A Capacity to Change

A Capacity to Change
Christine L. Foutch Naturopathic Physician Rock Island, Illinois

Christine Foutch is a practicing Holistic Physician in Rock Island, Illinois, specializing in Holistic Nutrition and Biomechanics. Holistic medicine is the art and the science of healing that addresses the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. The practice of holistic medicine integrates conventional and alternative therapies... more

It was about 15 billion years ago. The Universe began, a cataclysmic eruption of very hot and energy-rich subatomic particles.

Seconds later the simplest elements began to take form.

You may ask at this point: What were they? They were Hydrogen and Helium.

As the Universe expanded, it began to cool the material within. This was brought on with the help of gravity, forming what we know as the Stars. Some of those Stars became quite large. Enormous is a much much better description! Those Stars went on to explode as Supernovae, releasing the energy needed now to begin to fuse the simple atomic nuclei. 

As a result of over billions of years, the more complex elements began to take form and, yes, this includes the Earth itself and all the chemical elements found on Earth today.

Life arose as simple micro-organisms. Many believe this to have taken place about 4 billion years ago. These simple micro-organisms arose with the ability of extracting energy from chemical compounds, and later from sunlight.

With the use of this energy, these simple micro-organisms went on to make a very impressive array of complex bio-molecules from the simple elements and compounds found here on our own Earth's surface.

What is a bio-molecule?

It is a molecule in living organisms including macro-molecules, meaning large proteins; carbohydrates; lipids, also known as fats, and nucleic acids molecules involved with the cellular maintenance and metabolic-processes of the living organism.

How?

How did these amazing properties of the living organisms come into being? Rising from thousands of different bio-molecules. Yet, when these molecules are isolated and then examined individually, they behave according to all the physical and chemical laws that describe the non-living.

With the study of bio-chemistry, you can take a look into how the collection of these inanimate molecules that create the living organisms interact, maintaining and perpetuating life created by the physical and chemical laws that control our non-living Universe.

Organisms have extraordinary characteristics. These properties are recognized as different from other collections of matter.

Well, what are they?

Thousands of different molecules make up the internal structures of the cell, if you remember from the previous statement.

To go more in depth into this high level of chemical-complexity and then more so into the microscopic-organization within the cell, these thousands of different bio-molecules include very long polymers.

What is a polymer?

A polymer is a chemical substance made up of repeating subunit-sequences which take on very unique 3-dimensional structures, which can come to perform very specific functions within the cell while providing very specific binding or, better yet, reaction partners within the cell

The bio-molecules come to form systems within the cell systems for extracting, transforming, and then using the energy found within the environment.

These systems go forth, enabling the organisms to build and maintain those intricate structures found within the cell. This obviously involves the ability to do mechanical chemical osmotic and electrical work, which counter-acts the tendency of all matter to decay towards a more disordered state coming to a equilibrium with its surroundings.

This creates the need for very defined functions for each of those structural components and then the regulations of the interactions between them.

This is not only true for the macroscopic-structures that we can see such as leaves and stems, or in our case, our organs such as the heart and our lungs, but this is also true for the microscopic-intracellular-structures and individual chemical compounds.

This interaction between the chemical components of a living cell is constantly changing, or you could also say dynamic. The changes in one component cause coordinating or even compensating changes within another, creating a display of character of the organism that is way beyond that of the individual parts.

This collection of bio-molecules is carrying out a program and the end result is the reproduction of the original program self-perpetuated, constantly adjusting to the environment and adapting their internal chemistry or even the location within the environment.

In short, we call this program "life".

For Educational Purposes
Resource - Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry