Lipids...According to Dr. Revici
By: Lynne August MD
Metabolism is the interplay between processes that build, anabolism, and those that break down, catabolism. Both processes are necessary to create, sustain and renew life. The continuous renewal of cells in the body exemplifies the interplay of anabolic and catabolic processes. Consider the red blood cell. The life span of a red blood cell is 90 days. Ninety days from now all red blood cells will have been destroyed through catabolism and will have been replaced with new cells through anabolism.
A healthy metabolism is the right balance between anabolic and catabolic processes. A muscle is torn. Inflammation ensues. Inflammation is a catabolic process. This inflammation destroys the damaged muscle. Anabolic processes build new fibers or scar tissue to replace lost fibers. Pregnancy is an example of anabolism. A fetus grows in the womb. Similarly, the growth of a child is anabolism. So is weight gain. Aging and weight loss, on the other hand, are examples of catabolism.
Excesses or deficiencies in anabolism or catabolism result in symptoms and disease. Too much weight gain is excess anabolic activity; too much weight loss is excess catabolic activity. Atherosclerosis and osteoarthritis are the result of excess anabolic activity whereas excess catabolic activity results in chronic inflammation and autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Dr. Revici’s research documents that all lipids in the body have either catabolic or anabolic activity. It is the amounts and ratios of these lipids that determine the direction of the metabolism. In health there is a diurnal rhythm of anabolic and catabolic activity. Anabolic activity prevails early morning while catabolic activity peaks in late evening. Loss of this diurnal rhythm can manifest as catabolic symptoms early morning, for example waking too early. And/or anabolic symptoms may occur early evening, for example somnolence.
Dr. Revici found that the anabolic and catabolic lipids play a crucial role in the body’s defense. The common cold or flu is an example of Dr. Revici’s bi-phasic lipid defense. When exposed to a virus or bacteria, a surge of catabolic lipid activity is necessary to destroy the virus or bacteria. The symptoms of viral or bacterial infections - fever, chills, aches, mucus, appetite loss, vomiting and diarrhea - are the result of catabolic lipid activity. In a healthy metabolism anabolic lipids deactivate catabolic lipids once their activity is complete. Symptoms resolve and the diurnal rhythm is re-established.
If either the anabolic or catabolic activity persists beyond what is necessary, chronic symptoms and eventually chronic disease develop. Recurrent or persistent colds and flus are the result of unbridled catabolic activity. The bi-phasic lipid defense is arrested in the first phase. They are not the result of a “weakened immune system” as commonly assumed. A depressed WBC (white blood cell count), to the lower end of the accepted range, is an indicator of unbridled catabolic activity rather than immune compromise.
There are two types of lipids in the body – fatty acids and anti-fatty acids. Fatty acids have catabolic activity whereas anti-fatty acids have anabolic activity. Fatty acids include saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, arachidonic acid and a host of derivatives from arachidonic acid such as prostaglandins and leukotrienes. Anti-fatty acids are sterols. Sterols contain a fused four ring structure or steroid nucleus. Sterols include cholesterol, its hormone derivatives and their metabolites.
Lipids must be free, unbound, to be active. Cholesterol as measured in a blood test is the amount of cholesterol bound as esters within lipoprotein carriers. Therefore, the cholesterol measured in a blood test is not active cholesterol, that is, cholesterol with anabolic activity. However, a small percent of cholesterol in cells and tissues is unbound and active. Cholesterol in cells and tissues can be calculated. Likewise, fatty acids bound in the blood to the glycerol – once bound known as triglycerides - are not active fatty acids. Similarly, fatty acids bound in membrane phospholipids are not active catabolic lipids. Unbound fatty acids cannot be measured in blood, their life span is seconds. However, the effects of unbound fatty acids can be measured in blood.
Righting a catabolic-anabolic off-balance is key to creating and maintaining health. A persistent off-balance risks symptoms and disease. A persistent off-balance prevents healing.