What is Cellular Nutrition and How to Improve Cellular Health?
If you ever are disheartened, Remember that 37+ trillion cells are working to keep you healthy and happy!!
If the foundation is strong, the structure can withstand calamities and any sudden tremors. The same is the case with the incredible biological structure, that is the human body. Cells are the basic structural, functional and foundational unit of life. They are essential to perform various life processes necessary for survival: energy production, toxin elimination, immunity and providing a basic structure to the body.
What is Cellular Nutrition
Maintaining the health of your cells is crucial as they form the foundation of your well-being. Cellular nutrition refers to the process of supplying our cells with the necessary nutrients for effective and efficient functioning.
Your cells utilize the nutrients obtained from your food to fuel and support the body's processes. Ironically, cells can only absorb nutrients when they are functioning optimally. Therefore, cellular nutrition serves as the fundamental cornerstone for both health and longevity.
What makes Cellular Nutrition different from General Nutrition?
Simply put the Scale- Cellular nutrition is on a microscopic scale.
When discussing nutrition, people often focus on a broader, system-wide or body-wide scale(e.g.: Food for the Gut, heart-friendly snacks, etc.). However, it's important to remember that nutrition begins at the cellular level. More individuals are likely to show interest when the conversation revolves around topics like brain-healthy nutrition or heart-healthy snacks, rather than delving into the intricate details of how mitochondria receive proper nourishment.
Adequate vs. optimal cellular nutrition
How do the cells function?
Cells require the energy to perform vital functions like detoxification, free radical neutralization, communication with other cells, divide and respond to bodily needs. This energy is acquired from the micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and other trace elements), macronutrients(carbohydrates, fats and proteins) and water.
Factors that affect cell function:
Not all cells function optimally, some perform less than their potential. This imbalance can impact other aspects of your health. Factors that influence the function of the cell are:
Genes can affect the structure of the cellular components
The way of living affects the functioning of the body. Bad habits have a damaging effect on the cellular environments
Blood micronutrient levels:
Macronutrients are required to survive but micronutrients are essential to live healthily. The levels might be suboptimal and inadequate leading to subpar cellular functioning.
Understanding Optimal and Adequate Nutrition
There is a vast difference between adequate and optimal nutrition. Optimal refers to the nutrient levels necessary for optimal health, while adequate nutrition refers to the intake necessary for survival. While adequate nutrition focuses on mitigating the deficiencies, only avoiding deficiencies doesn't mean that your cells are in peak health.
This can be better explained using the Sodium-Potassium intake. High sodium and low potassium intake puts you at a high risk for hypertension and cardiovascular risk. Increasing the potassium intake, increases the loss of sodium through urine, lowering the risk. In this case, the suboptimal potassium is related to the heightened risk of heart disease. These levels do not necessarily correlate to clinically low potassium lab values(Office of Dietary Supplements - Potassium, n.d.). This is where the importance of optimal cellular nutrition shines!
As every person is unique, so is the nutrition you require. To understand what promotes your cells to function at their full potential, it is important to identify the cellular needs. These needs are identified through various genetic, gut microbiome and lifestyle data.
Biomarkers provide excellent insight into cellular nutrition including lifestyle habits, genetic predispositions to various heredity deficiencies, gut health, nutrient needs, sensitivities and allergies and how your body may react to different nutritional approaches. These biomarkers are essential for understanding the cellular needs.
The food you eat is processed and absorbed into the bloodstream through your gut. The gut microbiota, to an extent, is responsible for the processing, breakdown and absorption of the nutrients from the meal. An imbalance of the gut microbiome can impair the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
The Connection Between Cellular Health and Overall Well-being
Sustaining cellular health through correct nutrition is critical to overall wellness. That sentence seems formal, but the concept is straightforward. Imagine your cells like the roots of the trees. If the roots aren’t fed, the tree crumbles. Your cells are the roots of your being, they need to be fed with the proper nutrients.
Cell nutrition is the foundation for supporting the health of all of your bodily systems as well as your physical wellness. Boosting cellular nutrition does not require a drastic change in conventional food as the food you consume already has most of the macro and micronutrients you need.
Key Elements of Cellular Nutrition
Did you know that there are over 40 different types of nutrients in food that you consume? These can be classified into 7 main classes of nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, fibre and water. These are again grouped into two major categories, based on their requirement daily:
As the name suggests, 'macro' means large. These are the nutrients that your body requires in substantial quantities, primarily for energy supply, metabolism, growth, and other vital functions. They encompass carbohydrates, proteins, fats, dietary fibre, and water. Macronutrients are often referred to as the 'building blocks' of the body due to their role in providing calories and supporting essential bodily processes.
Micronutrients are substances required in small quantities through our diet, including minerals and vitamins. Adequate intake of micronutrients can only be achieved through a balanced diet. While most of the essential macronutrients are obtained from food, deficiencies are more commonly associated with micronutrients.
Nutrition and Ageing: Is it related?
Well, the answer is Yes! Your nutritional requirements change as you age. You become more susceptible to certain risk factors, which are further aggravated by diet. Changes in the body also reflect the changes required in the nutritional needs. Understand the cellular changes associated with increasing age here
How Cellular Health Affects Ageing
Nutrition, whether at the cellular or holistic level, is always important for your health, and it becomes even more crucial as you age. As you age, your cellular function declines, leading to the accumulation of damage in the cells.
