francis Crick was one of the guys who discovered DNA (at least that’s how the story goes), whether his role as discoverer, is important for his championing of DNA as the final determinant of how our lives and bodies show up is really besides the point.

The fact is that until very recently it was the opinion of medical professionals, scientists as well the average person on the street, that our diseases are in our genes and that’s that. If something is coded genetically cancer, for example, than cancer it is and cancer it will be. Doctors recommend the removal of organs typically the ovaries or the breasts, because of the supposed likelihood of the appearance of cancers based on genetic history. Christina Applegate’s preventive double mastectomy of a couple of years ago is just one of the more famous recent examples. Well fortunately the days of the preeminence of the genome are quickly coming to an end. What is being recognized today by more and more health care professional as well as their patients is that the structure and components of our environment have a large role to play in what kinds of expressions are produced by our genes. It’s all part of a science called EPIGENETICS, as in superior to or above genetics. Epigenetics was mentioned in Time Magazine as one of the top ten medical discoveries of 2009 and it basically frees us from the tyranny of our genes. In other words, no longer do we have to be held hostage to our genetic history. No longer do we have to be so terrified of our DNA that we feel that our only recourse against genetic disease is to have our organs removed.

The science of epigenetics is really what The Bright Side is all about, because it gives our choices an element of importance, it gives us an element of control, and that is good news! The science of epigenetics is our key to health and vitality, because unlike the science of genetics which relegates our role in our health to an “afterthought”, because after all: “it’s in our genes”, epigenetics states that what is produced, expressed at the genetic level is connected to the lifestyle choices we make. By the choices of the foods we eat, the supplements we take and even by the thoughts we think and the emotions we feel. All these factors are predominant influences in what shows up as our bodies and as our chemistry for better or for worse, because they all effect our genes.

Dr. Bruce Lipton who was one of the earliest proponents of the theory of epigenetics actually has pictures in his book “The Biology Of Belief” of black mice who were made albino by manipulation of the mother mouse’s diet. In other words what type of offspring was produced from a genetic perspective were changed by an epigenetic manipulation, in this case the mother’s diet. This well-reported and multiply verified phenomenon should be as significant to humanity as Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation was to American slaves in the mid 19th century. This new scientific reality is in essence humanity’s emancipation from genetic slavery. It does however make our choices much more important.

Epigenetics in effect makes us as conscious, volitional choice-making beings responsible for our health. And that’s the Bright Side, that’s the good news. Yes, your genes are control points for who and what we are, for the color of our skin and eyes and hair, for the production of mutations and malfunctions as well as for the extraordinary biochemical miracle the living body produces on a nanosecond basis. But, they are not fundamental. Rather, they are flexible. And they are flexible to or responsive to superior control points. In other words there are control points above genetics, epi-genetic and many of these epigenetic points are nutritional molecules. In fact gene activity depends on a wide variety of nutrients which can function as on-off switches. What this really means is that we can literally feed our genetics, for better or for worse. The latest scientific literature shows that genetics is not a hard-wired, fixed and rigid system, but rather a flexible and responsive biochemical milieu that adapts to environmental and chemical changes during the lifetime of it owner.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

More on Cholesterol and Hardening of the Arteries

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

Are you on a statin drug? Is your doctor obsessed with your HDL or LDL statistics? Are you concerned about heart disease.

If you answered yes to any of the above you’re gonna want to read this post about cholesterol and the silliness around cholesterol-mania; this crazy idea that lowering cholesterol levels by poisoning the liver is somehow an appropriate strategy for reducing the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease. Lowering cholesterol production in the liver pharmacologically is a biochemically ignorant health strategy. There are however, some very effective strategies, nutritional strategies that can very effectively reduce the risks of atherosclerosis that is hardening of the arteries. And by the way atherosclerosis doesn’t just cause heart problems.

