Last time I explained in general terms where membranes are and why they are important and how you can actively take care of them.
This time I go into detail about how they look like and what they are composed of.
So what is the content of the membranes?
Cell membranes mostly are double membranes. Like two woolen carpets with the upsides facing. They consist about half and half of proteins that form the huge three dimensional receptor sites, enzymes, ion channels and the other half are these very special lipids.
How can fatty acid sticks form the phospholipdis of a membrane?
These lipids come in the form of Phospholipids where two fatty acids legs are bound to specific structures containing phosphorus and a head which gives the unspeakable names like phosphat-idyl-cholin PC or phosphat-idyl-ethanol-amin PE or phosphate-idyl-inositol PI or phosphate-idyl-serin PS. These are actually the four main membrane phospholipids.
When we are born the membrane consists of 90% PC which is the shortcut for phosphatidylcholine, when we die only 10% is left. Ageing is a loss of PC. Illness is loss of PC. Toxicity is loss of PC.
Inside the cells there are 10 times more membrane structures. Most metabolic reactions or name it life, takes place at the membranes. ATP energy production takes place at the inner membrane of the mitochondria and is dependent on a healthy membrane structure.
Who researched the membranes?
The old Singer and Nicholson Mosaic Model of the membrane (1972) is now replaced by the new Lipid Whisker Model by Catala (2012). There the highly active fatty acid alpha linolenic acid, a highly unsaturated Omega 3 fatty acid, sticks out of the membrane and sacrifices itself to be oxidized by free radicals which otherwise would have damaged the cell membrane core.
Fatty acids, which are the ones that our body cannot make?
This leads to one aspect of the importance of the essential fatty acids EFA as there are Omega 3 and Omega 6 ones which play central roles in the formation of Phospholipids.
These will be explained in the next blog.