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Mitochondria are tiny organelles within a cell whose primary job is to produce energy in the form of ATP. In fact, mitochondria are often called “the powerhouse” of the cell as they produce almost 90% of the energy the body requires to function.
Mitochondria aid in the body’s energy production by processing oxygen and converting food into usable energy. Such processes result in byproducts like free radicals and an excess of these pollutants can lead to oxidative stress, inflammation, and mitochondrial dysfunction, all of which are the foundation for aging and disease.
Thus, in order to avoid the above-listed symptoms as well as promote healthy energy levels, it is important to know how to regularly support your mitochondria:
Antioxidants provide numerous health benefits as they combat inflammation, oxidative stress, and free radical damage. In other words, they help eliminate the bodily pollutants that can hinder mitochondrial function.
To obtain antioxidants through food, incorporate berries, colorful vegetables, and spices into your diet.
If you are considering supplementation, alpha lipoic acid and Coenzyme Q10 are two excellent supporters of mitochondrial health. These antioxidants assist in mitochondrial biogenesis, which is the renewal process of mitochondria as it increases the number of mitochondrial cells.
The more mitochondria in your body, the less overworked individual cells are, which supports optimal function and energy levels.
Mitochondrial function may be compromised from environmental factors such as pollution and chemicals that cause oxidative stress and cellular damage. When prioritizing your mitochondrial health, or if you already suffer from mitochondrial dysfunction, it can help to make sure your home and household products are not packed with chemicals.
Please note stress, alcohol, smoking, and inflammatory foods can all cause oxidative stress damage over long-term exposure.
Vitamin C, vitamin E, B vitamins, iron, and selenium are essential vitamins and minerals for not just mitochondrial health but overall wellness. These all play a role in fighting free radical damage, inflammation, and keeping cells oxygenated.
Additionally, magnesium is vital for energy production. Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical actions throughout the body, including assisting mitochondria in the conversion of food to energy. However, as the body uses magnesium in so many bodily processes, levels of this essential mineral can quickly deplete. Sadly, because of multiple factors, magnesium deficiency is a common problem with reports estimating that nearly half of all Americans do not get enough daily.
Oftentimes, diet is the best place to start when addressing a health concern. Food fuels and helps heal your body. When it comes to foods that support mitochondrial health specifically, focus on protein and healthy fats.
Protein helps with waste cleanup, cellular production, and routine maintenance all of which help boost mitochondrial health. Likewise, healthy fats such as omega-3s improve mitochondrial function by boosting respiratory enzymes.
Sources of healthy fats include: wild-caught salmon, halibut, sardines, and anchovies.
Sources of protein include: dark, leafy grees, grass-fed beef, nuts, and wild-caught fish.
As oxidative stress and free radicals are some of the main concerns when it comes to mitochondrial health, incorporating regular detox practices can be beneficial.
Mitochondria are particularly sensitive to toxins so while limiting exposure is necessary, toxin exposure to some degree is inevitable in the modern world, meaning detox practices are equally valuable.
Getting at least eight hours of sleep every night helps protect the brain, aids in recovery, and supports healing processes that promote overall wellness.
A lack of quality sleep allows for waste to accumulate and it can harm the neurons in mitochondria. Moreover, research suggests a link between your circadian rhythm and the function of mitochondria. If your circadian rhythm is disrupted, this can lead to a decline in cellular energy.
Heat therapy, such as saunas, has been shown to increase the efficiency of mitochondria. Specifically, studies show this leads to the energy needs of mitochondrial cells increasing, which results in more efficient use of oxygen in the blood (a process called oxidative phosphorylation). Experts recommend aiming for two to three sauna sessions a week that last 10-15 minutes.
Supporting your mitochondrial health can improve your overall sense of wellness in the long run. If you feel like your energy levels are low and mitochondria are not functioning properly but are not getting the help you need, contact Holtorf Medical Group today.
Holtorf Medical GroupThe Holtorf Medical Group specializes in optimizing quality of life and being medical detectives to uncover the underlying cause of symptoms, rather than just prescribing medications to cover-up the symptoms. We are experts in natural, prescription bioidentical hormone replacement and optimization, complex endocrine dysfunction, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and Lyme disease. We’ve dedicated our practice to providing you the best in evidenced-based, integrative medicine that’s not only safe and effective, but provides measurable results.
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