Week 10. Aerobic Metabolism Part 1

by | Lessons

“How does a fetus breathe?”

This is a trick question; I realize a fetus is not breathing like you and I. Think about how an embryo uses oxygen and you may see it ‘breathes’ no differently in the womb as we all do once born into this world.

If you think about how an embryo gets oxygen into its body before using it, then you find yourself imagining the anatomical pathway oxygen takes to its final destination before it’s used. This final destination is the embyro’s cells, where ‘breathing’ or cellular respiration or aerobic metabolism occurs. 

The first objective of this lecture is to visualize the big picture of the body’s oxygen delivery system – from air to mouth to heart to cell, and then once in the cell ‘stop there’ and examine how aerobic metabolism works in terms of food combining with oxygen.

Metabolism in terms of food combining with oxygen leads to…

The ROOT KNOWLEDGE and second objective of this lecture, which is to see how all food used aerobically must break down into vinegar. In other words, vinegar or acetic acid is the final aerobic fuel and ultimate carbon ‘food chunk’ burned in a cell. 

Aerobic metabolism is the ceaseless process of combusting an endless supply of 2-carbon-atom fuel chunks (vinegar) in a cell’s mitochondria.


I am emphasizing the body’s oxygen delivery system and combustion of carbon in a cell in order to present a more coherent and integrated way of perceiving nutrition and metabolism. You will soon see in the Root Knowledge section, the practical value of viewing food as ‘carbon chunks’ and why this enables you to understand food much more profoundly.

Let’s begin with the first objective: visualize the body’s oxygen delivery system – aka cardiovascular system.

The picture gallery breaks down the entire system, which is best imagined as a garden hose attached to itself, but with a pump (the heart) attaching each end together.

IMPORTANT!  Tap or click the image to dismiss or recover the captions.

 

The entire path oxygen takes into and out of your body takes time – approximately 90 to 100 seconds – from when oxygen moves from air into the lungs, to the blood, to and out of the heart, through progressively smaller vessels to a cell where it combines with carbon, back through progressively larger vessels to the heart, and then exhaled out of the lungs in CO2.

Once oxygen arrives into a single cell – we STOP to look at what really burns – in the next section: the Root Knowledge.

 

Carbon: The Ultimate Fuel for Machines and Respiration in Humans

Acetic acid and its 2 carbon atoms is/are the actual final fuel for aerobic metabolism. All food burned breaks down into acetic acid.

acetic-acid

Before showing how food breaks down into acetic acid and the body burns it, let’s just see how it and other fuels burn.

The carbon in each substance will readily combust by heating it to a temperature where it will ignite, (to its ignition temperature).

Thus, the ‘machine’ formula of combusting just carbon is:

C + O2 –> CO2 + Heat

So:

“Burning Fuel” is a generic description for burning a specific carbon fuel such as wood, propane, gasoline, coffee, dried milk, diamonds, coal, etc.

 

The body does not just readily burn any carbon fuel by heating it to its ignition temperature, it must break down food (after eating it) into ‘managable’ chunks of carbon that can be delivered or stored as energy waiting to be used (energy which is carbon stored as fat, glycogen, glucose, or protein).

All these foods or fuel must later break down into acetic acid for a cell to use aerobically. Thus, aerobic metabolism occurs only after fat or carbohydrates breakdown into acetic acid. (Protein is NOT a preferred fuel)

First, let’s see how and why fat breaks down directly into acetic acid. (unlike carbohydrates, which do not reduce to acetic acid directly)

The clip below shows in 8 seconds, why acetic acid is made so easily by directly breaking down fat in the body.

 

 

There you have it. All fat is made by chaining acetic acid together into carbon chains called fatty acids – which is why fatty acid chains break right back directly down into acetic acid.

Let’s take a look at a common fatty acid – made out of 9 acetic acids. (making a total of 18 carbon atoms, which makes this a long chain fatty acid)

It is oleic acid. It is the primary component of quality olive oil and lard

beta-oxidation-of-oleic-aci

Oleic acid is a long chain fatty acid and considered a VERY healthy fatty acid. If you’re wondering why lard is considered unhealthy by some people; you’re onto something, you have just begun to realize the value of knowing what’s called the fatty acid profile of fats, which we’ll examine later.

