Significance of the cell
A cell is the smallest viable component of our body. It is the basic element of the human organism in which all life processes, including stimulus processing, progeny, heredity and metabolism, take place. The human body consists of over 50,000 billion cells with roughly 220 different types of cells and tissue. Each second, millions of body cells die and are replaced with new ones. Controlled cell division is the most important process to ensuring the health of the human body. Yet before cell division can occur the genetic information, or DNA, of the older cell or “mother cell” needs to be transferred to the new cell or “daughter cell”. Once this DNA duplication has occurred, the mother cell dies and cell division is in process.
1. Nucleus: control center of the cell that contains DNA (a thread of about 2-μm in each body cell that bears the complete genetic information)
2. Cytoplasma: gel-like substance residing within a thin pellicle (or cell membrane)
3. Cell membrane: regulates what enters and exits the cell e.g. nutrients enter, waste material exits
4. Mitochondria = cellular power plants
Cell division, specifically the body’s capability to remove old or defective cells, is essential. Scientifically, this process is called “programmed cell death” or apoptosis. However, if there is a defect during the programming of cells that die during this process, bad or abnormal cells can develop, such as cancer cells. Cells contain DNA that functions according to its genetic make-up (aschromosomes in the nucleus). This can be described as a construction plan for the body which determines how each cell should function. The cells within the different organs are programmed, both according to their function and their life span—and generally, our body renews itself within approximately 120 days. In order for the cells to cope with the functions they are assigned, they have to be provided with nutrients they need. These include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, fibers, vitamins, mineral nutrients, and micronutrients. In addition, the cells related to one’s immune system need specific substances, and these are, among others, selenium, zinc, vitamin C and vitamin D3.