Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Pushing ourselves too far. Do we do irreparable harm?

Pushing ourselves too far. Do we do irreparable harm? has been re-produced at my new blog Cell Your Sole.

A common cause of irreparable cell damage seems to be when it's pushed too far. When a cell is pushed a little beyond it's limits it grows stronger when allowed to recover. Yet push them really far beyond their limits and there seems a threshold above which many cells sustain damage they can't fix.

This was implied in my previous article on training your skin against cancer. Chronic back problems also come from weak back muscles being made to support the weight of the upper body. This leads to scar tissue formation.

I thought of an explanation. Essentially it's about protecting the cells dna. As the cells blue print, dna represents its only record of how to fix itself. If this is damaged the cell has no hope of repair. Each cell has ways to protect its dna from damage but these cost the cell energy so the  strength of the defences has to be balanced against the perceived need for them.  Essentially the body is always adjusting to fit the current requirements at a cellular level.

So when a cell is pushed a little beyond its limits the chance of irreparable damage to the cells dna is limited. Yet when it's pushed far beyond its limits. Damage to the dna is almost inevitable. If the activity itself doesn't cause damage like the act of sun light hitting cell dna then the cell contents may be affected such that they cause damage. Like the indirect DNA damage mentioned in my article on Melanoma.

The lack of protection for the dna leaves the cell vulnerable to viruses and other organisms that may take over the cell by injecting their dna into the cell dna. At best the cell doesn't work as well. At worst the cell becomes an aggressive cancer. As usual this is my theory. I'll see if it bears out. It does imply that it's dangerous to push our cells too far and that building up our tolerance to things is always important. I have a feeling that this can also explain the development of allergies in some way. 

It seems natural to think that the ageing process may be accelerated by the kind of DNA damage I've just talked about. So training the cells of our body to protect their DNA could in fact slow down the ageing process.  Atleast, that's the theory.

We'll see. 
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