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How to Improve Your Mitochondria for Better Health and Energy

09 February 2023
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What is mitochondria?

 

We have been taught that the mitochondria are only the powerhouse of the cells in our body and that they are responsible for energy production (through producing ATP) but we are now learning that they are so much more than that!

 

ATP is the fuel that powers cellular and metabolic processes.

 

Mitochondria are dualistic in their primary roles.  Not only are they responsible for energy being created in the cell but also for cell defence.

 

This discovery has been greatly spoken about by Dr Naviaux, M.D., PhD.  He recently said:

 

“Mitochondria lie at the hub of the wheel of metabolism, coordinating over 500 different chemical reactions as they monitor and regulate the chemical milieu of the cell. It turns out that when mitochondria detect “danger” to the cell, they shift first into a stress mode, then fight mode that takes most of the energy-producing metabolic functions of mitochondria offline… Energy production and cellular defence are two sides of the same coin… Mitochondria cannot perform both energy and defence functions at 100% capacity at the same time”

 

NOTE: as we learn more about this important topic, we will update this blog or write other blogs about mitochondria and link them in the footer.

 

Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Chronic Illness

The most common finding in chronic illness are often associated with a decrease in mitochondrial function - ATP* (energy production). 

*Adenosine triphosphate is essentially your body's molecule of energy that feeds every cellular function in your body. Without ATP, you'd be dead and with less ATP being produced, you cannot feel optimal, you cannot feel fully well. Some people have such bad function that they are bed-ridden and may not even be able to work.

So you can see how important it is to look after your mitochondria hey?

 

Organ Meats for Mitochondrial Health/ATP production

Why is liver in particular powerful for mitochondrial health?

Liver contains much of what mitochondria needs to function well - B vitamins, CoQ10 (enzyme), L-carnitine, vitamin E (a-tocopherol), taurine, lipoic acid and selenium.

This makes liver a SUPER food for the mitochondria! 

Think of it like this, the mitochondria are the little factories and the ATP is the end product that the factory makes, but to make this end product, the factory needs electricity or it cannot produce.

The electricity is the nutrition! 

Feed your body the right nutrition is one of the keys to keeping the little factories in your body (the mitochondria) lit up with the power they need to make the power that powers you!

So needless to say, adding liver (home cooked or in a supplement form) to your life will help you to improve your energy levels and overall feeling of wellbeing.

 

How to Improve Your Mitochondrial Health

  • Regulate your circadian rhythm and sleep
  • Lose body fat and gain muscle
  • Improve your gut & microbiome health
  • Regulate your blood sugar
  • Work on your nutrition
  • Clear toxicities in your diet, lifestyle & environment
  • Improve neurotransmitter & hormone imbalance

 

Regulate your circadian rhythm and sleep ⬇️

  • Get early/late sun into your eyes each day
  • Go to bed before 10pm each night and wake up with the sun each day
  • Reduce blue light exposure/wear blue light blocking glasses
  • Move your body regularly
  • Eat a nourishing diet free from processed carbs and limit or cut out alcohol and sugar (limit fruit to the morning)
  • If you have hormonal imbalances work with a professional to correct them

 

Improve Your Gut & Microbiome Health ⬇️

  • Cut out sugar, alcohol, processed carbs, vegetable oils, junk food, additives & preservatives
  • Cut out smoking ANYTHING (including vaping)
  • Eat a balanced diet with plenty of variety and some resistant starch/prebiotic fibre* (organic where possible to avoid gut-destroying pesticides etc.)
  • Take the appropriate probiotic for you
  • Avoid tap water (buy a quality filter that takes out fluoride and chlorine)
  • Reduce your stress
  • Take a high-quality collagen supplement (can help to repair the gut lining)
  • Reduce the toxic load on your gut and system by adopting a low-tox lifestyle
  • Avoid medications where possible (many if not most medications affect the gut microbiome). This is not health advice, if you are taking certain medications prescribed by your physician, please don't stop. This is only information to create awareness on the effects of drugs on the gut.

*Prebiotic fibre helps to feed and nourish the gut microbiome and a healthy gut microbiome leads to better intestinal lining (no leaky gut). Leaky gut is very bad for mitochondrial health so improve your gut lining. 

