Healing the Body

Healing the Body 

By Daniel Rocha LMT CPT 


Part of manual therapy is connective tissue manipulation.  This can affect a patient as it can be as if a patient had a hard workout and will be sore for couple days after treatment. So just how does the body repair and heal.  Advisement on amino acids and enough cholesterol are important subjects to discuss with patients. 


Amino acids 


All human proteins are made of a combination of 20 amino acids. These 20 amino acids are classified into essential and nonessential amino acids. Essential means that the human body is unable to produce them so the must be included in one's daily diet.


“The nine amino acids most commonly listed as essential are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Up to eight other amino acids (arginine, asparagine, cysteine, glycine, glutamine, proline, serine, and tyrosine) are sometimes listed as conditionally essential because they may be essential under special circumstances.” (Spehar, J., & Blake, S., ScD. 2020)


The major source for essential amino acids comes from plant and animal sources. The balance of essential amino acids from food must meet the human body’s needs. Certain foods do not have the ideal balance of essential amino acids, so it is necessary to consume animal protein to obtain a complete spectrum of essential amino acids.


Amino acid supplementation is used for various purposes which include building muscles through weight training, improving heart and circulatory problems or diseases, treating chronic fatigue syndrome, depression and anxiety, eating disorders, such as bulimia, anorexia, and overeating. They can increase memory, improve the body's immune system to fight bacteria and viruses.


So when addressing liver or cardiac issues, amino acid metabolism is accessed through AST and ALT enzymes, which most know as liver enzymes.  If a patient is not a drug or alcohol user, cardiac concerns must be addressed.  Alanine is the amino acid referred to as it identifies ALT enzymes.  Alanine is the imine group and it combines with alpha keto glutamate (AKG) an oxygen group, through a Schiff base linkage.  This linkage allows a swap of the imine and oxygen groups to form pyruvate which is used to form ATP through the Krebs cycle, then a glutamate group which will form ammonia and lead to urea. This process will occur in the liver and muscles.  This will give the ALT number. Aspartate will combine with AKG and also swap the imine group with the oxygen group and produce oxaloacetate and glutamate. This process occurs in the liver but is released into the blood stream providing the AST number.  Elevated numbers are a concern and should be addressed immediately.  A analyzation of the kidneys and heart should be looked at in conjunction with high AST and ALT numbers.   


This is an explanation for athletes especially bodybuilders who utilize low calorie, low carbohydrate diets when preparing for a contest.  If your body is not receiving the correct amount nutrients or calories and exercise or calorie expenditure is high, the body is designed to survive.  It will utilize the amino acids for energy.  If amino acids from food or supplementation are not provided to cover sufficient calorie expenditure then it will obtain from actual muscle tissue.  Then your body will just pee most of that hard earned muscle out and destroy kidneys as well.  It is important here to understand this process and be aware as athletes try to make weight, lose excessive body fat or even habitual dieters that do not allow the body recover by giving it proper maintenance calories and rest from exercise.  




Cholesterol is manufactured in the liver and all cells and carried throughout the body inside special carriers in the bloodstream and lymph system. When excess, oxidized cholesterol accumulates,  arterial plaque is formed on the blood vessel walls. This plaque may rupture and cause a heart attack or a stroke. 


Cholesterol in the bloodstream is principally raised by foods high in saturated fatty acids, such as shellfish, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. Coconut products and animal fat are also sources of saturated fatty acids.


Cholesterol is necessary for digesting fats, making hormones, and building cell walls. There are three principal carriers of cholesterol in the body. Cholesterol in food is sent to the bloodstream by way of chylomicrons. The liver manufactures very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) which circulate and become low density lipoproteins (LDL) when they lose triglycerides. LDL are bad cholesterol when it is in excess and becomes oxidized. Excess cholesterol and other fatty substances are removed from the bloodstream by high density lipoproteins (HDL), which I refer to as “happy” or good cholesterol. The total amount of HDL and LDL is called total cholesterol. Triglycerides are a simple form of fat with health effects related to those of cholesterol.


Cholesterol metabolism occurs in the liver.  Two acetyl CoA will use this last to lose a CoA molecule.  They then add back an acetyl CoA through a hydroxyl methyl glutaryl CoA (HMG CoA) synthase forming HMG CoA leading to a reductase to form mevalonate.  It is important to note that your statin drugs like Lipitor inhibit the HMG CoA reductase to bring cholesterol levels down.  From here there are about 30 steps of how cholesterol is metabolized.  But during these 30 steps, vitamin D is made, the cell membrane becomes less fluid, preventing phase transitions.  Glycophingolipids form lipid rafts within cell membranes.  The production of steroid hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, progesterone etc, also occur from the metabolism of cholesterol.  Your bile salts which emulsify lipids or fats, and then production of lipoproteins which travel through lymph and enter the blood stream as VLDL, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides.  


Cholesterol does get a bad reputation due to the amount of junk food that we eat here in our country.  It is important to note that cholesterol does help the body with energy and hormones which have their impact on repair and recovery.  So note that protein sources are advised to be varied not just for amino acid variation but also for the different levels of fats consumed.  Your fatty fish provide a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids, use of different oils  like olive or walnut oil provide essential fatty acids healthy for the body.  Nuts and natural nut butters are also great for fat consumption providing much needed nutrition for the human body.  


So whether your are exercising, do manual labor regularly, or receive manual therapy like deep tissue massage or Naprapathic treatments, amino acids and fats should be a staple in your quest for quick repair and recovery. 


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Spehar, J., & Blake, S., ScD. (2020). Amino Acids. In D. S. Hiam (Ed.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine (5th ed., Vol. 1, pp. 94-96). Gale. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX7947800037/HWRC?u=lirn33148&sid=HWRC&xid=2ef3a3be


Wells, K. R., & Blake, S., ScD. (2020). Cholesterol. In D. S. Hiam (Ed.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine (5th ed., Vol. 1, pp. 627-631). Gale. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX7947800210/HWRC?u=lirn33148&sid=HWRC&xid=57bfde33

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