Did you know our body is made up of 37.2 Trillion cells? Yep, that’s Trillion with a T. The health of those cells determines your overall health, let alone your cellular health. An important organelle inside the cell is the mitochondria. Multiple mitochondria are found inside each cell, except for a few (red blood cells and certain bacteria).
Mitochondria are the “powerhouses” of the cells, meaning they are responsible for energy production. Energy production is essential for life! The better your energy production capacity, the better you’ll feel and the healthier you’ll be.
This little organelle is important to take care of if you want a life full of energy and free from disease. Who doesn’t, right?
The mitochondria take the food we eat and convert it into energy. Inside the mitochondria, we convert fat into energy, we convert protein into energy and we convert carbohydrates into energy.
This energy is in turn used to fuel our bodies. Every system in our body relies on this energy for survival. The 3 biggest utilizers of this energy are the liver, the brain, and muscles. The liver uses this energy to process toxins. The brain uses this energy to perform all of our tasks of the day. The muscles use this energy to propel us forward.
A lot can go wrong if the mitochondria aren’t working properly. Your immune system can’t function suitably without healthy mitochondria. Your risk for cancer and metabolic diseases such as hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and heart disease go up when your mitochondria are damaged.
Degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease can result from damage to the mitochondria. Aging is also accelerated as mitochondria become injured.
Additionally when mitochondria are damaged so is energy production and metabolism. It is hard to lose weight and feel vibrant and healthy with mitochondrial dysfunction.
How do the mitochondria become damaged?
When we burn the fuel we eat to make energy, a waste product is created. It’s similar to driving a car. When the gasoline is burned the exhaust is created as a by-product of the energy utilization.
The same thing is happening in your body when you burn food for fuel. The waste products that are created are known as free radicals. You aren’t living if you aren’t creating free radicals, so free radicals in and of themselves aren’t bad. It’s unchecked free radicals that can lead to problems.
Free radicals need to be bound up with antioxidants to prevent damaging DNA, which leads to disease. Free radicals can also damage the mitochondria themselves! This leads to fewer mitochondria to do all the essential jobs needed to keep us healthy and thriving.
Oxidative stress results when there is a disturbance in the balance between the production of free radicals and the antioxidants available for defense.
To combat oxidative stress and keep your mitochondria healthy, you must ensure adequate antioxidant consumption to bind up the free radicals produced to prevent damage to DNA and mitochondria.
Make sure you are consuming adequate antioxidants. It’s important to eat a rainbow of colors in your diet to get a variety of antioxidants. Some key foods to include in your diet are berries, cherries, citrus fruits, prunes, dark leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, olives, fish, nuts, onion, and garlic. Food is medicine.
Additionally, you can supplement your diet with antioxidants. Some key antioxidant supplements are Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Turmeric, Green Tea, Melatonin, Cinnamon, Coq10, Glutathione, and Resveratrol.
Other things you can do to enhance cellular health:
Regular, moderate exercise
Use caution with chemicals
Ensure adequate sleep
And most importantly BREATHE! (Your mitochondria need oxygen to do their job.)
Little steps now repeated over time to keep your mitochondria and cells healthy lead to health benefits now and protection from unwanted problems in the future. Bathe your body in antioxidants to age gracefully, improve your metabolism, prevent disease, and move further on the path to optimal health.
Before you go…
In my functional medicine practice, we prioritize identifying the root causes of health issues. By addressing the underlying reasons for weight gain, we create a path towards healing your body and facilitating the loss of stubborn weight.
Introducing my latest program, Mitoboost, designed to assist you in tackling stubborn weight, boosting energy levels, improving cellular function, and enhancing detoxification.