Anatomical Secrets Unstuck; Vitamin C; Ode from a Stomach; Important Announcement (Symplex M and F, Paraplex)
Contents in in this issue:
- “Anatomical ‘Glue’ Secrets Unstuck,” by Irving S. Bengelsdorf,
- “Vitamin C,”
- “Ode from a Stomach,”
- “Important Announcement! The Following Products Are Now Available (Symplex M, Symplex F, Paraplex).”
The following is a transcription of the September 1965 issue of Dr. Royal Lee’s Applied Trophology newsletter, originally published by Standard Process Laboratories.
Anatomical “Glue” Secrets Unstuck
By Irving S. Bengelsdorf
Times Science Editor
New details concerning the architecture of collagen, the most abundant protein in the body, have been worked out by Caltech scientists.
The new information, based on more than ten years of steadfast research at Caltech and elsewhere, represents basic knowledge that may be useful in providing insight into such “collagen diseases” as arthritis and into understanding some of the processes of biological aging.
For collagen is present in such important tissues as bones, teeth, skin, blood vessels, tendons, and cartilage. It forms a goodly portion of the materials that keep us connected and “stuck” together. When boiled in water, collagen changes into gelatin.
Using complex techniques and methods such as electron microscopy, X-ray crystallography, biochemistry, and mathematical analysis, Drs. A.J. Hodge, J.A. Petruska, A.J. Bailey, and J.H. Fessler have come up with a model for collagen that explains its strength, its toughness, and its other unusual and physical chemical features.
Like all other proteins, collagen is made up of units known as amino acids—hooked together like links in a chain. But the overall architecture of collagen is amazing. It turns out that each collagen is made up of three separate amino acid chains. Two of the chains apparently are identical to each other and are called alpha-1 chains.
The third chain is different and is known as alpha-2. Each of the three chains is made up of 1,050 amino acids—giving a total of 3,150 amino acids in collagen. Even so, each collagen unit is so small that 85,000 of them placed end to end only would measure an inch.
Each of collagen’s three amino acid chains has a three-dimensional shape, which is best described as follows: Hold a pencil in front of you. Draw an imaginary circle in the air, but as you “draw the circle” move the pencil forward away from you.
Like a Spiral
As the pencil point goes through the air it describes a shape like a spiral staircase known as a “helix.” If you started the circle by going clockwise, the shape is called a “right-handed helix.” If you started the circle in the other direction—counter clockwise—the the shape is that of a “left-handed helix.”
The Caltech scientists find that each of the three amino acid chains in collagen has the shape of a left-handed helix. But, in addition, the three chains, themselves, are wrapped and twisted about each other—clockwise—into an overall “super” right-handed helix.
Nor is that all. Although twenty different kinds of amino acids are found in nature, one third of all the amino acids in collagen consist of only a single variety known as glycine.
Glycine is the smallest, simplest amino acid. It is this “space-saving” feature that allows each of the three amino acid chains to pack tightly and closely to each other—for added strength.
Collagen is further unusual in that it is the only protein found in animals that contains an amino acid called hydroxyproline. Both it, and a related amino acid known as proline, are present in large amounts.
It is the presence of large numbers of glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline amino acid units that imparts compactness and toughness to collagen. The strength of collagen is derived both from the three-dimensional shape of each of its three amino acid chains and the way the individual chains wrap and twist around each other to give a tough overall protein fiber.
Under Dr. Hodge’s leadership, the new research findings propose that each of the two alpha-1 chains is made up of five subunits—each subunit containing 210 amino acids.
And the remaining alpha-2 chain is made up of seven subunits—each subunit containing 150 amino acids.
This new collagen model solves many problems that previously had bothered biologists. It seemed incredible that each cell not only would carry the tremendous amount of information needed in its DNA-RNA to make a protein containing a total of 3,150 amino acids—but would then order them into a complex 3-dimensional fiber arrangement.
The Caltech work shows that nature is simpler. It solves the difficult problem of making a huge protein with large numbers of amino acids simply by chopping up the task into smaller, more easily manageable chores.
The DNA-RNA carries enough information to make just two lengths of chains—one of 210 amino acids, the other of 150. Five of the 210-amino acid lengths get together to form one alpha-1 chain; seven of the 150 amino acid lengths join up to form an alpha-2 chain.
Two alpha-1 and one alpha-2 chains then twist and wrap themselves together to form a collagen unit.
Thus, the size and shape of each collagen unit—the same from shark to man—is but the end expression of the nature and number of the atoms of which it is composed.
—Los Angeles Times, Sunday, March 28, 1965.
The connection between vitamin C and infection probably is the reason that nutritionists in this country recommend higher intakes. A deficiency of vitamin C carries with it liability to infections.
In infectious ailments, like pulmonary tuberculosis, the vitamin C status is lowered, and tissue concentrations in infected animals are lower than normal—indications of increased usage or conspicuous loss.
