Neurotransmitters and Phytochemicals Mediating Cellular Response
Once I observed the individual differences in responses to stress, my work took on a new agenda. I started directing my attention to figuring out why often times these differences seemed to be related to needs that went beyond the physical, including limiting conceptual beliefs, and diet change and what the connection was, knowing they all played a part. Why could some people balance easily back into function with one or the other method or protocol, but the “feedback loop” of inflammation was not completely severed and illness manifestations returned? Why did some have difficulty getting to that “pause” in the first place? With anatomy and physiology, then concept and the science of thought, then quantum theory and metaphysics, the introduction of function and the role of functional nourishment, and finally cellular biochemistry stored in the library of my brain, my research started to include discovering how neural regulation of physiological states influences the metabolic occupation of cells and the resulting influence on disease state. Again this brought me back to basics of function and the simple, common necessary actions of the physical body: processing nourishment, establishing elimination, and breath.
From my perspective, the role of Functional Diet in the cognitive sciences has essentially and historically been either lacking or underdeveloped. The importance of not only food intake, but of how the cells react, respond, and interrelate to food as it is brought in still stands to be seen in higher regard, and hopefully this work will encourage that. For those professionals that have seen the benefit of nutrition as a viable and necessary foundational component to a healing paradigm, the integration of nutrition with the cognitive sciences unfortunately hasn’t changed the science, it has merely added a “supportive” component. The now common theory of “Leaky Gut” was groundbreaking at its introduction, a first widely accepted “alternative” explanation to what was really going on when it came to deciphering the function of the gut and its diseases and has created a massive shift in the understanding and therefore the treatment protocols for those with intestinal variabilities, allergies, and the efforts of dietary mediation.
Still to be employed for me to be sufficiently appeased in my curiosity was a missing link of why again some of the leaky gut theory would work, while others had continued display of symptoms, despite gut rehabilitation efforts and diet alterations. It became important to me to clarify what exactly happens in the entire metabolic process, not only how digestion happens functionally, but how our cells respond to a post-digested substance as a whole or in parts, how it interplays with which stress response mechanism is dominant and how all of this is recorded into a memory that now makes up part of the “cellular code”.
My discoveries continued to bring more questions to examine. As I worked with clients to learn from their particular “code” that included all the parts I had learned so far, my focus inevitably returned time and again to nutrition, or more truly, “nourishment”, relating to the importance of nutrition as it’s function. Through impedance testing measurement devices, we were able to look at digestive imbalances and imbalances of functional metabolic processes as a whole system. We could see inflammation produced by non-antibody allergy type responses. I saw more participants that were non-antibody producing, however were responding intolerantly to food wavelength patterns despite this. Current thought maintains this as being the occurrence of leaky gut due to large undigested food particles as the causative factor and not much progress has been made beyond that.
While the theory of food intolerances or food sensitivities is nothing new, I wanted to examine that if it wasn’t a whole particular food itself that produced a provable diagnostic through the form of conventional allergy testing, but if symptoms were present, then why were those symptoms present? How could a person have noticeable and obvious manifestations when they hadn’t even ingested the food, other than through the accepted explanation of being “psychosomatic”? Did an intolerance or sensitivity present in a way that was testable and measurable? What was the whole metabolic process and at what stages could rejection be caused? This approach led me to the discoveries that make up a large part of the COPP Theory. I surmised that the cells could defend themselves and presented the possibility that it was the phytochemical metabolite rather than large offending food particles as the only causative factor. In leaky gut theory, it is the large food particle slipping through overstretched and weakened fissures in the intestinal lining net that allows large and foreign particles into the bloodstream, thereby attracting the body’s immune system to fight the particles as if they were a virus. Taking this further, current autoimmune theory purports that this leads to the body’s fighting of its own tissues, which is understood to involve an overactivity in the immune system. Both of these thoughts involved the understanding that it is an activation of or an exaggeration of the immune system. Conceptualizing that this response could occur long before the particles got into the bloodstream, that could in fact, occur through cellular defense mechanisms as the food itself was being metabolized offered another source of inquiry as to which point of food processing could there be cause for error.
Turning my attention to the metabolites: that being, the phytochemical chemical messengers that the food breaks down into, and the body’s response, became my new agenda. I perceived that just as the autonomic nervous system’s sympathetic branch can produce a fight or flight reaction, changing the physiology of the major organ systems, the cells could be another beacon alerting the body systems of offenders and producing the same fight or flight response. In short, the cells are sensitive to the emotional variation between stress, and the feeling of being “safe” and will trigger their own defense alerts even if antibodies are not produced by the immune system, giving rise to a possible reason why some individuals experiencing IBD, for example, can have symptoms simply by being in the presence of, smelling, touching or otherwise sensing an individual reactive offender. At the same time, this pointed a finger towards the cells themselves being the initiator of a bodily stress pattern, aside from the authority of the immune system. While it is now known that stress can trigger any type of symptomatic response, we can see that stress as identified through the cells is just as adaptive.
Amanda Plevell, PhD, CNHP is a Natural Health Practitioner with a key interest in Psychoneuroimmunology and autoimmune specific immunology. Find her credentials here, and search the AAANMC for additional information.
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