The ageing-associated changes in the cell are referred to as Age-Associated Cellular Decline (AACD). Researchers have identified several pathways that affect both ageing and age-related diseases. Identifying these risk factors interfering with cellular nutrition early in the ageing process, before substantial mobility difficulties and disease-related limits occur, may aid in general healthy ageing. (Kluss, n.d.)
Risk factors associated with Ageing:
Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell. They convert the food you intake into energy molecules known as ATP-adenosine triphosphate. These powerhouses require micronutrients like fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals to function. These are made available to the body through diet, which is utilised by the mitochondria to fight free radicals and increase energy production.
These are the pathways associated with how cells respond to the availability of nutrients. Cells adapt their metabolism according to nutrient availability. When essential nutrients are suboptimally available, these pathways are disrupted, impacting cellular well-being and, consequently, your overall health. (Why We Age: Deregulated Nutrient Sensing, 2022)
Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance of free radicals in cells. These radicals are highly reactive and unstable, posing a danger to your cells and tissues. Maintaining a balance of antioxidants is essential to counteract the effects of oxidative stress. Antioxidants are present in the foods you consume, such as grapes. Therefore, being mindful of the food you ingest can have a positive impact on your overall health.
Practical Tips for Improving Cellular Health
Every individual has a personal nutritional requirement, but there are a few tips to improve your optimal cellular health:
Incorporating vitamin, mineral and antioxidant-rich foods into your diet:
Vitamins and minerals are essential to humans as they play crucial roles in a variety of fundamental metabolic pathways that support essential cellular functions. Their involvement in energy-yielding metabolism, DNA synthesis, oxygen transport, and neuronal functions makes them critical. The link between biochemical and physiological functions is well-established for some vitamins and minerals, as is their impact on clinical outcomes. As said before, antioxidants are essential to neutralise the free radicals.
Consume enough Macros.
Macronutrients comprise protein, fat, carbohydrates and water. Proteins provide the necessary amino acids for building cellular structures and enzymes, while carbohydrates serve as the primary energy source for cell function. Fats are crucial for constructing and maintaining cellular membranes and functions. Water accounts for more than 70% of your cell’s total mass. The ability of water to dissolve various substances enables the cells to utilize essential nutrients, minerals, and molecules. Thus making it an essential nutrient.
Recent studies show that exercise improves mitochondrial quality and function by stimulating the turnover- rate at which mitochondria multiply (Sorriento et al., 2021) This rejuvenates your cellular energy facilitating high nutrient absorption and cellular health.
Get enough Sleep:
The amount of sleep every person needs is different but an average of 7-9 hours of sleep per night is sufficient. Current evidence supports that sleep activates the key repair enzymes and regulates chromosome dynamics, promoting DNA damage repair. (Coulson et al., 2022)
Experiment with Fasting:
Intermittent fasting, which involves alternating periods of fasting and eating, offers several health benefits. It activates a process called autophagy, responsible for the removal of old, damaged cells and toxins. This breakdown and utilization of ageing cell components enable cells to function more efficiently and stimulate the body to regenerate newer, healthier cells.
Role of Supplements in Cellular Nutrition
As we know, we don't always get the optimal amount of nutrients from our diet and with increasing age, the production in our body also declines. It is necessary to supplement those nutrients, as they provide extra nourishment for your cells. They include various vitamins, minerals or supplements that act as precursors such as NMN, Spermidine, and trans Resveratrol.
NMN stands for Nicotinamide Mononucleotide which is a precursor for Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) an essential co-enzyme required for mitochondrial function and energy production. This enhances and alleviates cellular and mitochondrial dysfunction associated with nutrient deficiency.
It is an essential molecule for cellular metabolism and maintaining cellular health. It enhances autophagy, promoting cellular genesis- formation of new cells.
It is the most potent antioxidant. It relieves the cells from oxidative stress protecting them from damage.
Cellular nutrition is critical because it has a direct impact on the functioning and health of individual cells, which are the building blocks of our bodies. Cellular nutrition ensures that cells obtain the nutrients and chemicals they require to conduct important processes such as energy synthesis, metabolism, repair, and oxidative stress defence. When cells are well-nourished, they contribute to overall health, longevity, and disease prevention.
Q.How does cellular health affect my overall health?
A. Cellular health significantly impacts overall well-being as cells form the foundation of bodily functions. When cells function optimally, they support energy production, metabolism, and tissue repair, promoting good health.
Q.What are some signs that my cellular health might be compromised?
A. Signs of compromised cellular health may include persistent fatigue, slow wound healing, frequent illnesses, and premature ageing. However, consult a healthcare professional for a precise assessment.
Q. How can I assess my own cellular health?
A. To assess cellular health, consider comprehensive tests measuring nutrient levels, antioxidants, and markers of inflammation. DecodeAge Gut microbiome test can help evaluate the link between your optimal cellular requirements and gut health, reflecting cellular health. Seek guidance from a healthcare provider for an accurate evaluation.
Q. Should I consider supplements for cellular nutrition?
A. Yes, if you feel you aren't getting enough nutrients from your diet, supplementation is always a good idea. Supplements for cellular nutrition can be beneficial if there's a deficiency or specific health concern. consult a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation regimen to ensure it's suitable for your individual needs.