What Are Mitochondria?
First, let’s review what mitochondria are and why they are so important. Mitochondria are small organelles found inside each cell. They produce energy by breaking down food molecules such as glucose. This energy is then used to supply energy to other parts of the cell, such as DNA replication, protein synthesis, and other metabolic processes. Without mitochondria, our cells would not be able to function properly and we would not be able to survive.
How Does The Supply Of Mitochondria Affect Our Health?
The number of mitochondria inside our cells varies from person to person. Some people may have more or fewer than others depending on their genetics and lifestyle choices. Having too few or too many mitochondria can cause a variety of health problems including fatigue, poor muscle strength, organ dysfunction, and even some types of cancer. Therefore, it is important to have an adequate supply of mitochondria in order to maintain good health.
How Can We Increase The Supply Of Mitochondria In Our Cells?
Having an adequate supply of mitochondria is essential for good health because they provide us with much-needed energy for our cells' metabolic processes. Fortunately, there are several things we can do to ensure that our bodies have enough of these tiny powerhouses. Below are tips on how to make sure your little energy factories are functioning optimally.
Get a good night's sleep
A good night's rest can help improve mitochondrial function. Not only has research found a link between mitochondrial function and circadian rhythms, but also that our bodies excrete "neutral waste" (the by-product of thinking) during sleep, which can have a negative impact on our neuronal mitochondria.
Here's how to make sure you get enough rest:
Maintain a strict sleep-wake rhythm (go to bed and wake up at the same time every day); and
Refrain from screen time at least one hour before bedtime.
Eat quality food
The foods we eat every day can either boost or inhibit our mitochondrial function. The first step to improving mitochondrial function through diet is to avoid excessive and refined carbohydrates such as soda and white bread. Eating these foods can, surprisingly, change both the shape and function of mitochondria in brain cells. It can also alter hormone production.
Instead of refined carbohydrates, it is important to consume high-quality protein sources such as grass-fed meats, nuts, seeds, beans, and pasture-raised eggs. These foods contain nutrients such as creatine and L-carnitine, which are crucial for providing energy to your mitochondria.
Also look for foods rich in antioxidants (grapes, dark chocolate, and pistachios) and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids and alpha lipoic acid (wild salmon, halibut, sardines, spinach, broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, etc.).
Foods that promote inflammation should be omitted.
Control calorie intake
Overeating can not only lead to obesity but also cause an increase in systemic inflammation. This inflammation can eventually lead to oxidative stress, which in turn can cause harmful changes to our mitochondria. Reducing calorie intake, on the other hand, lowers the production of harmful free radicals in our bodies and can improve mitochondrial function.
To control calorie intake, determine your personal calorie needs and stick to a schedule of three (3) to four (4) meals per day. Intermittent fasting - eating all meals within an eight (8) to ten (10) hour window - can also help control calorie intake. Intermittent fasting can also help improve mitochondrial function, as the body can eliminate damaged mitochondria and build new ones during the fasting phase.
Thirty (30) minutes of physical activity per day is an excellent way to improve mitochondrial function. As the body uses energy and increases oxygen intake during exercise, it is simultaneously forced to produce more mitochondria.
Stress hormones not only have a negative effect on nervous, hormonal, and immune function, but also on mitochondrial function. Using relaxation techniques such as meditation, massage or gentle stretching can help relieve mental stress.
Use a sauna
A form of heat therapy, saunas have been shown to increase the energy requirements of mitochondria, thereby increasing their efficiency. Two (2) to three (3) sauna sessions per week for 15 minutes are recommended for optimal mitochondrial function.
We hope this blog post has given you some insights into what these amazing organelles are and how you can use them to your advantage. Remember, when it comes to mitochondrial function, more isn’t always better. Sometimes less is actually more. Be sure to listen to your body and find what works best for you. Thanks for reading! :)