Do you neglect your mitochondria? Check it out and learn how to support these organelles, which are a source of energy and longevity.
Let’s start from the beginning.
What exactly are mitochondria?
Mitochondria are power plants for our cells that change food into energy in the form of ATP – adenosine triphosphate. Most of us hid the definition of mitochondria in the same drawer as the rest of the notes from the biology lessons. That’s a pity! Mitochondria are beasts, they are not only extremely interesting but truly life-giving. (1)
Why do we need mitochondria?
Think of them as employees of a power plant that illuminates the planet of your body. The fewer employees or the worse they are treated, the less energy is produced. There is a lack of electricity in some areas. Power plant management, mercilessly profit-oriented, must decide where to cut off power supplies.
Apart from energy management, mitochondria are responsible for other important functions in the body:
- Regulating basic metabolism
- Managing amino acid and enzyme levels in the body
- Processing hormone messages (especially estrogen)
- Creation of neurotransmitters
- Production of natural steroids (for modulating inflammation and pain)
- Insulin secretion
- Reducing the chances of getting cancer
If your mitochondria are not working properly, your body and brain won’t function well and you will feel more tired.! You will grow old faster. You will also be at risk of heart disease, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, you will suffer from chronic weakness. (1)
Mitochondrial Dysfunction Symptoms
- Low energy & fatigue
- Digestive and gut health issues
- Higher risk for chronic illnesses: heart disease, type 2 diabetes, liver disease
- Hormonal imbalance
- Greater risk of infections (bacterial and viral)
- Troubles with coordination, balance, and cognitive function
- Muscle aches and pains & more
How do I know if my mitochondria work well?
There is no test that determines the functioning of mitochondria. With mitochondria, however, it’s a bit like the bacterial flora of the digestive system: everyone benefits from taking care of them.
Actually, mitochondria and intestinal health are ways to improve your functioning, well-being, and overall health.
How then to optimize the work of mitochondria?
Mitochondria need carbohydrates or fat to create ATP, which is why diet is especially important for improving their work.
How to eat for mitochondria?
- replacing inflammatory foods like grains, cereals, dairy, and omega-6 oils with anti-inflammatory, nutrient-rich fats, meats, and vegetables,
- optimizing sugar intake,
- eat healthy fats: coconut oil, avocado, linseed oil
- eat colorful plants full of antioxidants,
- eat sulfur-rich vegetables,
- take glutathione, a super powerful antioxidant that supports these organelles. (2)
Is a high-fat and high-carbohydrate diet at the same time needed?
While the mitochondria use either fatty acids or carbohydrates to create the ATP to produce energy, doing so with fat is loads more efficient and produces fewer free radical byproducts.
If you eat both a lot of carbohydrates and a lot of fat, your cells will first use energy from carbs, leading to weight gain.
Therefore your carb intake should be low so your mitochondria will burn fat for energy. This will help you stay slim. Look always for foods packed with vitamins, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. Go for high-quality, pasture-raised animals, wild-caught fish, organic veggies, avocados, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds, and some low-sugar fruits. You can’t go wrong loading up on leafy greens and cruciferous veggies, like cauliflower and brussels sprouts.
Health perseverance doesn’t mean relying just on a healthy diet
Strength/weight training has been shown to increase the number of mitochondria. (3)
Sleep is important for your glymphatic system, which is a brain waste removal system that only works when you are sleeping. When you are not sleeping enough, the toxins get stored in your body and excessively affecting the work of mitochondria. (4)
Mitochondria support include string antioxidants such as:
- Nicotinamide Riboside,
- family of vitamins B
- coenzyme Q10
- alpha lipoic acid
Other ways to encourage mitophagy
Mitophagy -clearing away damaged mitochondria and [recyclying] their components for energy, which is followed by a concomitant generation of new mitochondria called mitochondrial biogenesis – as explained by dr R. Patrick here.
- Intermittent fasting
- Being in the sun
Simply take care of yourself and live in the slow rhythm as often as possible.