How can you improve your Mitochondrial health and live longer?
Mitochondria are the trillions of microscopic energy factories that power your body, turning the food you eat and the air you breathe into the energy that powers the biochemical reactions in your cells. That energy is used for everything from flexing muscles to making essential enzymes and hormones.
Mitochondria are specialised structures that exist in all cells. They take part in a variety of cellular processes, but their primary function is to extract the energy stored in nutrient chemical bonds (in the form of electrically charged particles called electrons) and convert it into a form of energy that cells can use to power their activity.
This type of energy is a molecule known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate), and the process is known as cellular respiration. Because mitochondria produce approximately 90% of all ATP produced in our bodies, they are referred to as "the powerhouse of the cell."
So, if you abuse your mitochondria on a daily basis with a slew of bad habits, you won't have enough energy to get through the day. Poor nutrition, insufficient sleep, high-stress levels, and an office-to-couch-potato lifestyle all reduce mitochondrial health and limit energy production.
We have a lot of mitochondria when we're young. But, like every other system in the body, our mitochondria shrink in size and number over time, and with them, much of the energy we once took for granted. Indeed, researchers now believe that mitochondrial decline is one of the primary causes of aging - of feeling and looking tired - and a major cause of the brain and cardiovascular diseases that affect so many people as they age.
The good news is that we can influence how quickly or slowly we age. Much of it is determined by how well we care for our mitochondria.
8 Super Simple ways to Boost your Mitochondrial health.
Get Good Quality Sleep
Sleep protects your brain by clearing out neural waste products that accumulate on a daily basis and, according to research, also preserves the mitochondria. Consider sleep to be your brain's "garbage disposal," so don't skimp on this mitochondria-protecting activity.
2 Don't eat Crap.
Say no to sugar, refined grains (flour), and even healthy whole grains which raise blood sugar and add unwanted pounds and body fat, which promotes mitochondria-crushing inflammation. Additionally, try to maintain a 'clean' diet by avoiding processed foods, pesticide-laden produce, and factory-farmed meats.
3. Have a balanced diet
Seek out foods that are high in vitamins, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. High-quality, pasture-raised animals, wild-caught fish, (preferably) organic vegetables, avocados, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds, and some low-sugar fruits are all part of the diet. And leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.
4. Observe Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting a few days a week is a great 'bio hack' that supports mitochondrial health by reducing mitochondrial free radical production and thus improves mitochondrial function and longevity. How to Go About It: Reduce your 'eating window' from 12 to 16 hours of grazing all day to 8 hours. You'll eat dinner earlier and breakfast later, giving your body many more hours of non-eating time.
Calorie restriction acts as a stress signal that triggers a number of adaptations in mitochondria:
it improves the activity of the electron transport chain and regulates the production of ROS and oxidative stress.
it supports mitochondrial quality control mechanisms, responsible for preventing and/or repairing the damage.
it promotes the renewal of the mitochondrial network through the elimination of damaged mitochondria (autophagy) and the production of new mitochondria (biogenesis)
5. Expose to Sun and Cold
Without ignoring the fact that excessive unprotected sunbathing can be extremely harmful, it is critical to remember that the right amount of sun is essential for our health. The production of vitamin D in our skin is a well-known effect of sunlight.
It turns out that vitamin D is required for mitochondrial activity and that supplementing with vitamin D improves mitochondrial oxidative capacity in muscles in vitamin D-deficient adults. Furthermore, animal studies have revealed that vitamin D promotes mitochondrial biogenesis and increases mitochondrial oxidative capacity in muscles and brown fat.
When we are cold, two types of tissues immediately respond by producing extra heat. The first is skeletal muscle, which generates heat by shivering. The other is brown adipose tissue (BAT, or brown fat), which produces heat without shivering.
Shivering generates heat by burning fuel and using ATP to power muscle contraction. Shivering thus recruits mitochondria to generate heat indirectly. In contrast to other tissues, BAT has a molecule that can decouple respiration from ATP production and use it to actively produce heat. BAT generates heat directly through mitochondria.
Cold stimulates an increase in mitochondrial activity and biogenesis in both skeletal muscle and brown fat. As a result, cold exposure, such as cold showers or cryotherapy, can boost mitochondria and help us stay warm.