 

Lose body fat & gain muscle ⬇️

  • Move your body daily in a way that doesn’t add stress
  • Lift weights or do biometric exercises (big weights with less reps builds bulk, choose lower weight and higher reps for lean muscle)
  • Short bursts of high intensity workouts are good
  • Do not over train and always know your limits
  • Try low carb way of eating and intermittent fasting
  • Do yin yoga and breath work to calm your nervous system (this can have a profound effect on fat loss efforts)

 

Regulate Blood Sugar ⬇️

  • Exercise on the regular!
  • Manage stress (stress is destructive to all aspects of health as you know, including blood sugar as stress spikes blood sugar and therefore insulin release)
  • Stop snacking! Period. Snacking raises insulin and causes insulin resistance
  • Try a ketogenic diet or 👇🏼
  • Eat fewer carbohydrates and more fats, proteins and non-starchy veggies
  • Increase fibre if you don't eat much (green resistant starch from bananas, baobab fruit powder, artichokes, asparagus, onions)
  • Practice portion control (eat until 80% full and eat slowly and mindfully avoiding distractions while you eat)
  • Go for low GI (glycemic index) foods for better blood sugar balance
  • Cut out sugar and minimise fruit and fruit juices or any sugary drinks (drink more filtered water instead)
  • Minimise or cut out alcohol (this is across all areas of health)
  • Maintain a healthy weight for better blood sugar balance - if you are struggling here please go gentle with yourself, remember that health is a journey rather than a destination (weight training can help both sexes here)
  • Get a glucometer to measure/monitor your blood glucose levels
  • Get enough quality sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, please reevaluate your sleep hygiene practices. A good magnesium supplement and a scoop of collagen before bed can be very helpful here. See your health physician of you are struggling here. 
  • Eat more healthy fats such as:
  1. Full-fat yoghurt
  2. Coconuts and coconut oil
  3. Extra virgin olive oil (unrefined and organic if possible)
  4. Chia seeds (contain oxalates for those who are sensitive)
  5. Nuts (make sure to activate them and buy organic where possible)
  6. Fatty fish (wild caught ocean, not farmed)
  7. Whole eggs (organic)
  8. Cheese
  9. Avocados

 

Clean up Your Toxicities & Your Environment ⬇️

  • Clean up your diet (go organic) 
  • Clean up your cleaning products (go natural & eco)
  • Clean up your makeup and personal care products (go low toxin or toxin-free)
  • Avoid perfume & fragrances (use essential oils instead)
  • Avoid cigarette (or any) smoke and do not inhale the petrol when you’re fuelling up
  • Stop touching receipts! They contain hormone-destroying chemicals
  • Use plain soap instead of hand sanitiser
  • Reduce your alcohol intake 
  • Avoid cigarettes, smoking pot or vaping
  • Reduce the use of all drugs where possible

 

Balance Neurotransmitters & Hormones ⬇️

  • Maintain a healthy diet that provides you with important nutrients to help your neurotransmitters (amino acids, choline, vitamin C, B-vitamins, large amino acids (i.e., valine, leucine, isoleucine, phenylalanine), zinc, iron, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D
  • Get 30 minutes of exercise in each day (a brush walk can be wonderful)
  • Meditate
  • Time in nature
  • Supplement where necessary (B vitamins/methylated B's for some, vitamin D & K, choline, zinc etc.)
  • Practice gratitude
  • Understand your brain type
  • Get checked out by a professional

Take Resveratrol

Resveratrol is known for its antioxidant benefits and for positive effects on the lungs, brain, heart and metabolism but did you know that the main reason for this is because of its powerful effect on mitochondrial function?

It's true and it is backed by science. Please see the first 3 references below.

Oh and if you're looking for a high-quality no BS resveratrol supplement, look no further than the Perfect ResGrape or ResGrape Max (max is double the trans-resveratrol) and quality matters! Sure, you can buy a cheaper (inferior) brand of resveratrol but it will most likely be cis-resveratrol and it may contain emodin which upsets the stomach.

 

References:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28093354/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21688389/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28505227/

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-reset-circadian-rhythm/

https://daveasprey.com/gut-microbiome-heal/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/body-recomposition

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/15-ways-to-lower-blood-sugar#11.-Consider-adding-specific-foods-to-your-diet

https://www.lowtoxlife.com/5-steps-to-low-tox-living/

https://www.anxietynutritioninstitute.com/balancingneurotransmitters

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261561418324269

 

Disclaimer: the information in this article is intended purely as information and not health advice. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure and one should always seek expert advice from their trusted health practitioner. 

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