  • As shown by the red slashes, part of oleic acid breaks down directly into individual acetic acid molecules.

 

  • Beta is the second letter in the Greek alphabet. Breaking fatty acids is called beta oxidation because the chain breaks down at each second carbon atom down the line – into 2 carbon-atom-chunks called acetic acid

 

  • The main fuels for aerobic metabolism are especially the short and medium chained fatty acids in coconut oil and dairy fat, e.g. ghee, butter, cream, milk, cheese.

 

Dependent on the length of the carbon chain, ranging from 4 to 28 total carbon atoms, fatty acids are classified as short, medium, or long.

Butter, coconut oil, olive oil, and all fats and oil (regardless if they are from plants or animals) are made of a variety of fatty acids.  Very few fats are made of of mostly one type of fatty acid.

Where does acetic acid come from in the body and more specifically, how is it supplied to cells for aerobic metabolism?

The majority of acetic acid burned at the cell level comes from fat in food, fat stored in your body, and fat circulating in your blood.

You can’t drink enough vinegar to supply the acetic acid your body needs. Although it is useful for other needs of the cells of your gut when ingested directly.

SUMMARY

Respiration is a form of slow combustion in a cell – where vinegar burns to produce CO2, Water, and Heat.

At rest and low to moderate intensity levels – fatty acids are the primary source of calories burned – after reducing to acetic acid.

Vinegar burns in the mitochondria and a cell respires. Drawn below by a student, day 2 of class in 2013.

reeds-cell

Vinegar is the actual final fuel substrate burned for aerobic metabolism.

  • Carbohydrates and fat break down to vinegar to fuel aerobic metabolism.
  • Acetic acid is the technical name of vinegar.

Only acetic acid burns.

acetic-acid

Where does acetic acid come from, and more specifically, how is it supplied to cells for aerobic metabolism?

First, you can’t drink enough vinegar to supply the acetic acid your body needs. Although it is useful for other needs of the cells of your gut when ingested directly.

The majority of acetic acid burned at the cell level comes from fat in food, fat stored in your body, and fat circulating in your blood.

All fat is made out of acetic acid as the basic building block.

All fat is made by assembling acetic acid together into chains – animated below.

Chains of acetic acid are called fatty acids.

  • Dependent on the length of the carbon chain, fatty acids are classified as short, medium, or long – ranging generally from 4 to 28 total carbon atoms from all the acetic acids connected together.
  • Butter, coconut oil, olive oil, and all fats and oil (regardless if they are from plants or animals) are made essentially of various lengths of carbon chunks – or chains of acetic acid.

Aerobic metabolism essentially reverses the process of constructing fatty acids to make acetic acid for combustion within cells.

Beta Oxidation = Breaking down fatty acids to make acetic acid.

This larger, commonly eaten food is called oleic acid. It is the primary component of quality olive oil and lard. It is made out of 9 acetic acids attached together – making a total of 18 carbon atoms.

beta-oxidation-of-oleic-aci

  • As shown by the red slashes, oleic acid breaks down directly the same way it was put together – namely, into individual acetic acid molecules. Oleic acid is a long chain fatty acid.
  • The main fuels for aerobic metabolism are especially the short and medium chained fatty acids in coconut oil and dairy fat, e.g. ghee, butter, cream, milk, cheese.

SUMMARY

Respiration is a form of slow combustion in a cell – where vinegar burns to produce CO2, Water, and Heat.

At rest and low to moderate intensity levels – fatty acids are the primary source of calories burned – after reducing to acetic acid.

Vinegar burns in the mitochondria and a cell respires. Drawn below by a student, day 2 of class in 2013.

reeds-cell

1. Butter, Butter, Butter: The Physiology of Adventure Diets

This section of the lecture is a slide show – featuring a seminar I present annually during the Outdoor Adventure Expo at Midwest Mountaineering – titled Butter, Butter, Butter.

