Mitochondrial health is an important but little-discussed health factor.

Updated: Nov 13

Mitochondria are essentially the powerhouse of your cells and act as batteries to fuel a multitude of processes throughout your body.


Maintaining healthy mitochondria is crucial to good health and vitality, however, this topic receives surprisingly little attention. Mitochondria are the energy generators of our cells, performing a wide range of essential tasks that contribute to overall health.

Mitochondria, however, are very prone to damage. We could become sick if their integrity is breached if they stop functioning correctly. Fatigue, muscular aches and discomfort, digestive issues, respiratory problems, and a host of other symptoms and an elevated risk of illness may all stem from dysfunctional mitochondria


What Exactly Are Mitochondria?

Mitochondria are highly specialised structures that may be found in almost every cell in the human body (with the exception of red blood cells). Mitochondria are compartments inside cells that carry their own DNA.

Mitochondria are essentially the powerhouse of our cells and act as batteries to fuel a multitude of processes throughout our body. Mitochondria are found in every cell in our body, in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), they are accountable for the generation of ninety percent of the energy that is used by the cell, and they also contribute to the operations of the metabolism.

Mitochondria may be found throughout the body in varying numbers, depending on the kind of tissue, and each type of mitochondria is tailored to perform a function that is unique to that particular type of tissue. For instance, the mitochondria in your liver contribute to the process of converting ammonia into a waste product that is less harmful to your body.


Mitochondria's Primary Functions



What Effect Does Mitochondrial Health Have on Human Health?

Without proper mitochondrial activity, an organism's capacity for growth and development would be severely constrained. Everyday physical functions such as digestion, intellect, and the operation of the cardiovascular system would also be negatively impacted. All of the metabolic events that occur in the human body need energy in order to proceed, and because the mitochondria are responsible for producing this energy, their work cannot be replicated.


Protection against free radicals and oxidative stress

Mitochondria play an important role in both the suppression of the production of free radicals and the restoration of oxidative damage. Damage done to mitochondria as a consequence of oxidative stress has been related to the aetiology of a range of illnesses, including the following:

  • Schizophrenia

  • Bipolar disease

  • Alzheimer’s disease

  • Epilepsy

  • Migraines

  • Stroke

  • Neuropathic pain

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Heart disease

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

  • Fibromyalgia and more

Mitochondria play the role of mediators throughout the apoptosis (cell death) process, which is essential for ensuring that defective cells that have the potential to cause problems are rendered incapable of carrying out biological activity. While it is true that all cells are susceptible to some degree of oxidative damage, it is of utmost significance that mitochondria have the capacity to comprehend the signals that are being sent to the cell and the ability to react appropriately. In the event that mitochondria are unable to trigger programmed cell death when and where it is necessary, the risk of subsequent complications and disease states increases.


What Factors Contribute to Mitochondrial Health Deterioration?

Damage to the mitochondria may be caused by significant oxidative damage, which can alter the permeability of the inner membrane. Oxidative stress may be brought on by taking certain drugs, smoking, drinking alcohol, being exposed to environmental pollutants and pesticides, and eating a diet that is heavy in high-fructose corn syrup, refined carbs, and sugar. There is apparently a correlation between genetic predispositions to mitochondrial illnesses and the state of the mitochondria.


Symptoms of Mitochondrial Problems May Include:

· Fatigue

· Loss of motor control, coordination, or balance

· Trouble talking

· Trouble walking

· Digestive problems, such as vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and acid reflux

· Muscle aches, pains, and weakness

· Cardiovascular problems and heart disease

· Liver disease or dysfunction

· Kidney disease

· Neurological problems

· Trouble eating and swallowing

· Stalled growth and development

· Respiratory problems

· Migraines

· Lactic acidosis

· Vision loss and other visual issues

· Trouble hearing

· Hormonal disorders, such as lack of estrogen or testosterone

· Higher susceptibility to infections and illness

· Autism, and autism-like problems


Ways to boost Mitochondria

1. Intermittent fasting

Calorie restriction and intermittent fasting, in which one goes without food for some hours of time, both have the effect of lowering overall energy levels in the body. In order to make up for the loss, levels of NAD+ rise, which results in an increase in the mitochondria's capacity to create ATP. As a consequence of this, mitochondrial activity improves, which ultimately leads to an increase in ATP levels. However, this is still only a hypothesis at this point in the scientific process.


2. Exercise

To keep our muscles active and working, we need a significant amount of energy while we exercise. This puts a strain on the mitochondria of the muscle, which in turn sends a message to the rest of the cell about the increased requirement for energy. The response of muscle cells is the production of more mitochondria as well as an increased number of mitochondrial enzymes. As a result, the respiratory capacity of muscles, also known as their capacity to create ATP from nutrition in order to fuel muscular contractions, is increased.

It is an adaptation of our muscle cells to exercise, and it is one of the reasons why exercise performance increases with training. [Case in point:] [Case in point:] Exercise is also one of the greatest strategies to increase mitochondrial biogenesis and function in aged muscle. This may assist to prevent the age-related reduction in mitochondrial activity and muscle health.


