By Chandran Nambiar KC
Without acquiring a baseline knowledge of CHEMISTRY OF LIFE, you cannot follow the MIT explanation regarding biological mechanism of homeopathic cure.
By the term ‘living organism’, we indicate a highly organized complex material system with a specific quantity, quality, structure and functions of its own, which is capable of self-controlled growth and reproduction of its progeny, through an interaction involving constant exchange of matter and energy with its environment.
The phenomenon we call ‘life’ exists through a continuous chain of highly complex biochemical interactions which control each other known as METABOLIC PATHWAYS, which depend up on each other and are determined by each other.
A ‘living organism’ represents a much higher and advanced level of organized existence of the same elements of matter we meet in the inorganic world, different only in its structural organization and functional complexity. The universal phenomenon of material motion we find as part of primary existence of matter itself, attains the wonderful qualities of life, due to this complex structural organization.
In fact, phenomenon of ‘life’ was the result of a continuous evolutionary process of primary matter in this universe through millions of years, attaining different levels of organizational and functional forms. Primary forces, sub-atomic particles, elementary atoms, simple chemical molecules, complex inorganic molecules, carbon containing organic molecules, bio-molecules, complex bio-polymers, RNA-DNA-Protein structures, organelles, unicellular organisms, multi-cellular organisms, diverse species of plants and animals, and ultimately Homo Sapiens- these are the prominent milestones in the known evolutionary ladder on earth, panning through millions and millions of years. Human beings represent the highest form of this material evolutionary history on earth, as far as it is known to us.
Parallel to this biological evolution, we can perceive a systematic evolution and perfection of the nervous system also. Simple forms of conditioned reflexes that existed in primitive organisms, gradually evolved into nerve cells, neural networks and ultimately into a well organized nervous system in higher animals. In higher forms of life such as humans, this nervous system has attained such a structural and functional perfection that human brain and its diverse faculties have begun playing a decisive role even in the existence and development of that species and even life on earth itself. Of course, collective labor, language and social relations also played a major role in this evolutionary process.
A living organism can exist only through a continuous interaction and material exchange with its environment. There is an unceasing flow of matter and energy in both directions, between internal and external environments of the organism. Metabolism, or ‘life process’ is the term used to describe the sum total of this bidirectional flow. The moment this bi-directional flow of matter and energy ceases, the organism can no longer exist.
A living organism is distinguished from other non-living forms of matter by certain fundamental features such as: high level of structural organization, the ability to convert and utilize energy, continuous material exchange with environment, self regulation of chemical transformations, and, reproduction or transfer of hereditary information. A state of disease may ensue when any of the biochemical pathways governing these fundamental factors of life are disturbed. Obviously, it is impossible to make a scientific study of pathology and therapeutics without an understanding of these subjects.
Complex bio-molecules which participate in the diverse chemical processes of life are broadly classified into four major groups: Proteins, Carbohydrates, Lipids and Nucleic Acids. These are polymers of simple chemical components or sub units, called monomers. The monomers of proteins are amino acids, and those of carbohydrates are monosaccharides. Lipids are polymers of fatty acids. The monomers of Nucleic acids are known as nulcleotides. These bio-molecules are considered to be the building blocks of life on earth, and are never seen in the non-living world. These bio-molecules, with their highly complex structure and organization, interact each other in the organism through hundreds of bio-chemic pathways, collectively called ‘vital processes’.
Scientific explanation of Homeopathy should be based on a proper understanding of the the complex dynamics of bio-molecular interactions involved in vital processes, especially protein biochemistry.
Understanding PROTEIN CHEMISTRY and PROTEIN DYNAMICS is an essential part of understanding LIFE, DISEASE and CURE:
Proteins are a class of highly complex nitrogen-containing bio-molecules, functioning as the primary carriers of all the biochemical processes underlying the phenomenon of life. There exist millions of protein molecules belonging to thousands of protein types in a living organism.
Each protein molecule is formed by the polymerization of monomers called amino acids, in different proportions and sequences. Each protein type has its own specific role in the biochemical interactions in an organism. Most of the amino acids necessary for the synthesis of proteins are themselves synthesized from their molecular precursors inside the body. A few types of amino acids cannot be synthesized inside the body, and have to be made available through food. These are called essential aminoacids.
There are specific protein molecules assigned for each biochemical process that take place in the body. Various proteins play different types of roles, such as biological catalysts or enzymes, receptors, transport molecules, hormones, antibodies etc. Some proteins function as specialized molecular switches, systematically switching on and off of specific biochemical pathways.
Proteins are synthesized from amino acids, in conformity with the neucleotide sequences of concerned genes, with the help of enzymes, which are themselves proteins.
‘Protein synthesis’ and ‘genetic expression’ are very important part of vital process. It may be said that genes are molecular moulds for synthesizing proteins of specific conformations. There are specific genes, bearing appropriate molecular codes of information necessary for synthesizing each type of protein molecule. Even the synthesis of these genes happens with the help of various enzymes, which are protein molecules. There is no any single bio-molecular process in the living organism, which does not require an active participation of a protein molecule of any kind.
The most important factor we have to understand while discussing proteins is the role of their three-dimensional spacial organization evolving from peculiar disulphide bonds and hydrogen bonds. Water plays a vital role in maintaining the three dimensional organization of proteins intact, thereby keeping them efficient to participate in the diverse biochemical processes.
Proteins exhibits different levels of molecular organization: primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary. It is this peculiar three dimensional structure that decides the specific biochemical role of a given protein molecule. More over, co-enzymes and co-factors such as metal ions and vitamins play an important role in keeping up this three-dimensional structure of protein molecules intact, thereby activating them for their specific functions. Buffering properties of body fluids also are decisive in maintaining the specific conformations of proteins and keeping them reactive.
