Dr. D’Adamo: Cell Health Is System Health
One of the more useful tools in clinical medicine is the Bioimpedance Analyzer (BIA), a safe and non-invasive diagnostic tool we use on virtually every patient at the Center of Excellence. Looking suspiciously like an electrocardiogram machine, with wires coming out everywhere, the BIA unit is designed to read the electrical resistance that exists between the various tissues and compartment of the body. Using formulas derived from electrical engineering, and which I have little or no understanding of, a BIA machine can provide a physician with an abundance of insight into the specific workings of a patient. For example, the BIA can determine just how much of you is comprised of ‘active tissue mass,’ (organs and muscle) that can burn calories, versus metabolically inert stuff (like water and fat).
Bioimpedance can also very accurately measure the amount of water in your body and the percentage of water that is inside the cell (intracellular) versus outside (extracellular). In a state of optimum health we like to see about 60% of the body’s water as intracellular. Having too much extracellular water is usually a sign of aging, low fitness and/or disease. That is because each cell in our body is a small powerhouse, and high levels of water just make things work better: RNA flies from the nucleus to the cell body faster, excess heat is released more efficiently and amino acids, proteins, hormones and other cell products arrive on time and in better shape.
A key value in the BIA readout is the ‘phase angle,’ a single value that varies from 4.5 to 9.0 among different individuals. A lower value phase angle is consistent with an inability of cells to store energy and an indication of breakdown in the ability of the cell to control the permeability of its outer membranes. A high phase angle is consistent with large quantities of intact cell membranes and effective control of what goes in and out of the cell. As with water compartmentalization, a low phase angle equates to accelerated aging, inflammation, poor water balance, and excessive weight.
Cell membranes are composed of fats, proteins, a dash of carbohydrates (like your blood type) and something called phospholipid. Phospholipids allow fats and water, normally not too fond of each other, to interact a bit. Many phospholipids (such as lecithin) are good emulsifiers that allow fats to ‘mix’ with water by making their droplets small enough to enable them to swim through the water. This property of phospholipids allows the cell to make a bi-lipid membrane on its exterior—a sandwich of phospholipids with the ‘head’ of the molecule facing outward in both directions and the ‘tails’ facing inward. The bi-lipid membrane allows proteins and other things complex to swim around the outside of the cell in a more graceful, fluid manner. Young kids and healthy adults have nice, juicy cell membranes with molecules and receptors moving this way and that. As we age, or when we are sick, the bi-lipid membrane becomes thinner and much less fluid. This interferes with the ability to keep water in the cell and compromises the cell’s ability to respond to hormones and other influences from the outside world.
Not surprisingly, a considerable number of patients at the COE have low phase angle numbers. When we do discover this, virtually all are prescribed ‘The Drink.’ Humorously described by some on the Forums as ‘D’Adamo’s Inferno,’ I’ve preferred the more lyrical name ‘Membrosia.’ I first wrote about this drink in Eat Right For Your Type. The concept behind it is rather simple: Put back the needed phospholipid nutrients in their proper amounts. This turns out to be rather simple. Start with certain amount of the nutrient lecithin, blend it with a certain amount of oil, and then add 4-6 ounces of juice. Take first thing in the morning.
Over time I evolved the formula to also feature trehalose, a fascinating molecule that increases the elimination of assorted cellular junk, and uridine, a nucleotide (building block) of the RNA molecule. Trehalose seems to speed up the response, while uridine appears to enhance the overall results. Over time we’ve also played around with customizing the oil part of the formula. I eventually settled on a combination of black cumin, perilla seed and walnut oil. Black cumin has been used medicinally since antiquity and with walnut oil, has positive effects on controlling allergies and enhancing detoxification in the nervous system. Perilla seed oil is rich in the ingredient rosmarinic acid, which has been shown to help properly regulate immune function.
Now after almost two years of research and development, I can finally look forward to using a properly designed dual formula (Membrosia Complex and Membrosia Fluidizer) comprised of premium ingredients in the exact proportions needed to increase cell membrane health. Plus, the new system alleviates the need to purchase all the ingredients separately and have to mix and match them on the kitchen counter.
We almost always see improvement in phase angle and water balance when patients consistently do ‘The Drink’. Better cell membrane health means a more efficient metabolism, a better response to and control of our hormones, and better nerve signaling. Almost all patients report greater energy, less signs of aging, such as wrinkles and sagging skin, a general sense of happiness and well-being, and increased energy. Most want to keep doing it even when we have achieved our clinical goals with regard to their BIA readings.
Please Note: Lecithin, which is most often derived from soy, can be an avoid food for some blood types. We’ve looked at this extensively and fear not. The purification of lecithin from soy is so complete and absolute that it is virtually impossible to detect as much as even a single molecule of soy DNA in the finished product.