3 Ways To Boost Mitochondria (Why This Changes Everything)
Written by: Lilla Bessenyei
Every cell has its own organs, just like your beautiful body. It’s a miniature factory and your mitochondrion is one of the most important cell organelles. It is present in almost every cell in your body, except your mature red blood cells.
Mitochondria are important for energy production. They produce ATP (adenosin triphosphate) – which is the energy transporter molecule in your body on cellular level – from glucose and oxygen. ATP supplies the energy for your heart to beat, your neurons to work properly, your muscles to contract and for every single process in your body. Without ATP, you couldn’t survive for even 1 minute.
Although the mitochondrion is counted as a cell organ, it has very special qualities that others don’t. It has it’s own simple circular DNA and it can multiply independently; you get your mitochondria solely from your mother. Scientists relate more and more diseases to mitochondrial DNA mutations. Cell biologists think that the number and functionality of this little organelle may specifically determine a person’s life span.
Unfortunately, while producing ATP, the mitochondria also generate free radicals as a byproduct, which is considered the main cause of aging. Free radicals cause DNA and mitochondrial damage and therefore, cell death known as oxidative damage.
When scientist studied the muscle tissue from type 2 diabetes patients, they discovered that the number and the function of mitochondria was decreased. In addition, the muscle tissue from people with type 2 diabetes is often linked with reduced anaerobic capacity, insulin resistance and deficient mitochondrial biogenesis (this term simply means, the replication of mitochondria within a cell). Furthermore, studies have shown that defective mitochondrial biogenesis in the heart can increase the patients risk towards cardiovascular complications, heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
Healthy mitochondria are important for:
- Fat loss
- Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels
- Preventing heart disease
- Improving your physical performance and overall well-being
- Preventing all major neurodegenerative disease (like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, motoneuron disease and maybe even multiple sclerosis)
- For survival (kind of a big deal…)
So how can YOU boost your mitochondria and improve your health and ultimately, your life?
Your muscle cells contains the highest amount of mitochondria, especially your red muscle cells. These cells can contain up to 2,500 of this organelle to be able to produce enough energy for movement and exercise. The more of them you possess, the better your endurance and performance.
To increase your healthy mitochondria, you have to boost mitochondrial biogenesis. During physical activity, your muscle cells create a low-energy signal, known as AMP (adenosin monophosphate). The accumulation of this molecule over time signals for increased ATP production. Calcium levels also rise during periods of sustained muscle contraction. These two factors are intense signals for the production of more mitochondria, which happens in the resting state instantly following exercise.
When scientists started to research the relationship between mitochondria and exercise, the first thing they noticed was that aerobic exercise increases the number of mitochondria, although they didn’t pay attention to the intensity.
Later, they found out that the intensity plays a huge role in this topic.
Gary Dudley, from the State University of New York at Syracuse, researched this subject and his conclusion was, “to bring about the greatest adaptive response in mitochondria, the length of daily exercise becomes less as the intensity of the exercise is increased.”
A combination of both aerobic (endurance) exercise, or HIIT training and resistance (bodyweight exercise and weight training) exercise, showed a better result than endurance exercise alone.
Pqq (pyrroloquinoline quinone) is an antioxidant that is 5,000 times more powerful than vitamin C and stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis. The top sources of Pqq are: parsley, green tea, green pepper, kiwi, papaya, spinach, broad bean, carrot, potato, sweet potato, cabbage.
CoQ10 not only helps mitochondrias with energy production, it also protects them from free radicals, along with numerous other health benefits. Increasing your CoQ10 intake can slow down, or even reverse the aging process. It is a fat soluble nutrient, which can be found in: sesame seeds, pistachios, oranges, broccoli, cauliflower and strawberries. If you are opting to supplement with CoQ10, because it is fat soluble, be sure to take it with a healthy fat source, like avocado or coconut oil, for absorption
Lilla Bessenyei is a pharmacist and writer. It has been through her own experience that she realized that health and happiness start with what you put in your body and mind - including your thoughts. She is an avid researchers and has learned a lot about health and medicine. In her studies, she found that cultivating healthy emotions were just as important (if not more so) as a healthy diet. She is a fitness junkie, enjoys the numerous benefits of a vegan diet and enjoys helping people discover true health and happiness.
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