Whenever any kind of error occurs in the particular three-dimensional structure of a given protein molecule, it obviously fails to interact with other biomolecules to accomplish the specific functions it is intended to play in the concerned biochemical processes. Such a failure leads to further harmful deviations in several biochemical processes in the organism, that require the participation of this particular protein, ultimately resulting in a cascading of multitude of molecular errors. This is the fundamental molecular mechanism of pathology, which we perceive as disease of some or other category.
These deviations in biochemical pathways are expressed as various groups of subjective and objective symptoms of disease. The organic system exhibits a certain degree of ability and flexibility to overcome or self repair such molecular deviations and preserve the state of homeostasis required to maintain life. Anyhow, if these deviations happen in any of the vitally decisive biochemical pathways, or, if these are irreversible, the bio-chemical processes ultimately stop and death happens.
Disease is a state of derangement in biochemical interactions so as to disrupt the normal pathways of vital processes of the organism
Derangement in normal biochemical interactions amounting to a state of disease may happen due to diverse reasons.
1. GENETIC FACTORS: Defects in genetic codes arising from heredity or acquired by mutations result in the absence of certain proteins (enzymes, receptors, antibodies etc) that are essential for normal biochemical interactions.defective genes may also synthesis faulty proteins with wrong conformation, which can act as endogenous pathogenic agents by binding to various biological targets.
2. EPIGENETIC FACTORS: Defects of enzymes involved in genetic expressions and post synthetic translations and modifications of protein molecules act as epigenetic factors of diseases.
3. NUTRITIONAL FACTORS: Nutritional deficiencies of essential building blocks and precursors of biological molecules, such as amino acids and other monomers, vitamins, co-factors, elements, metal ions, minerals etc may disrupt the normal biochemical interactions. Any shortage in the availability of various amino acids and their precursers may lead to non- production of essential proteins in the organism. In some cases, it may also result in the production of defective proteins.
4. ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS: Biochemical interactions happen only if an appropriate pH level and temperature is maintained in the body fluids. Any physical influence that may derange these physical parameters will act as pathogenic factors by deactivating protein molecules. Temperature, magnetic field, electromagnetic radiations, vibrations and various other physical influences can affect the normal biochemical processes. Physical influences actually act as pathogenic agents by producing derangement in protein conformations, which are deactivated or converted to pathogenic molecules.
5. EXOGENOUS MOLECULAR FACTORS: Chemical molecules released by infectious agents invading the organism, drugs, toxins, food articles, environmental pollutants alien proteins entering the body act as EXOGENOUS factors of disease by binding to various biological molecules such as enzymes and receptors and producing molecular inhibitions.
6. ENDOGENOUS MOLECULAR FACTORS: Antibodies, hormones, neuro-mediators, neurotransmitters, cytokines, growth factors, super-oxides, enzymes and various biological molecules of endogenous origin may cause molecular inhibitions of proteins such as enzymes and receptors, thereby acting as pathogenic agents.
It is obvious that almost all conditions of pathology we normally confront, including those resulting from genetic origin, are involved with some or other errors or absence of some protein molecules that are essential for concerned biochemical processes.
Moreover, most of such molecular errors other than of nutritional deficiencies or genetic origin, arise due to binding of some exogenous or endogenous foreign molecules or ions on the active, binding or allosteric sites of protein molecules, effecting changes in their three-dimensional conformations. A host of diseases originating from viral-bacterial infections, allergies, poisoning, drugs, food articles etc, belong to this category. Chronic diseases caused by antibodies, which are considered in homeopathy as miasmatic diseases and modern medicine as auto-immune diseases, also belong to this class. Diseases caused by emotional factors, hormones, neuro-mediators, neurotransmitters, cytokines, growth factors, super-oxides, enzymes and various biological molecules also include in this group.
KEY-LOCK MECHANISM: The most important factor we have to bear in mind when talking about kinetics of proteins in general, and enzymes in particular is their highly defined, peculiar specificity. Each type of protein molecules, or some times even some part of a single protein molecule, is designed in such a way that it can bind only with a specific class of molecules, and hence participate in a specific type of bio-chemic interaction only. This functional specificity is ensured through the peculiar three-dimensional configuration of the protein molecules, exhibited through their characteristic folding and spacial arrangement. Reactive chemical groups known as active sites, binding sites, and regulatory sites are distributed at specific locations on this three dimensional formations of protein molecules. These chemical groups can interact only with molecules and ions having appropriate spacial configurations that fits to their shape. This phenomenon can be compared with the relationship existing between a lock and its appropriate key. Just as a key with an exactly fitting three dimensional shape alone can enter the key hole of a lock and open it, molecules with exactly fitting three dimensional structure alone can establish contact and indulge in chemical activities with specific protein molecules. This key-lock relationship with substrates defines all biochemical interactions involving proteins, ensuring their optimum specificity. Obviously, any deviation in the three dimensional configuration of either lock or key makes their interaction impossible.
It has been already explained that the primary basis of any state of pathology is some deviations occurring in the biochemical processes at the molecular level. Endogenic or exogenic foreign molecules or ions having any configurational similarity to certain biochemical substrates can mimic as original substrates to attach themselves on the regulatory or the active sites of proteins, effecting changes in their native 3-D configuration, thereby making them unable to discharge their specific biochemical role. This situation is called a molecular inhibition, which leads to pathological molecular errors. It is comparable with the ability of objects having some similarity in shape with that of key, to enter the key hole of a lock and obstructing its function. As a result of this inhibition, the real substrates are prevented from interacting with the appropriate protein molecules, leading to a break in the normal biochemical channels. This type of molecular errors are called competitive inhibitions. It is in this way that many types of drugs, pesticides and poisons interfere in the biochemical processes, creating pathologic situations. Such substances are known as anti-melabolities.