The mitochondria are power plants in the cell that convert food and oxygen into energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). They drive biochemical reactions in your cells.

How mitochondria affect how we feel

Think of mitochondria as power factories – when a factory slows down its production or there are not enough raw materials to produce everything, you will get less output from the factory. ( 1 )

If your mitochondria are not working properly, you will get less from your body and brain and you will feel more tired. You will age faster. Mitochondria are also believed to play a role in many of the age-related diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and neurogenerative diseases. If your mitochondria are not working optimally, you will feel like you are aging too fast and you will feel tired.

How to know if our mitochondria are working optimally

There is no real measurement of mitochondrial function yet, however it could be similar to gut bacteria. Everyone can benefit from taking care of their gut health; in the same way, everyone can benefit from taking care of their mitochondria.

The microbiome and mitochondria are the two key areas to improve function, because those are two main areas where function decreases and leads to all kinds of symptoms, but also leads, in the future, to various diseases. All people are advised to focus on improving their mitochondria and microbiome.

What to eat to optimize our mitochondria

The first thing is to stop eating sugar and grains, because they turn into sugar in the bloodstream. Mitochondria work best with healthy fats, like sardines, walnuts, avocado, coconut oil, and MCT oil.

You need to eat a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet, because your mitochondria use fatty acids or carbohydrates to create ATP, but if you give them more fat and fewer carbohydrates, fewer free radicals will form.

You also want to eat lots of colorful veggies, because the more phytonutrients you have to nourish your body, the more you’ll nourish your mitochondria as well. We also know that some vegetables, such as vegetables rich in sulfur (cauliflower, cabbage, etc.), are good at producing glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that is good for the mitochondria.

What if you are eating high in good fats and still eat refined flours

If you are eating a lot of fat and a lot of carbohydrates, your cells will go first for carbohydrates, so you will have excess carbohydrates or insulin and excess fat, which will lead to you becoming heavier. If you don’t have carbohydrates, your body will process the fats. Mitochondria do better with fatty acids than carbohydrates, but they will go carbohydrates first if given the option.

You can take a break or you need to be strict all the time

The philosophy is that health isn’t just about what you eat, it’s about your community, the love in your life, spending time in nature, how you move, what you think, how you treat others, and many more. things.

Tied to a specific diet for a chronic condition or not, life is to be enjoyed. So, if you are in Italy, eat the best pasta (if you are gluten-tolerant and if not, look for a gluten-free pasta). A day of craving but with limits, between many weeks of eating very healthy, can make anyone happy.

Being obsessive about food is not healthy, but being healthy about it most of the time is important. In fact, creating long-term daily habits is the most important thing.

Non-food related things that help mitochondria

Exercise, especially HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), and strength training have been shown to increase the number of mitochondria. Sleep is also important.

We have a glymphatic system, a waste disposal system in the brain, and it only works when you are sleeping; if you’re not sleeping, it doesn’t work, so you’ll accumulate more toxins, which will inhibit mitochondrial function.

Meditation improves mitochondrial function , as does sun exposure, intermittent fasting, cold showers. Supplements can be really helpful for your mitochondria ( 2 ):

  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Alpha lipoic acid
  • Glutathione
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamins B1, B2, B3
  • Rivoflamine
  • Niacin
  • Carnitine to transport fatty acids
  • Fish oil or krill oil
  • PQQ Pyrroloquinoline quinone.

Sources that steal energy from mitochondria

Research now shows that the main source of oxidative stress in cells is the leakage of oxygen and high-energy electrons from the mitochondria.

This leakage increases when key nutrients / protective molecules are missing, such as dose-dependent depletion of CoQ10 in patients taking statins, a long-known problem.

Many factors are associated with increased damage to the mitochondria . The following list is not complete, but is clinically relevant.

Factors associated with increased mitochondrial damage ( 3 ):

  • Aging (accumulated oxidative damage to mtDNA)
  • Genomic susceptibility (especially ApoE4)
  • Toxic metals
  • Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
  • Many prescription drugs
  • Alcohol

As we age, our number of mitochondria decreases . Mitochondria and the microbiome are two key functions for longevity.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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