The speculation is that the production of antibodies—disease-fighting mechanisms—is impaired if vitamin C is lacking and that there is failure of the formative cells to produce new body tissue. A suggestion has been made that activity of white blood cells can be stimulated by ascorbic acid. The white blood cells are able to destroy harmful materials as disease organisms.
Proof is needed, but the theory that the formation of new cells, as antibodies, and the replacement of impaired body tissue depend on the presence of vitamin C is a reasonable one. The failure of wounds to heal in scorbutic persons indicates a need for new building material. The higher concentration of vitamin C in young tissue than in old and the high concentration in actively multiplying cells and tissue indicate that vitamin C must be present where tissue is formed or regenerated.
Protein precursors—builders—must be present if new tissue is to be formed, and we again are searching for a protein interrelationship. How much vitamin C must be available to retain immunity to (or aid in recovery from) infection is not clear. Is it assured by an amount in excess of antiscorbutic requirements? Or will access by cells to a small supply circulating in the blood fill even emergency needs?
It is not strange that possible interrelationships of vitamin C are suggested rather than proved. Many of the metabolic activities demonstrated are oxidations and reductions, and ascorbic acid exhibits a great willingness to enter into such systems. The search goes on for the mechanisms involved in its specific function, the formation of intracellular cementing substances for both soft and bony tissues, which make possible an orderly but infinitively diverse and patterned alinement of the cells.
—The Yearbook of Agriculture—1959, The United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC
Ode from a Stomach
As a stomach, I perform a number of important functions. One of the most vital to each human is that of attacking the various foods plunged into me, digesting them, and converting them into the energy that allows my owner to operate.
But—take an average day in my life, and you’ll understand my problem. My owner rises about 6:45 and drinks a cup of coffee. Splash—that’s breakfast. At midmorning my owner crams a bar of candy into me that makes my lining fairly curdle. But at least it’s a bit more solid than coffee.
Lunch—at last. But my owner has just one hour so he has to rush, rush, rush. So the meal consists of a cheese sandwich, on white bread, washed down with some liquid containing thousands of lively bubbles. I have to wait at least thirty minutes before I’m sure they’re dead enough to attack. Unfortunately, the chunks of cheese are too big to attack, but my owner was in a hurry, so I will wait until the cheese melts a bit.
Midafternoon is a shock—I’m fed some salty peanuts, and now they are swimming around in that sloshy liquid, still bubbling here and there.
I’m a mess…but dinner is coming. Maybe I’ll get something I can really sink my enzymes into. But alas, that is not to be. For dinner there are fried potatoes, peas from a can, meat and pudding topped off with some gooey cream.
And then my owner begins to bounce and jiggle, twist and squirm, shake and shimmy. They call it dancing but I call it quits. I just couldn’t hold anything together.
At midnight the doctor came. All he could say was, “Just an upset stomach.”
Well there’s always another day…maybe I will be allowed to function in a manner befitting my design.
—In part from NFA Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 2
Important Announcement! The Following Products Are Now Available
Symplex M: A food for special dietary use. An extract of beef pituitary tissue (22.2 mg per tablet), beef thyroid tissue (16.2 mg per tablet), beef adrenal tissue (22.2 mg per tablet), and beef orchic tissue (45 mg per tablet), containing nucleoprotein, qualitatively. Contains no thyroxin. Not a drug or for medicinal uses. Results are nutritional only.
Contains 7.8 percent of protein, 2.8 percent fat, 71.6 percent carbohydrate (by weight). Each tablet contains 1.68 calories. Mfg. under U.S. Patent No. 2,374,219.
Symplex F: A food for special dietary use. An extract of beef pituitary tissue (22.2 mg per tablet), beef thyroid tissue (16.2 mg per tablet), beef adrenal tissue (22.2 mg per tablet), and beef ovarian tissue (45 mg per tablet), containing nucleoprotein, qualitatively. Contains no thyroxin. Not a drug or for medicinal uses. Results are nutritional only.
Contains 7.8 percent of protein, 1.6 percent fat, 72.3 percent carbohydrate (by weight). Each tablet contains 1.63 calories. Mfg. under U.S. Patent No. 2,374,219.
Paraplex: A food for special dietary use. An extract of beef pituitary tissue (22.2 mg per tablet), beef thyroid tissue (16.2 mg per tablet), beef adrenal tissue (22.2 mg per tablet), and beef pancreas tissue (22.2 mg per tablet), containing nucleoprotein, qualitatively. Contains no thyroxin. Not a drug or for medicinal uses. Results are nutritional only.
Contains 10.3 percent of protein, 1.8 percent fat, 70.6 percent carbohydrate (by weight). Each tablet contains 1.63 calories. Mfg. under U.S. Patent Na. 2,374,219.
The above-mentioned products are packaged: 2 vials, 40 tablets each.