For those who have sat with an iNform Exercise Physiologist to assess or review your Bioelectrical Impedence Analysis (BIA), you may remember scratching your head at a couple of the measurements to do with your cells.
Clinically, measurement and prescription on Active Tissue Quality and Cellular Fluid Balance have proven significant in enhancing individual health. However my experience with some people is that the concepts can be a little hazy. I hope to clarify a couple of things to do with cellular health.
The cellular readings that we derive from BIA are based on your body’s reactance to the electrical current that is administered. The ‘charge’ of your system is then analysed algorithmically to represent the structural quality and functionality of your cells.
It is important to be clear that this is not diagnostic, but rather indicative of cellular function.
Functional cells are encompassed by a fatty membrane with proteins lodged throughout. When we measure cellular quality, we are looking primarily at the integrity of the cell membrane.
The cell membrane’s honour, with right arm raised, is to Protect, Communicate and Regulate.
The cell membrane provides protection to the internal machinery of the cell and facilitates communication between cells. Cells come with varying degrees of nutrient requirements, depending on where they are located within your body. Cell membrane integrity is highly important in regulating the nutrients that enter and exit the cell.
Dietary fat has a direct effect on cell membrane structure.
When we eat foods containing fat, part of that fat becomes the membrane for our cells. So when it comes to fat intake, it’s not all bad! However, consideration must be given to the type of fats that we consume.
Unsaturated fats, such as Omega 3, provide the correct shape for a functional cell membrane, and improve the communicative ability of a cell.
Saturated and trans fats have a different molecular shape, and function poorly as part of a membrane unit. Microscopic observations of these fats have noted that the membranes of which they formed were less able to communicate and respond to external signals, making the membrane appear brittle.
Good quality fat = good cellular structure
Protein is another macronutrient with multiple functions. The buzz around protein for the last few years has been it’s effect on satiety, muscle growth and repair.
But it also plays some pivotal roles around cellular communication and regulation, whereby proteins act as access gates across the fatty membrane.
Good quality protein = good cellular communication
So there you have it, the 101 on cells! There is plenty more that can be said on cellular function, but at it’s simplest level the message is this:
Good diet = healthy cells!
Cells are the foundation for all of our bodily and physical functions. If we overlook their maintenance in the pursuit of health and fitness, it’s a long road to success!