The Powerhouse of the Body – Mitochondria

The power of your mitochondria plays an important role in your body. You have memorized what a mitochondrion is, but do you know about the power of your mitochondria? Has anyone ever asked you, “How are you taking care of your mitochondria?” 
 
You may remember from high school biology that all human cells have a nucleus. And nucleus contains our genetic blueprint (DNA). But do you remember much about mitochondria? 
 
We can say that Humans generate and use electricity. These so-called power stations of the cell convert nutrients into energy. They are the foundational generators that provide every living cell, and ourselves. It is the energy we need to move, adapt and evolve. 
 
Chemical energy produced by the mitochondria is stored in a small molecule. These are called adenosine triphosphate
(ATP). Mitochondria contain their small chromosomes. Generally, mitochondria, and thus mitochondrial DNA, are inherited only from the mother.
 
Where did the mitochondria derive from? One theory behind where this small but mighty organelle came from was no further than the bacteria in our environment [1]
 
Unlike the microbes that thrive in our gut, scientists believe that we evolved a close companionship with bacteria. This bacteria could tap into a far more efficient energy production model than our far-off microscopic ancestors.
 
 
 

Facts and Functions of Mitochondria

Fun fact: 

Mitochondria is the only other organelle in the cell (outside the nucleus) to contain a copy of your genetic code. 

Scientists have been inspired to improve their knowledge about mitochondria. They have also studied its function outside the energy production using that knowledge. It turns out that mitochondria are multifunctioning organelle. 

Functions:

  • ​​Play a vital role in the aging process, and most age-related diseases
  • Are vital to cell health, including by regulating how nutrients get into individual cells
  • Help maintain the integrity of a cell – The energy it produces is used for growth and cell functions but is also targeted to help heal and recycle other outdated parts.
  • They help in the immune function – help activate various antiviral and anti-inflammatory pathways to help fight pathogens.
  • Regulating cell death – is an essential system designed to help destroy infected or damaged cells.

Clearly, without a healthy set of mitochondria, your ability to lead a healthy life can be significantly reduced. It is why establishing a healthy, resilient line of mitochondria is so important to optimize your wellbeing. Here are a few tips you can take away to improve the power of your mitochondria [2]

1. Get active

Fun fact, you can increase the number of mitochondria within you simply through regular exercise. When your body notices a new routine in your fitness, it works to generate more energy and helps your body to adapt to changes in stress and the environment. Abundance in the power of your mitochondria means more stamina and the more remarkable ability to allocate resources to healing after a heavy workout. 

2. Eat the right foods

Your diet is so crucial to mitochondrial health. The key is to eat enough nutrient-rich foods. Think about it this way; you’re gathering and improving natural resources used to create energy. It provides access to antioxidants that help neutralize the toxic by-products associated with normal energy production. 

3. Decrease inflammation

Inflammation can have a very destructive effect on your mitochondria. Inflammation issues may stem from gut dysbiosis that can promote an inflamed state within your body. Changing your diet can help balance your gut and adjust the inflammatory levels inside you [2]
 
Scientists found out that the mitochondria change their role during the inflammatory state. Enzymes change as the production of reactive oxygen species increases. In return, this damages the cell structures.

4. Focus on Quality Sleep

The mitochondria are such incredible organelles. They are essential in establishing healthy sleep habits. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep and learn more about practicing good sleep hygiene. ​​
 
Less than seven hours of sleep a night can reduce so-called mitochondrial DNA copies in the participants’ blood cells. Mitochondria are like the power source of a blood cell. Cells function much better when more mitochondrial DNA copies are available [3].
 
A new study based on 30 pairs of twins suggests that less than seven hours of sleep is bad for our health and leads to poor cell function.
 
 

Viome Results on Mitochondrial Health 

In May of 2021, I was able to analyze my gut and cellular health to see what is my mitochondria health. My score was 50/100. 

Reference ranges: 

  • Not Optimal
    • 0 to 40 which represents 19.0% of the Viome population
  • Average
    • 41 to 65, which means 79.0% of the Viome population
  • Good
    • 66 to 100 which represents 2.0% of the Viome population

How are the scores calculated? 

Mitochondrial Biogenesis Pathways – Mitochondrial Biogenesis Pathways score assesses the activity levels of molecular pathways needed to biologically generate and maintain the cellular functions of your mitochondria to meet your body’s energy and metabolic demands. 

It includes PGC1-alpha signaling – known as the master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis.

If the score is not optima, it implies insufficient activity in the mitochondria support functions. It could be due to excessive oxidative stress or a deficiency in specific nutrients. This deficiency serves as cofactors needed for the mitochondria biogenesis pathways. 

Energy Production Pathways – Energy Production Pathways score evaluates the efficiency of your cell’s ability to convert carbohydrates (glucose) into energy molecules that fuel our cells (otherwise known as ATP). 

If the score is low, your mitochondrial metabolic activity is sluggish. It could use a little boost from the molecular targets and vitamins. It can also come from a cofactor or coenzyme supplements like:

  • CoQ1, 
  • NAD+ precursors
  • L-Carnitine
  • Various activators of AMPK (an activator of metabolic pathways, which stimulates mitochondrial ATP production).

My Personalized Supplements to Support Mitochondrial Health 

Ashwagandha Root & Leaf Extract (263 mg/day) – these extracts can be seen in-vitro to enhance cellular energy production. It is done by increasing Succinate Dehydrogenase (SDH) levels. These levels are essential enzyme in mitochondrial energy production.
 
Curcumin (550 mg/day) – increases the translocation of Nrf2 to the cell nucleus. This enhances mitochondrial biogenesis and health via PGC-1α and p-AMPK pathways.
 
Magnesium (604 mg/day) – Magnesium is essential for all ATPase activity. It is a class of enzymes that catalyze the phosphate bond in ATP. This results in a release of energy used for other cellular reactions. It includes the movement of calcium across and within the cell membrane of cardiac and vascular tissues.
 
L-Theanine (140 mg/day) – includes neurological and cardiovascular protective effects. Through enhanced cellular antioxidant activity and mitochondrial function, these effects are mediated.
 
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) (35 mg/day) – In the body, B3 is converted into (NAD). NAD is a coenzyme found in glycolysis. It is also located in the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. The citric acid or TCA cycle is seen in energy production pathways. 
 
The TCA cycle is also known as Krebs cycle. It produces Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), which provides energy to cells. 
 
NAD also exhibited antioxidant activity and increased NAD biosynthesis. It offers protection against DNA damage during oxidative stress.
 
 

To watch the full Episode 84, check out our video below! Let’s all learn about mitochondria here 👇

TIME STAMPS:

0:00 Introduction
0:49 Cup of Nurses Introduction
2:42 Episode Introduction
2:55 The Powerhouse of the Body – Mitochondria
9:21 What are the functions of the Mitochondria?
11:58 Improve Your Mitochondria: Get Active
14:55 Improve Your Mitochondria: Eat the right foods
15:43 Improve Your Mitochondria: Decrease Inflammation
17:18 Improve Your Mitochondria: Focus on Quality Sleep
20:57 Viome Results on Mitochondrial Health
22:58 How Viome Scores are Calculated
29:20 Personalized Supplements to Support Mitochondrial Health
29:34 Supplement: Ashwagandha Root & Leaf Extract
29:47 Supplement: Curcumin
30:12 Supplement: Magnesium
31:14 Supplement: L-Theanine
33:48 Supplement: Vitamin B3

 

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