What is mitochodria?
Often called the “cellular powerhouse”, mitochondria are cellular organelles responsible for most of the energy production we need to live. They play a fundamental role in health. Interestingly mitochondria are unique because they have their own DNA, known as mtDNA. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited through the mother, unlike nuclear DNA, which contains your genetic information that you have inherited from both parents.
The function of these cellular structures goes far beyond just energy production
In recent research, mitochondria have been identified as significant in the longevity process, and their dysfunction as an important hallmark of aging.
Age or unhealthy lifestyle negatively affect the vital mitochondrial function. This is marked by altered mitochondrial respiration, decreased energy production, as well as changes in metabolites affecting the entire cellular homeostasis.
Mitochondrial form is also a factor for health and aging. Mitochondria are constantly dynamically rearranging and degrading via the processes of fission, fusion and mitophagy. Through your own cell quality control mechanisms, dysfunctional mitochondria are discarded while new mitochondria are created by a process called biogenesis, where new healthy mitochondria are regenerated by our cells and then fused with existing healthy ones.
Aging and age-related diseases are often accompanied by a lack of mitochondrial fusion, which leads to fragmented mitochondria and altered mitochondrial dynamics. This has been linked to decrease in lifespan and to several chronic conditions, including sarcopenia and cognitive decline (characterized by reduced mitochondrial mass and function as these tissues – muscle and brain, are particularly rich in mitochondria engines).
Breathing practices are known to slow your heart and breathing rates, lower blood pressure, increase oxygen delivery to the blood and cells, promote digestion and eliminate fat as well as other toxins. Science shows that breathing practices ameliorate immunity, as well as relieving stress-related mental and physical disorders including high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia, …
What’s the best way to keep your mitochondria healthy for optimal energy?
There are many different components to support mitochondria health and regenerate compromised mitochondrial function.
Environmental factors, especially an accumulation of pollutants, poor sleep, chronic stress, hyperglycaemia, oxidative stress or heavy metals toxicity, lead to a loss of mitochondrial function. Lifestyle is a first key for preserving your cellular health: regular exercise, intermittent fasting, caloric restriction, reduced exposure to environmental toxins, food and supplements, …
A well-balanced diet is the foundation to ensure you have adequate levels of the substrates, antioxidants, and coenzymes necessary for optimized mitochondria health and functions. Numerous nutrients have been identified as crucial. At the top of the list of macronutrients: the branched-chain amino acids and the omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Among micronutrients: vitamin D, zinc, and selenium, which all have antioxidant properties, are essential (it appears that their levels are inadequate or deficient in a large proportion of adults).
Additional nutrition support to promote and preserve mitochondrial health can be delivered in a strategic nutraceutical format with the use of key elements such B vitamins, CoQ10, glutathione, curcumin, alpha-lipoic acid, and vitamin C. They help to maintain mitochondrial integrity and its biological performance in a more holistic approach.