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Endoplasmic Reticulum - BORING - you really need to pay attention to this

Research results can seem like an endless stream of shiny baubles that mean little to you as someone trying to find meaning.  It is an avalanche of data that confuses more than it informs.  But sometimes a vision materializes which carries the piece of the puzzle which brings clarity and useful knowledge.  This study is one of those and you need to understand it if your health matters to you. I'll discuss it below but here is a link.


OK, my wife thinks I can be a drama queen and she points out that I've had this information on our website for almost a year.  We advocate for the use of monounsaturated fat as the main dietary fat and olive oil specifically.  I'm like a reformed smoker who regales everyone about smoking, but I learned late that life and death can hinge on the molecules that you choose to be made out of.

Overly dramatic perhaps, but if you value having less illness pay attention. If not don't bother with understanding this.  Remarkably, this study is about actually producing images of the effect that different kinds of fats have on a critical structure of our cells called the endoplasmic reticulum, or ER for short. 

This is why you care. You live or die based upon whether your cells are able to process the chemicals you require to live.  Obvious but it is that simple. Well, how do they do that? If you imagine a cell as a factory filled with makers you can imagine that some of those sit on the factory floor and don't just float around.  The ER is rather like a factory floor. It is a complex surface inside a cell which gives the systems that make things like proteins and lipids a place to be.  It is the scaffolding upon which the chemical factory that is a cell depends.

OK, so why does it matter what kind of fat you eat?  It turns out that the ER is largely made from the raw material in fats and saturated fats are stiffer than unsaturated fats. While they can be used to build the ER those made of saturated fats are less fluid and the saturated molecules tend to clump together so that there are islands of stiffness in the ER.  To put it simply, that is a less efficient arrangement and your health is affected.

It is common advice to limit your saturated fat intake but it is often not really taken seriously and some diets are flagrant abusers of that advice. As you consider how you want to live consider now and then your ER, the factory floor upon which your very life depends.