ESSENTIAL CONNECTING LIFE ENERGY
Mitochondria are tiny cells within our body cells that are responsible for producing the energy we need to stay alive. There are 100’s to 1000’s of mitochondria in every single cell in your body. Heart, nerves and muscles contain the most. The role of your mitochondria is to take the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat and process it to make energy. The energy the body can use is called ATP and it is within the mitochondria that the latent energy within the digested food, is liberated in the form of ATP. Without ATP, we would die.
When cells become stressed or exposed to toxins, pain and even natural ageing, the ability of the mitochondria to generate ATP begins to diminish and we experience muscle weakness, pain and fatigue. The more damaged the mitochondria become, the more exhausted we become. Certain medications may also diminish the efficacy of the mitochondria.
Damage to mitochondria
Mitochondria are very sensitive to damage and the greatest damage comes in the form of free radicals.
When we eat, our digested food (within the mitochondria) reacts with oxygen and is burned, releasing the latent energy but also releasing free radicals. Certain foods protect us from free radicals, and certain foods, such as empty calories, produce more free radicals. A poor diet will exacerbate and hasten mitochondrial damage, while a diet rich in anti- oxidants, as well as specific mitochondrial friendly nutrients, will protect and even repair mitochondrial damage.
It is a natural process of metabolism that our cells are exposed to free radicals but it is within our power to minimize and slow the damage, which will keep us disease free as well as slow the ageing process.
Too many empty calories, smoking, alcohol, stress, a poor diet, not enough of the right nutrients, as well as factors such as our inherited ability to detox, all play a part in accelerating mitochondrial weakening.
While our body has its own clever compensation mechanisms to assist us to manage the damage, too much will overwhelm our cells and they will be unable to recover. Our lifestyle choices can accelerate or slow this process.
How to protect your mitochondria.
• Avoid junk food, sugar and empty calories.
• Eat a rainbow of colourful fruits and vegetables
• Detoxify—get rid of environmental and internal toxins.
• Keep your body cool. Stay away from agents that increase inflammation
• Support your hormones.
• Manage stress
• Gentle refreshing exercise.
Here are tricks to boost and protect your mitochondria:
• Exercise. Avoid high demand exercise. Athletes require special mitochondrial support. Alternate between interval training, which increases the efficiency and function of the mitochondria and strength training which increases the density of muscle and number of mitochondria.
• Eat whole, colourful plant food— at least 10 servings of fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains every day. They are full of antioxidants and phytonutrients. Raw cocoa is also very high in anti-oxidants.
• Take mitochondrial protective nutrients daily. Alpha lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, and Acetyl-L-Carnitine. Engage the assistance of a Functional Medicine practitioner or Nutritionist if you are struggling with fatigue and need more specialized assistance.
• Increase omega-3 fats to help build your mitochondrial membranes.
• Certain medications, in particular statin drugs, anti -depressants and some anti -diabetic drugs, damage mitochondria and require special supplementation if you are taking these medications
Mitochondrial health is the cornerstone of longevity and vitality