It has long been taught that of all parts of the body, nerve cells are difficult, if not impossible, to regenerate.
After more than two decades of research, independent teams have developed proof that nerve cells can and do regenerate, as do other parts of the body. A particular type of protein, called Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), has made mapping of the human nervous system possible, including its vast network of billions of neurons. How they receive, store and transmit information is better understood, while much more research is needed.
Axons, long nerve extensions, sometimes pictured like a comet’s tail, are similar to electrically conducting wires, except that unlike wires, they are cylindrical in structure, and are filled with fluid. In addition to transmitting signals, they also deliver nutrients and essential substances to and from the cell body, providing a service similar to that of the blood stream delivering a cargo of nutrients to cells and carrying away a cargo of wastes, as the blood is detoxified and aerated.
Since nerve cells differentiate into thousands of different types of species, this simple description leaves far more unknown than known. Much more needs to be known about axons, and what enables them to establish connections, called synapses, with other neurons and cells. Through this connection, chemical messengers are sent and received, but little is known about their function.
All animals, including human beings, have three kinds of nerve cells in the peripheral nervous system; those which transmit impulses to the brain from the sensory receptors; those which energize the skeletal muscles, called motor neurons, and the autonomic neurons which control the circulatory system, including the smooth muscles of the intestines, which are divided into two groups, the sympathetic and parasympathetic.
Emphasis upon importance of spinal alignment relates to the chains of ganglia which run the length of the spinal cord and carry the sensory, and some of the sympathetic neurons. It is in this area where nerve fibers projecting from the sensory and sympathetic ganglia make connections with their specific target organs. The area of the ganglia, uniquely available for manipulation, served as the primary site for much of the research, and where it was shown that tumors release a chemical factor which greatly stimulated accelerated growth of the sympathetic ganglia and its branching nerve fibers. An isolated ganglion in a tissue culture was employed to determine whether the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) was a protein or a nucleic acid.
For this determination, an extract of snake venom, which degrades nucleic acids, was used in minute amounts, resulting in accelerated growth of sarcoma-180 cells, rather than deterring growth. Subsequent research proved that the venom was a protein, and much more potent than that in the sarcoma-180 cells.
Recognizing certain similarities in subaxillary glands of rodents and venom glands of snakes encouraged researchers to follow this clue, proving that NGF from this source was about 10,000 times more active than that purified from mouse sarcoma-180, and 10 times more active than that purified from snake venom. Later, it was shown that lesser amounts of NGF are secreted by a wide variety of normal cells as well as neoplastic (malignant) cells. It is obvious that NGF plays a much broader role in living organisms than previously recognized. Protein from the Greek, meaning of first importance becomes accentuated in cellular regeneration, now including nerve cells.
After more than two decades of NGF research, it was shown that non-neuronal cells also respond to NGF, and acquire certain properties and characteristics of sympathetic neurons. The NGF treated cells sent out fibers, became electrically excitable and stored and released neurotransmitters of the catecholamine group, or biologically active amines, derived from the amino acid, tyrosine.
When the NGF is withdrawn from the culture medium, the cells retract their fibers, lose their properties of neurons and resume uncontrolled proliferations characteristic of the researched neoplastic cells.
This relationship to possible NGF deficiency may be related to the development of Parkinson’s Disease, with continued research offering hope.
Why NGF is manufactured and secreted by the venom glands of snakes and the salivary glands of rodents remains a mystery; in neither case are the glands necessary for survival of the organisms and the sympathetic neurons that depend upon NGF for their survival. Present evidence that catecholamine-secreting neurons in the brain respond to NGF, causing profuse branching of their nerve fibers, offers hope that a new biological tool will make possible the modulating of the function of the brain circuits which play such an important role in many kinds of physical functions as well as in behavior.
Comment: protein is intimately related to both regeneration and degeneration. In humans, when the digestive system is unable to completely synthesize or hydrolyze protein to amino acids, the end product is highly toxic. Not only has it been related to cancer, and other degenerative conditions, but it is now recognized in premature aging. Recognizing protein that which is of first importance as the primary requirement for cellular regeneration, why has science been derelict in relating digestion as the first bulwark against disease and degeneration?
Soil regeneration, through adding humus and minerals back to depleted lands, could do much to increase complete protein to foods, including grains. In addition, trace elements, unlocked from the soil through the synergistic service of organic matter, friendly bacteria and earth worms, would again be present in foods.
Protein metabolism depends upon hydrochloric acid (HCL) and digestive enzymes, which in turn are triggered by minerals and food acids. Lack of sufficient HCL after age 40 is accepted as a normal part of the aging process, which may well be directly related to deficiencies of soil minerals and trace minerals, which have declined to as low as 0 in many foods tested.
What diet causes, diet can cure!
Reprinted from Eden Ranch Newsletter