Oyster Mushroom with lovastatinAll the arteries in the body can become sclerotic, which simply means hardened. So sclerosis is clearly a health issue and the fact that cholesterol is present in the hardened patched inside the arteries is not evidence that cholesterol is the cause or that lowering cholesterol manufacturing in the liver is appropriate strategy. However there are some very effective nutritional strategies for reducing atherosclerosis and unlike the biochemical lunacy that is behind the use of the stating drugs, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, chromium, lowering blood sugar levels, lowering insulin.

There are literally dozens of different ways you can keep your heart healthy without touching a drug, going to a doctor, needing health insurance help or any other mainstream medical technique we’re told we have to do. In the world of nutrition when we talk about some of these nutrients, one of the most important facets is this feature that supplements have that makes them useful in a whole variety of ways. You know Vitamin C helps with skin and insulin and the liver and the brain and the adrenal glands etc. Calcium for bones and blood pressure and the heart and the brain and perhaps no more nutrient is as significant as magnesium which in addition to being calcium’s partner and involved in over 300 different chemical reactions in the body is also one of the most common nutritional deficiencies.

The bottom line is: If your doctor has “ordered” you to be on a statin on some other cholesterol lowering drug, you do have options, nutritional non-toxic alternative that you may want to consider.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Why Diets Fail

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

(or “Your Brain is a Dumbass!)
One of the fundamental building blocks of the Bright Side Philosophy is the notion of simplicity. As Albert Einstein said, “everything should be made as simple as possible…”. Einstein also said “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing and so is a lot!” . It’s very easy to get carried away with the minutia and specifics and the nanoscopic details of the human body, and its biology and chemistry and that’s why this whole health and healing business seems so complicated. When it comes to weight loss there are 8 zillion strategies and formulas and programs and pills that you can take to lose weight and I’m sure that some of them work. But in the interests of keeping Professor Einstein happy and making things as simple as possible, I’m going to give you my take, the Bright Side take, the simple take on weight loss, which will carve pounds off of off the large majority of people who want to lose weight. If you want to do Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers or Nutragenics or Slimgenics whatever, have at it, but you don’t need to.

OK, so the major focal points when it comes to weight loss is body fat, and that’s what we’re really need to be talking about when we talk about weight loss.
In other words, we don’t need to be focusing so much on the numbers on the scale as much as how much extra body fat we’re carrying. The reason that’s important is because fat is produced via biochemical reactions and once we start looking in this direction, now we can start to target some biochemistry.

The old way of looking at weight loss is called “Calories IN and Calories OUT”. And I want everyone to understand something Calories IN and Calories OUT is just bad science. A calorie is a measurement of heat, a unit of heat. The Calories In and Calories Out theory says if you put heat in the body it will get burned and what does not get burned will get stored as fat. The problem with this theory is that it does not take into account the different biochemical mechanism that is involved in turning something into fat. The Calories IN Calories OUT was first developed in the late 19th century and it’s based on steam engine science where you but fuel in and it get’s burnt. It’s very primitive, crude science. Today we know there are key hormone players in this whole weight loss game. And by addressing these hormonal players and their biochemical correlates we can really start to address body weight and more importantly body fat.

Perhaps the most important role is played by the hormone insulin. One of the cool things about looking for elevated insulin is that an increase in the levels of this vital hormone always announces itself. Insulin is a loud-mouth and when insulin chemistry is off, you will know it. And, the classic sign of elevated insulin levels is body fat. Anyone interested in this whole insulin body fat connection should read a book by Gary Taubes called “Good Calories Bad Calories”. He has another book called “Why We Get Fat”. In both of these books he breaks down in a simple layman’s term way (he’s a not a chemist he’s a sociologist) this whole insulin body fat thing down really well. Taubes presents clear and compelling evidence that THE key to dropping weight/body fat is lowering insulin.

Why Diets FailSo, how do you lower insulin? Well, it’s the simplest thing in the world to do, but it’s also the hardest. You know why that is? It’s because we all have mental problems. I kind of kidding, but I’m not. Because weight problems may not be caused by mental problems in the traditional sense, but they are caused by are brain problems. That’s right. Body fat, weight gain issues begin in the brain this is the most important thing to recognize if we are going to get control over our Great Weight State. Now what do I mean by a brain problem? You see, the brain is programmed to keep the body surviving, and that’s it in a nutshell. Our brain is operating under survival conditions. As if our survival is somehow at stake. As if calories are scarce and as if a famine is ion the way.

