The cell is the basic building block of the body that we live in. There are approximately 10,000 billion cells specialized to perform specific functions. Typically, the cells make up tissues, tissues make up an organ system, and the organ system contribute its function to the entire body's function. There are, therefore, millions of heart cells, blood vessels cells, kidney cells, liver cells, skin cells, glandular cells, etc. The cell is a self-contained unit which produces its own energy. The energy the cell produces is used for the particular function of the cell; such as filtering the blood if it is a kidney or liver cell, or to contract if it is a muscle cell moving the body about, or pumping blood, etc. The energy that the cell produces is also necessary for the cell to protect itself from environmental damage.
There are many constituents within the cell; the mitochondria produce the energy for the cell as an example. The constituents within the cell, called organelles, are surrounded by a membrane. Nutrients needed for the cell to produce energy pass through this membrane; the nutrients include vitamins, minerals, trace elements, electrolytes, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, water, and oxygen. It is through this membrane that waste products of cellular metabolism from energy production pass out of the cell. The function of the cell membrane is essential for the health of the cell, and therefore, the health of the tissues, the organs, and ultimately the entire body. The health and integrity of the cell membrane is, therefore, essential in maintaining a good quality of life and to resist disease. Alterations in the cell membrane's integrity, changes in its ability to import nutrients and move waste products out of the cell, or its ability to prevent dangerous things from passing into the cell, cause chronic degenerative diseases and the aging process. The cell membrane is primarily made of lipids (fat). The chief lipid in the cell membrane is phosphatidylcholine (PC). Another lipid present is sphingomyelin (SM). Cholesterol, normally present in the cell membrane, is essential in decreasing damage to the cell membrane and provides some firmness and structure. Changes in the ratios between these three lipids contribute to the aging process and chronic, degenerative diseases. Changes in the structure of these substances contribute to chronic, degenerative disease development and the aging process.
When the amounts of PC, SM, and cholesterol are in correct ratios and are undamaged the cell membrane has a fluid nature. The substances within the cell membrane move about, and enable the nutrients and other substances to pass through easily. As the ratios of the fats change and their structures are altered by free radical damage, the cell membrane becomes more rigid and more resistant to the passage of nutrients and other vital substances into the cell. Studies have demonstrated that pc decreases with the aging process and the SM and cholesterol increase with age. This also is seen in membranes associated with the arterial wall in which upwards of a six-fold decrease in the ratio between PC and SM occurs with aging. The same has been seen in atherosclerosis where there is clear evidence of an increase in the SM fat. Again, all of these changes contribute to decreased function of the cell membrane and as a result, decreased function of the cell; if a cell happens to be in an artery it may decrease ability of the artery cells to protect themselves from buildup of cholesterol, damage from free radicals, calcium deposition, etc.
Lipid exchange therapy is simply the intravenous administration of PC (phosphatidylcholine). This administration makes healthy PC available for the body to use in maintaining healthy cell membranes. The intravenous administration of PC has potential to restore normal function to existing cell membranes and would be available for new cells. The result is enhanced function of the cells resulting in enhanced function of the tissues and the organ systems in which the cells are located. Studies have shown application of intravenous phospholipids such as phosphatidylcholine have been able to reverse age-related changes in the lipid or fat composition of heart muscle cells in animals.
Lab animal studies have also shown a tendency toward increased male sexual competence. Work with patients utilizing intravenous lipid exchange therapy has demonstrated the potential for a significant decrease in the atherosclerotic disease process; even when used as the sole treatment. Utilizing it as a complement to a chelation therapy program could potentially be very advantageous.
PC is the prominent phospholipid of all cell membranes. PC is also a normal constituent of bile that facilitates fat emulsification, absorption, and transport. PC is not to be confused with lecithin. Lecithin is a mixture of phospholipids and other fats.
The basic building block of phosphatidylcholine is choline, which is considered by most to be an essential nutrient. Essential means that the body does not make it; it has to be presented to the body through dietary sources. Most of the choline that is ingested is predominately ingested in the form of phosphatidylcholine.
PC is the main structural support of cell membranes comprising about 70% of the total membrane phospholipids. As we said earlier, it is essential for regulation of the membrane fluidity. PC is essential for normal transport of nutrients etc. through the cell membrane from the external environment to the intracellular environment.
PC has shown to provide antioxidant protection and is also a precursor for other phospholipids. It has also been shown to protect against numerous chemical toxins and pharmaceutical adverse effects.
There is ample evidence to show the ability of PC to ameliorate liver damage; it may be an important factor in preventing numerous liver diseases, including cirrhosis from alcohol, drug-induced liver damage, and impaired liver function that comes from daily exposure to environmental chemicals such as insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, etc. Hepatitis can also respond favorably to lipid exchange therapy utilizing PC.
PC is essentially free from any side effects or toxicity. It is compatible with other nutrients and actually may even enhance their absorption.
The potential benefit of the intravenous use of phospolipids is not new news. A 1957 issue of Protocols of the Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine discussed a study in which rabbits that were fed a diet which caused the atherosclerotic disease process to occur, were separated into several groups, one group received intravenous phospholipids. After a period of months, the laboratory animals were sacrificed, and their aortas were evaluated. The treated rabbits had no detectable atherosclerotic disease. Those not treated with intravenous phospholipids had widespread atherosclerotic infiltration of the aorta. The summary of this article was "intermittent intravenous infusions of phosphatide emulsion into two series of previously hypercholesterolemic rabbits appeared to affect a marked resolution of their atherosclerotic infiltration and cholesterol deposit as judged by the findings in paired, untreated animals." The news is 46 years old. It is interesting because the magnificent benefits of chelation therapy have also been suppressed for an equal amount of time.
Dr. Conrad Maulfair, Osteopathic Physician