EDS on a cellular level and why it’s important to “Moving your DNA.”
What does Natural Movement Training (NMT) have to do with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), or more specifically collagen and connective tissue? And how does having EDS affect our connective tissues on a cellular level? I have to say .. a lot.
Natural Movement Training makes so much sense to me. It just does and probably because the whole approach is based on how humans used to move. You know, before we had all modern conveniences and didn’t have to leave our house, beds and computers to do ANYTHING? I also feel better when watching many of the NMT videos on YouTube, because I can see the muscles that hurt and need strengthening in my body really work. And I mean work, versus what usually happens in any of my typical workouts.
Anytime a topic that can somehow be tied back to NMT comes up, I’ve talked about it. I even brought Dr. Francomano a copy of Move your DNA by Katy Bowman and gave it to her as a gift when I saw her last week. One person that I’ve spoken to quite a bit about NMT and who also is reading Move your DNA, is one of my co-admins for the Facebook Group, EDS Athletes. Donna, my co-admin, is a Paratriathlete, has a blog called Beating Limitations and seems to like reading, researching and applying new information that makes sense, as much as I do.
One of the things that Donna recently shared with me, was this article on Collagens in Energy Metabolism and Metabolic Diseases from another EDS blog (EDS Info).
Here are the reasons she shared this with me and why this info is pertinent to what we’ve both been reading in Move your DNA. However, this information is also important for those of us living with EDS.
Point #1 – A lot of what Move Your DNA discusses in the beginning of the book is about the exocellular structure. Exocellular means what happens on the outside of a cell, not just inside, (see Wikipedia for a more detailed explanation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extracellular) and how those situations can affect its overall function in our bodies, as well as their structure.
You are probably wondering what does this have to do with EDS, collagen protein and the cells that are found within our connective tissues? Take a look at the graphic posted below and then read point #2. This graphic illustrates how collagen and other components of connective tissue, are involved in the formation of every part of our bodies, including our blood, our ears, surrounding all of our organs, our bones, as well as our tendons and ligaments.
Point #2 – It’s important because collagen is not only involved in the structure (ie. building blocks) of our connective tissues, but it’s also involved in the way that the cells that make-up our connective tissues communicate to each other. Read this:
“Defining the cellular sources of collagens in the normal and diseased states of the above metabolic tissues is thus critical to understanding metabolic disease. Under certain pathological conditions, the excess accumulation or collapse of collagens may disrupt normal cell-cell interactions, and cause the loss of tissue compliance or elasticity.”
Collagen is protein that is used to build every type of connective tissue in our bodies. Our connective tissues are made up of various types of cells, depending its location in our body, as well as other components – i.e. collagen. See chart below for the various types of connective tissue and the specific cells that are used to make each type of connective tissue.
Additionally, the graphic below is an example of how our loose connective tissue is structured. Loose connective tissue is the most prevalent type of connective tissue in our bodies and can be found underneath our skin. You can see the various cells that help provide structure to our loose connective tissue and how collagen fibers can be found exocellular or “outside” of the cells.
So, how can the issues of excess accumulation, collapse of collagen proteins and the disruption of normal cell-cell interactions on the outside of our cells affect our connective tissues? See point #3 below.
Point #3 – Disruptions in cell-cell interactions (ie. the way cells “talk” to each other), due to collagen protein pile-up and/or collapse within the space between connective tissue cells, affects their integrity and function. The result? Issues in our tissues, literally. Read below:
“Finally, these disruptions of collagens result in tissue dysfunction such as atherosclerosis of the blood vessels, pulmonary fibrosis, liver cirrhosis and fibrosis in other organs.”
Can you see how issues that stop collagen proteins from doing their job properly and hinder the communication between the cells that make-up our connective tissues, can affect their overall “health” and function?
Just read Wikipedia’s definition of EDS to see how these issues can either cause EDS, or how non-inherited exocellular issues could possibly affect the presentation and severity of our EDS symptoms: “Ehlers–Danlos syndrome (EDS) is an inherited connective tissue disorder with different presentations that have been classified into several primary types. EDS is caused by a defect in the structure, production, or processing of collagen or proteins that interact with collagen, such as mutations in the COL5A or COL3A genes (See Wikipedia’s definition for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome to read more).”
Collagen proteins are just like the bricks used to build your house. Many things can affect how well the bricks are placed, if they are placed correctly and how strong they all are once the your house is built. In addition, there could have been issues with the way the bricks were made that will affect their structure or their function once put together to build your house. Any of these issues can result in a some pretty serious structural problems that stem from your house being built with faulty bricks.
Finally, what does the book Move you DNA and Natural Movement Theory have to do with all of this? Move your DNA pushes you to think about genetic and non-genetic issues that can affect the structure and function of our cells and thus, our connective tissues. Numerous points have been made about how focusing on healthier, more natural lifestyle choices, such as strengthening our bodies through natural movements, can help improve the structure, function and stability of our tissues, even if they were built with a genetic defect. Points like these are too strong to ignore.
To read more about how collagen issues can affect our connective tissues, you can read the blog post that I just summarized by reading this link:
And to really jump into the science & microbiology of all of this, you can read through the original article that the blog EDS Info cited. The original article reviews the role of collagens in metabolic tissues, and attempt to summarize the function of collagens in energy metabolism, you can click the link below: