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Mitochondrial Health: The Key to Aging Gracefully and Optimizing Health

Feb 10, 2022 | Blog, Mitochondrial Health

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]In this post, I’m going to share with you everything you need to know about mitochondria and then some.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row content_placement=”middle”][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]To kick off this important discussion, did you know our body is made up of 37.2 Trillion cells? Yep, that’s Trillion with a T. Multiple mitochondria are found inside each of those cells, with the exception of a few (red blood cells and certain bacteria).

Mitochondria are known as the “powerhouses” of the cells, meaning they are responsible for energy production, and energy production is essential for life! The better your energy production capacity, the better you’ll feel and the healthier you’ll be.

So 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?
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”14347″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Simply put, our 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 our muscles. Our liver uses this energy to process toxins. Our brain uses this energy to perform all of our tasks of the day. Our muscles use this energy to propel us forward.

A lot can go wrong if the mitochondria aren’t working properly. For starters, 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.

How do the mitochondria become damaged?

When we burn the fuel we eat to make energy, a waste product is created. It’s like when I drive my car, I burn the gasoline, and 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 just unchecked free radicals that can lead to problems. Free radicals need to be bound up with antioxidants or they can damage DNA and lead to disease. Free radicals can also damage the mitochondria themselves! This leads to fewer mitochondria to do all the essential jobs they are needed for to keep up 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.

In conventional medicine, there is a list of over 72,000 different diagnoses. This implies that so many things can go wrong with the body. But really, there are only a few pathways that lead to all of this dysfunction. One of these potentially disrupted pathways is oxidative stress.

To combat oxidative stress and keep your mitochondria healthy, you have to ensure adequate antioxidant consumption to bind up the free radicals being produced to prevent damage to DNA and mitochondria. It sounds complicated but it’s really pretty simple.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]For starters, 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.

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 fight oxidative stress and keep mitochondria healthy are:

  • Regular, moderate exercise
  • Avoid smoke
  • Use caution with chemicals
  • Decrease alcohol
  • Ensure adequate sleep
  • Avoid overeating
  • And most importantly BREATHE! (Your mitochondria need oxygen to do their job.)

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