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Human Qualities in Biochemistry

biochemistry

Starting Point for a Humanized Medical Science

Staying faithful to the phenomena that present themselves to us when we study medical science is the key to humanizing medical science (and all science). The Louis Bolk Institute has made a wonderful foundation for the study of medicine. Their books are well worth purchasing though they are all available as free downloads for debt-encumbered medical students. I wanted to briefly touch on the qualities present in biochemistry from this point of view. This approach will help us understand nutrition, metabolism, and more complicated medical phenomena. 

Carbohydrates: the Vegetative Quality

Carbohydrates can be seen linked with the plant-like when we look with a wide view of them in nature. Photosynthesis uses water to produce carbohydrates and respiration frees water as a result of breaking down carbohydrates. There is a reason they are named carbo-hydrates. We can see that as an energy source in the human body carbohydrates are closely related to the liver with its glycogen creating and glycogen breaking down functions. Glycogen, made of branches of glucose, serves the body when it needs to quickly bring glucose into the metabolism. Glycogen and starch have somewhat similar forms (glycogen is more branched allowing faster access to the glucose) and it becomes clear the liver’s relationship to the plant processes. There is even a dual phase to the process typically starting at 3am and 3pm. From 3pm to 3am there is an upbuilding process (eating here tends to increase weight more) while there is a breaking down process from 3am to 3pm (eating here leads to increased metabolism). It is also important to note that the heart and brain have no glycogen storage. The heart enjoys a diet of ketones (the significance of this we will address later as we consider the heart an organ of warmth). 

Protein: the Interactive Quality

Proteins have several functions in the living organism- in fact you could say they are all about function. They form connecive tissue allowing for a cohesive organism that both physically connects and in the case of muscle protein allows for interaction with the environment. Organisms can act on their environments. The formation of protein allows for extremely complicated specific enzymes to be built out of relatively simple amino acid building blocks. The effect is that one enzyme has a specific function and their can be a variety of these specific “actors” in the organism. Antibody structure is another good example of how very specific these protein actors are- just by varying the amino acids on the “sticky” end of the antibody, their affinity for a certain antigen is changed. All amino acids are based on nitrogen which has its origin in air. It is apparent that protein is related to movement and air.

Fat: the Integrative Quality

Fat (lipids) allows for compartments to exist in the organism and this is key to having multiple different processes happen in one place- without them imposing on each other. The lipid bilayer is essential to separating functions such as storage from the power house function of mitochondria. These membranes also separate cells from each other to allow further functional specialization. Fats relate to warmth in several ways. They are good insulators. Certain fat cells have the job of generating warmth. Fat is also the highest density nutrient with 9 calories per gram versus only 4 for carbohydrates and protein. The insulating quality is also essential for higher neurologic function- they form the myelin sheath. Networking with nerve impulses is essential to integrating an organism as a whole. 

These inherent qualities of living organisms can be taken further. The organ systems can be seen as embodying one or another of these processes. Later we will explore this relationship:

 Physical Mineral Lung Physical 
 Vegatative Water Liver + Digestive tract Etheric (Life)
 Interactive Air  Kidneys + Reproductive system Astral (Soul, Regulation)
 Integrative Warmth Heart + Circulatory system I (Piloting)

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