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Mitochondria Are More Than The Cell's Powerhouse

Posted by Geoff Beaty on 1 October 2021
Mitochondria Are More Than The Cell's Powerhouse

Mitochondria are now recognised beyond their role as the cell’s “powerhouse”.

A systematic review on the mitochondria in psychological stress describes the mitochondria as subcellular organelles that sustain life through energy transformation and intracellular signalling, with research showing mitochondria changes directly impact systemic metabolic regulation, brain function, immunity, ageing and life-span.

Emerging research further supports the important role of the mitochondria in stress response, inflammation regulation, neurogenesis and cognition, amongst other roles.

The mitochondria’s role in regulating inflammatory and immune functions, as well as the crosstalk with the microbiota, further shows the systemic influence of the mitochondria, beyond energy production.

Increasing mitochondrial demands and toxin load caused by ‘metabolic burdens’, poor nutritional supply, lifestyle, environmental toxins and pathogens, leads to mitochondrial dysfunction.

The dysfunction is far-reaching, affecting multiple systems, and can be seen in a range of symptoms including poor exercise recovery, learning disorders, poor cognitive function, memory loss, muscle pain and poor muscle tone.

At Vitawell, we address mitochondrial dysfunction in the following way::

  • Reducing toxic and environmental burdens: This includes those caused by poor diet. Alcohol and smoking will also stress the mitochondria.
  • Exercise to make new mitochondria.
  • Sleep: Good quality sleep with enough hours is important. 
  • Diet: Eating fewer carbohydrates and increasing beneficial dietary fats along with intermittent fasting. Including DHA and phospholipids in the diet, such as egg yolks is important.
  • Specific Nutrients to consider are: 
    • Ubiquinol – the activated form of Co-Enzyme Q10.
    • Magnesium.
    • B-vitamins, especially B3 and B5.
    • Alpha-lipoic acid.
    • DHA and other omega fatty acids such as omega. 

References:

Psychological Stress and Mitochondria: A Systematic Review. B, Picard M and McEwen. 80, 2018, Psychosom Med, Vol. 2, pp. 141–153.
Mitochondria as central regulators of neural stem cell fate and cognitive function. al, Khacho M et. 2019, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Vol. 20, pp. 34-48.
The Rise of Mitochonidria in Medicine. Picard M, et al. s.l. : Elsevier, 2016, Vol. 30, pp. 105-116.
The Crosstalk between the Gut Microbiota and Mitochondria during Exercise. Clark, A and Mach, N. 2017, Frontiers in Physiology.

Author:Geoff Beaty
Tags:NewsPrevention & RecoveryEvidence Based ResearchCancerEnergy

Associations

  • The Institute for Functional Medicine
  • Society for Integrative Oncology
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Australasian Integrative Medicine Association
  • Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia