Maintaining patient health through cellular communication

Want to maintain pet health? Here’s why cellular communication is key.

Maintaining cellular communication is a cornerstone of health for all living things, but not one that is talked about very often. And while it may seem like obscure science, it’s actually fairly straightforward. After all, everyone understands that communication is key. There are, however, several key concepts that are important to understand, starting with the extracellular matrix.

What is the extracellular matrix and what does it do?

The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a collection of extracellular molecules secreted by cells that provides structural and biochemical support to the surrounding cells and largely determines how a tissue looks and functions.

Think of the extracellular matrix as the body’s infrastructure. The signals that come from inside our cells are like scaffolding in the form of different proteins to assemble in the extracellular matrix. These extracellular molecules provide the structural and biochemical support to the surrounding cells.

This ECM system of tight junctions and gap junctions has several important functions, including protecting, feeding, and repairing cells. However, inflammation and toxins damage the ability of cells to talk to one another.

An isolated cell — unaware of its surrounding – fails to repair and cooperate with the greater system. The role of the extracellular matrix (in addition to protecting, feeding, and repairing cells) is to provide the structure that enables cell-to-cell communication. The goal is to keep the cells working as one body.

What is redox signaling?

In any situation where there are several parts working as a whole, there needs to be good communication. Imagine a cell phone. The phone doesn’t “call” anyone; the phone is the hardware that enables the signal to be transmitted. The person dialing the phone initiates the “signal”. If there are towers to pick up the signal and boost it to the destination, the call will be received on the other end. But if there is no cell tower to receive the signal and boost it to the next tower and the next and the next, the signal dies, never reaching its intended destination.

Cellular communication is very similar in that there is a system of “hard wiring”, the fiberoptic network that makes up the extracellular matrix, and the actual “signal” which is the non-physical part of the communication network. Both parts must be working for the cells to communicate (called redox signaling) with each other to produce the right chemistries that the body needs to function optimally.

Redox molecules are molecules that have oxygen and hydrogen binding sites and have the ability to act as a signal in the body through reduction and oxidation, hence the name Red-Ox. Each bacterial species (30,000 species) creates a unique subset of carbon redox metabolites during the digestive process. So, for each species of bacteria, you may see 10–15 versions of these carbon “snowflakes”. They function as an interspecies molecular communication network that allows for coordinated cell protection, injury response, and repair.

How to integrate redox signaling into your veterinary practice

This brings us to ION*Gut Health For Pets. The active ingredient in this liquid supplement is Terrahydrite®, which comes from ancient soils. ION* works via carbon-based redox signaling to maintain tight junction integrity in the epithelial layer of the gut lining.

ION* selectively induces appropriate modulation of ROS depending on the condition of the cell, reducing mitochondrial output of ROS in healthy cells, which indicates greater efficiency in energy production, and increasing ROS in cells which need immune intervention or repair. We call this the Intelligence of Nature (ION), because rather than forcing response at the cellular level, the signaling molecules in ION* amplify the cells’ own communication pathways, resulting in appropriate adaptation to the intracellular and extracellular environment.

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