Heard the term but don’t know anything about it? Never heard it before? Either way, here’s a Q&A that provides some important information — especially if you feel tired all the time.
Q. What are mitochondria?
A. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of your cells. They’re responsible for generating energy as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and heat.
Q. Do all cells contain mitochondria?
A. Yes. They’re found in every human cell except mature erythrocytes — and the largest number are in the most metabolically active cells, such as skeletal and cardiac muscle and the liver and brain.
Q. Why are mitochondria so important?
A. They produce more than 90% of cellular energy by ox-phos.
Q. What causes mitochondria to become damaged?
A. Damage to mitochondria is caused primarily by reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by the mitochondria themselves.
Q. What is the result of that damage?
A. Free radical damage to mitochondrial proteins decreases their affinity for substrates and coenzymes, thereby decreasing their function. Once mitochondria are damaged, mitochondrial function is reduced, producing more free radicals — which cause additional mitochondrial damage.
Q. Why is diet so important in maintaining optimal mitochondria function?
A. Vitamins, minerals, and other metabolites act as necessary cofactors for the synthesis and functional of mitochondrial enzymes and other compounds that support mitochondrial function — so diets deficient in micronutrients can accelerate mitochondrial decay and contribute to neurodegeneration.
Q. What medical conditions have been related to dysfunction of the mitochondria?
A. A wide range of seemingly unrelated disorders have underlying pathophysiological mechanisms in common, namely ROS production — the accumulation of mitochondrial DNA damage — resulting in mitochondrial dysfunction. These include schizophrenia, bipolar disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, migraine headaches, strokes, neuropathic pain, Parkinson’s disease, coronary artery disease, diabetes, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and more.
Interested in learning if you have mitochondrial dysfunction? Urinary organic acid testing is the best way to do so. Wondering if you have adequate nutrients in your body? Consider an intracellular nutritional analysis by SpectraCell.