Before there was much specific talk of whole food nutrients, there was a simpler question:
HOW ARE NUTRIENTS DELIVERED TO CELLS IN THE BODY?
…the active ingredient (ascorbic acid) did nothing when taken as an isolated supplement.
After years researching the answer to this question, Dr. Gunther Blobel discovered that nutrients inside food are bound by many other essential elements, such as proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids (fats).
Dr. Blobel found that the protein co-factors performed a remarkable molecular function:
He discovered that proteins contain unique signals that act like a cellular ‘zip code’ in localizing and transporting their attached nutrients to particular cells that need them.
These proteins are called protein chaperones.
In the image (above): a protein chaperone binds and delivers Vitamin C to a signaling cell.
PROTEIN CHAPERONES: ONLY IN WHOLE FOOD
Protein chaperones exist naturally in whole food, and accompany those whole food nutrients to the cells that need them. Therefore, as many as there are nutrients, there are many different corresponding protein chaperones.
The type of each protein chaperone depends on which vitamin or mineral needs to be transported to which of the corresponding cells.
If our scurvy-curing scientist (at the beginning) had learned of Dr. Blobel’s discovery, he would have realized that Vitamin C, taken without its carrier cofactors found in oranges and limes, lacked its appropriate protein chaperones and that deprived bodily cells were unable to absorb a helpful amount of the ingested mineral.
In short, only when eaten as whole food, containing other whole food nutrients, could the person or animal utilize enough of the ascorbic acid to cure scurvy.