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Keeping Cell Membranes Healthy

Updated on March 3, 2012

Considering that there are about 100 trillion cells in the human body, it is important to keep them healthy. The brain alone has 100 billion neurons. And each one has on average thousands of connections to other neurons. The total cell membrane area of all those neurons can cover four soccer fields (25,000 square meters).[reference: Brain Facts and Figures]

What are cell membranes made of

In order to understand what nutrition help keeps the cell membranes healthy, we have to know what the cell membranes are composed of.

They are composed of ...

  • Omega-3 Fatty acids
  • Phospholipids such as phophatidylserine and phosphatidylcholine
  • Cholesterol
  • protein

[from page 91 The UltraMind Solution]

Omega 3 fatty acids

Omega 3 fatty acids can not be generated by the human body. That is why they are called essential fatty acids. They are unsaturated fats which are good for cardiovascular health as well.

We say fatty acids (with a plural) because there are three main types of fatty acids that are important for human nutrition:

  • alpha linolenic acid (ALA)
  • eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

All of which are polyunsaturated. To a certain extent, your body and can produce the long chains molecules of EPA and DHA from the shorter chain molecule ALA. But essentially, we need to get our omega 3 fatty acids from foods or supplements.

Your brain is mostly fat with 60% of it being made of DHA. Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most important building blocks for your brain.

Food sources of omega 3 include cold-water oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, and anchovies. Fish actually do not make omega 3, they eat them as algae. Hence wild fish have have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than their farm-raised counterpart who are feed fish meal.

Eggs from chicken feed a diet rich in omega-3 will be another source of omega-3. For non-animal sources of omega-3, there is flax seeds, walnuts, soybean, seaweed, canola oil, and spinach.

Phospholipids

The two important phospholipids of cell membranes are phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylserine.

Egg yolks are a rich source of choline, which is the precursor, or building block, for phosphatidylcholine. It is best to get organic eggs from free-ranging hens that are feed diets rich in omega-3.

Soybeans, lentils, peanuts, flaxseeds, and sesame seeds are other sources of phopholipids.

There are also supplements. See article about Phosphatidylserine for Brain Health

Cholesterol

Eggs and shrimp are high in cholesterol. You do need some cholesterol; it acts as the "glue" between molecules.

Poultry and other meats also have cholesterol.

Protein

Protein are important for building the receptors, transporters, gates, and signal transducers of your cells.

Protein you get from legumes, whole grains, nuts, eggs, dairy, and poultry and other meats.

Eggs are Good for You

Did you notice that eggs are a rich source of the four main components of cell membrane? Eggs have omega-3, phospholipids, cholesterol, and protein. That is because an egg is a cell. The largest cell in the animal world is the three-pound ostrich egg.

Eggs also contain choline which is an important complex-B type vitamin that helps construct components in cell membranes.

In general, eggs are good for you. It is okay for a healthy adult to eat on average one egg per day. Dr. Mark Hyman says that you can have up to 8 eggs a week [page 300 of The UltraMind Solution]

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