3. Mitochondrial nutrients

Numerous nutrients are able to support mitochondria in their function and in the maintenance of their health and fitness. Mitochondrial nutrients provide substrates and cofactors that support and/or stimulate the activity of mitochondrial enzymes; they enhance the cellular antioxidant defences of the cell; they scavenge free radicals and protect mitochondria from oxidation; and they protect and repair the mitochondrial membranes.

Mitochondrial nutrients include B vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, and other nutrients such as L-carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, pyrroloquinoline quinone and creatine, for example. They can be taken as supplements or they can be found in natural unprocessed foods: fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, seafood, and meat.


4. Sleep

The human brain has a high metabolic rate, which means that it consumes a lot of energy and also produces a lot of waste products as a byproduct of its metabolism. When we sleep, our brains get rid of waste materials that are potentially harmful to the mitochondria.

Because neuronal mitochondria power every brain function, it is very important to avoid this accumulation of toxic waste. Poor sleep damages mitochondria, but a good night’s sleep helps the brain keep mitochondria healthy.


5. Relaxation techniques

The mitochondria play an important part in how stress affects your body. Mitochondria may modify their form and function in response to stress hormones and other stress signals.

Long-term stress may lead to mitochondrial dysfunctions and can alter the processes that occur inside cells and the body as a whole. Mitochondrial dysfunctions brought on by stress may be especially damaging to the neurological, endocrine, and immunological systems, which can lead to a more widespread and unfavourable influence on our body.

As a result, activities that assist with stress management, such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, or breathing exercises, might potentially help reduce the negative consequences of stress. In point of fact, it has been shown that frequent use of relaxation methods may upregulate genes that are associated with healthy mitochondria. function.


6. Sunlight

A healthy dose of sunlight is essential to our well-being, but we must not forget that prolonged exposure to the sun without protection may be dangerous. Vitamin D is produced in the skin when exposed to sunshine, which is a well-known result of sun exposure.

Supplementing vitamin D in people who are low in the vitamin has been shown to increase mitochondrial oxidative capacity in skeletal muscle. Additionally, vitamin D has been demonstrated to boost mitochondrial oxidative capacity in skeletal muscle and brown fat, as well as stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis, according to animal research.


7. Red/near-infrared light therapy

Light in the red and near-infrared spectrum may pass through the epidermis and act on the mitochondria by stimulating cytochrome C oxidase. This molecule functions in the ATP-generating electron transport chain in mitochondria. The mitochondrial electron transport chain and energy production is boosted by exposure to red and near-infrared light.

Red/near-infrared light treatment increases cellular signalling via reactive oxygen species (ROS) and stimulates cellular alterations that cause favourable cellular responses, such as increased antioxidant defences and better cellular functionality. Red/near-infrared light treatment has been shown to have a variety of positive effects, including faster wound healing, less muscle injury, and faster recovery time after exercise.


8. Cold exposure

There are two kinds of tissues in the body that quickly generate more heat in response to the cold. An example is a skeletal muscle, which generates heat via shivering. Brown fat, also known as brown adipose tissue (BAT), is the other kind of adipose tissue that is important for producing heat in ways other than shivering.

When you shiver, your body uses energy from food and oxygen to produce muscular contraction, resulting in a heat release. As a result, mitochondria are activated during shivering to produce heat in a roundabout way. The brown adipose tissue (BAT) possesses a chemical that can decouple respiration from ATP generation, allowing it to be used for active heat production. The heat needed by BAT is thus produced directly by the mitochondria.

Cold triggers a rise in mitochondrial activity and biogenesis in skeletal muscle and brown fat. Cold showers and cryotherapy are two examples of ways in which we might increase mitochondrial function to better regulate body temperature.


9. Heat exposure

In addition to being a potential threat, heat may also induce helpful biological reactions. Adaptation-friendly cellular responses are triggered by heat, which functions as a moderate stress signal.

It has been shown that heat stress initiates a favourable adaptive response in mitochondria that increases their functional capability, making mitochondria one of the primary mediators of that adaptation.

Both skeletal and cardiac muscle have shown these benefits. This is consistent with research indicating the benefits of regular sauna use for a variety of health benefits, including enhanced endurance performance and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.


10. Supporting NAD+

Every cell in our bodies has a chemical called NAD+ (from nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), which is produced from vitamin B3. NAD+ is essential for mitochondrial activity because it transfers electrons from the cellular respiration chain to the oxidative phosphorylation pathway, where they are used to create ATP. Therefore, NAD+ is just as vital to cells as ATP. As a result, NAD+ plays a key role in keeping one healthy.

As people become older, NAD levels normally decline in numerous tissues. This decrease may also contribute to the aging process. However, by providing cells with nutrients that might aid them in optimising NAD+ metabolism, we can increase cellular NAD+ levels. This may counteract the natural decline in NAD+ that occurs with age, therefore bolstering mitochondrial activity, protecting against age-related illnesses, and promoting lifespan


For many of us, lack of energy makes it hard to get out of bed in the morning or to carry out even the most fundamental of daily routines. No matter what we do to boost our stamina, it always seems like getting out of bed is like being struck by a truck.

Some of the things that will help include taking cold showers, going outside in the sun, and staying away from artificial or fluorescent lighting

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