The primary objective of this lecture is to visualize the essential anatomical parts of the body’s aerobic system from a macro view down to the microscopic level where the action of metabolism finally takes place.  The secondary objective is to see why butter and vinegar are essentially the two most simple aerobic fuels and know what really burns in cells.

The picture below is a simplified version of the whole.

general-circulation

Read the remaining sections before class so you are clear now on the visuals and basic knowledge you must know for the quiz or assignment.

The slide show graphics definitely require explanation to understand, especially regarding the relationship between butter/vinegar and aerobic metabolism. So you absolutely must attend this lecture.

Click here to view the slide show I present in class now if you wish.

Butter, Butter, Butter – Fats You Really Should be Eating

butter-butterCalories in are not equal to body heat out.  Ever get cranky on the trail and wonder how your diet affects your mood and performance?  Learn the biochemical differences between butter, lard, olive and fish oils and how weather and diet influence the thermodynamics of metabolism down to the cell level.

Learn how to optimize your adventure by feeding your body properly and learn how to pack the appropriate provisions for your next trek.

2. Visualize the Aerobic System

The aerobic system transports O2 from air and delivers it to cells.

  • We want to visualize the entire structural pathway oxygen takes to get to your cells.
  • Here are three different ways to visualize the aerobic system – aka cardiovascular system.

1. This graphic

2. The ‘straw prop‘ demo. Shown in class with assignment – Lessons 2B, 3.

3. The root system of the plant in this video.

 

The Visuals in Words:

  • The entire system is like a garden hose attached end to end to itself – but with a pump attaching each end.
  • Visualizing the whole path oxygen takes in and out of your body is imagining the movement over time – where oxygen moves from air into the lungs, to the blood, to and out of the heart, through progressively smaller vessels to a cell, back through progressively larger vessels to the heart, and then exhaled out of the lungs in CO2.
  • Once oxygen arrives into a single cell – we STOP to look at what really burns – in the next section: the Root Knowledge.

The body becomes a single cell, like when this artist trapped herself inside a sealed box.

trapped-artist


 

The equivalent of the trapped artist is a fetus in a womb as drawn by Leonardo Davinci:

fetus

3. The Root Knowledge: What Really Burns in Cells

Vinegar is the actual final fuel substrate burned for aerobic metabolism.

  • Carbohydrates and fat break down to vinegar to fuel aerobic metabolism.
  • Acetic acid is the technical name of vinegar.

Only acetic acid burns.

acetic-acid

Where does acetic acid come from, and more specifically, how is it supplied to cells for aerobic metabolism?

First, you can’t drink enough vinegar to supply the acetic acid your body needs. Although it is useful for other needs of the cells of your gut when ingested directly.

The majority of acetic acid burned at the cell level comes from fat in food, fat stored in your body, and fat circulating in your blood.

All fat is made out of acetic acid as the basic building block.

All fat is made by assembling acetic acid together into chains – animated below.

Chains of acetic acid are called fatty acids.

  • Dependent on the length of the carbon chain, fatty acids are classified as short, medium, or long – ranging generally from 4 to 28 total carbon atoms from all the acetic acids connected together.
  • Butter, coconut oil, olive oil, and all fats and oil (regardless if they are from plants or animals) are made essentially of various lengths of carbon chunks – or chains of acetic acid.

Aerobic metabolism essentially reverses the process of constructing fatty acids to make acetic acid for combustion within cells.

Beta Oxidation = Breaking down fatty acids to make acetic acid.

This larger, commonly eaten food is called oleic acid. It is the primary component of quality olive oil and lard. It is made out of 9 acetic acids attached together – making a total of 18 carbon atoms.

beta-oxidation-of-oleic-aci

  • As shown by the red slashes, oleic acid breaks down directly the same way it was put together – namely, into individual acetic acid molecules. Oleic acid is a long chain fatty acid.
  • The main fuels for aerobic metabolism are especially the short and medium chained fatty acids in coconut oil and dairy fat, e.g. ghee, butter, cream, milk, cheese.

SUMMARY

Respiration is a form of slow combustion in a cell – where vinegar burns to produce CO2, Water, and Heat.