In terms of body weight the brain is programmed to put on pounds and keep the body eating if it thinks the body’s starving. It is constantly reading the blood to see what the situation is in the rest of the body. And one of the things it’s reading is protein, specifically it’s reading for the levels of the amino acid tryptophan. When the brain senses there is not enough protein (via tryptophan), it will send the owner out for food, and specifically high energy food like fat and sugar. In fact you can’t eat enough fat and sugar if you’re brain thinks you’re starving. Here’s another problem with the brain. You know how silly people look when they dress like it was two or three decade as before, like really old hippies that still think it’s the sixties? Well, you’re brain is kind of like those silly old hippies with the bald heads except for a ratty little pony-tail in the back, except your brain isn’t living 40 or 50 years in the past. Your cranial computer is actually living 50-100 thousand years in the past. It thinks from a biological standpoint that you are in the great grasslands of Africa with abundant or not-so-abundant game that you can eat and that can eat you. Now, leaving aside the fact for a moment that this kind of mentality doesn’t seem a very nice place to live from, the real salient issue is that this kind of mentality is wreaking havoc on our health in general and or weight in specific.

Under conditions of (perceived) nutrient deficiency, your brain will be sending you on a one pointed hunt for sugar and fat. And then you know what it does? It STORES it and because the brain thinks its Africa and you’re starving or that there is a famine on the way.

So, what does this have to with insulin? Well, insulin is a fat storage hormone and a sugar storage hormone. The more insulin that’s around the more sugar will get turned into fat and the more cells will store fat and the fatter you will be. So the brain makes you eat; it especially compels you eat sugar and fat, and today our sources of sugar and fat are endless and everywhere, another factoid the brain is blissfully unaware of.

OK, so you can see here this brain problem first, WHICH IS WHY DIETS FAIL!!! You have to override the brain’s survival mechanism, which is really a shortcut. The brain doesn’t process things with choice if it doesn’t have to. Just another reason why the brain is a dumbass.

How do you override the brains anti-starvation, Must Eat signaling? Well, stay tuned. We’re gonna save that info for our next post!

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Peroxide and Oxygen

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

I was watching a show on the history channel over the weekend. It was called The Story of US and they were talking about Andrew Carnegie and the development of the Steel industry. Our whole external outside world is structured by steel in skyscrapers and ships and cars and machines and appliances. It’s really amazing stuff, and all it is iron that been reacted with oxygen. Oxygen makes things happen. It makes things hotter. Our air is about 14 or 15 percent oxygen. If it were any higher, our environment would become very unstable and there would be lots of explosion. Oxygen makes things happen! For better or worse. An apple exposed to oxygen turn brown and iron nail will turn orange.

Hydrogen Peroxide
The same History Channel show talked about the Statue of Liberty. If you’ve ever seen that Statue of Liberty or a picture of it can see that the Statue of Liberty has this interesting green color. Well apparently that wasn’t the color of Statue of Liberty when she was first put up. That green color is the reaction of the copper to…oxygen! Oxygen makes things happen. That’s how peroxide works. Per-oxide refers to 2 pieces of oxygen. In fact, hydrogen per-oxide is nothing more than plain old water with a piece of oxygen stuck on it. Water is H2O and Hydrogen Peroxide is H2O2. That extra oxygen makes peroxide much more active than water. Oxygen makes things happen. And as soon as the oxygen is releases H202 turns into plain old H2O again and that’s why hydrogen peroxide is so safe. But only at low concentration, because oxygen makes things happen. It’s active. So food grade Hydrogen Peroxide is only around 12- 35 percent AND YOU PROBABLY want to dilute that. The antiseptic that so effectively kills germs is 3% hydrogen peroxide.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health