At rest and low to moderate intensity levels – fatty acids are the primary source of calories burned – after reducing to acetic acid.

Vinegar burns in the mitochondria and a cell respires. Drawn below by a student, day 2 of class in 2013.

reeds-cell

4. Carbon: The Ultimate Fuel - for Combustion in Machines and Respiration in Humans

Carbon (C) is the 13th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust.

Oxygen is the top most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. Oxygen is tied up with silicon to make sand and rocks. If you’re wearing glasses you’re looking through silicon dioxide – SiO2.

Carbon is the ultimate fuel that burns in machine engines and in animals.

When carbon combines with O2 in air during combustion, this happens:

C + O2 –> CO2

Thus, the carbon in each substance will combust to produce carbon dioxide, CO2:

Thus, the ‘machine’ formula of combusting pure carbon is:

C + O2 –> CO2 + Heat

Fuel + O2 –> CO2 + Heat  is a generic description for burning any carbon fuel.

DEMONSTRATION: Observe a candle burning: What burns?

  • Compare Cow Burps (Methane gas), Propane, Butane (lighter fluid) —> Link to RER
  • Compare Carbohydrates, Fat, and Vinegar

Unlike burning fuel in machines or wood in an open fire, the body must break food down into small chunks of carbon it burns.

Before food can burn in the body it must be reduced specifically to acetic acid.

Therefore, aerobic metabolism occurs only after fat or carbohydrates reduce to acetic acid.

We refer to all food as fuel, generically. Click graphic below.

biker-cell-box

The biological formula of combustion and its full description:

Fuel + O2 –> CO2 + H2O + Heat. Combustion = respiration = aerobic metabolism.

  • H2O is made from the Hydrogen in acetic acid and all the more complex ‘regular’ foods.

fuel

All foods are made of various combination of C, H, and O.

Natural gas is also hydrocarbon fuel, and produces the same products as food stuffs burned in the body.

SUMMARY:

  • Respiration is the endless process of carbon atoms in acetic acid combining with O2 in the mitochondria.
  • The rate of producing acetic acid is very very fast. The moment foods have finally reduced to acetic acid in a cell – the acetic acid goes ‘up in smoke’ as it combusts.
  • The CO2 produced streams out of a cell into blood. Eventually you exhale CO2 after the blood circulates back to the lungs.
Recap Week 10 and Overview Week 11, 2017

Recap Week 10

Clarified Butter = Ghee: Because it has been fermented there is negligible lactose (much less than a gram). Lactose intolerant people can ingest 8g and remain unaffected.

Lymph: What is it spatially/anatomically – around the cells, vessels, and nodes?

Match Stick: Look at Week 3 chart: Glycogen Depletion Rates

Billion Year Old Carbon:

 

Overview Week 11, 2017

O2 consumption is a simple concept. Carbon burns.

Graphing VO2 is even simpler. Move, mover faster – and the graph is essentially a straight line until ‘the fire’ reaches its maximum rate of burning. At this point – no additional power is produced by oxidizing carbon.

 

On board before audience arrives:

Handout

Plant Respiration & Synergy of Energy Transformation

Props

Matchstick

Candle

Why does the wick burn extremely slowly?

What is actually burning mostly?

What three states of matter – of the main substance burning – do we see simultaneously?

What is the equivalent reaction in your body?

Where does this reaction occur specifically?

What are the reactants and what are the products of the reaction?

What ‘runs out’ in cave or sealed space when we suffocate?

Why would a fast burning explosive kill you by not damaging you physically?

 

 

 

Videos and/or Additional Reading

What burns when you light a candle?

http://home.howstuffworks.com/question267.htm

http://thehappyscientist.com/science-experiment/whats-burning

Thermodynamics of Weight Loss:

Thermodynamics of Weight Loss Diets

Lulu Hunt Peters: Diet & Health

Death by instantaneous removal of oxygen from air:

Thermobaric Bombs

More on oxygen:

History of O2 Uptake

Molecules, magic, and forgetful fruitflies; the supernatural science of medical gas research

Beyond the Breathalyzer

 

PhysicalRules.com