Energy + Your Mitochondria
Many diseases are related to the health of your mitochondria - so whether you have a mitochondrial disorder or not, you should care about keeping your mitochondria healthy, happy, and working!
Often times illness is a result of broken biochemistry from depleting our bodies, which we can impact in a positive way with healthy lifestyle choices. Mitochondrial issues are relatively new to being studied so we’re still learning a lot. And everyone is their own unique snowflake - so what works for one may or may not work for another.
After over a decade and many good doctors, I have been led down a path of personal discovery. I don’t have the answer - but I’m hoping this experiment will yield helpful info/results. Below is additional information on your mitochondria and how they work.
Chronic diseases are often manageable or preventable with simple lifestyle changes.
Are you declaring energy bankruptcy?
Everything we do either adds to or takes away from our energy bank account. Good night of sleep = energy deposit. Stressful day at work = energy withdrawal. No matter good you are at managing your 401K - you probably didn’t learn a lot about how to manage your energy bank account. Hopefully you can make a change before your energy bank account has to declare bankruptcy.
Where does disease come from?
The simple answer: your cells.
Mitochondrial dysfunction is at the core of a surprising range of very common illnesses and conditions, and represents a promising new avenue for their treatment. As the mitochondria are responsible for producing energy, any illness that has an energy problem could be related to the mitochondria.
According to Dr. Richard Boles, Director of the Metabolic and Mitochondrial Disorders Clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles:
“Mitochondrial dysfunction doesn’t really cause anything, what it does is predisposes towards seemingly everything. It’s one of many risk factors in multifactorial disease. It can predispose towards epilepsy, chronic fatigue, and even autism, but it doesn’t do it alone. It does it in combination with other factors, which is why in a family with a single mutation going through the family, everyone in the family is affected in a different way.” (source: Hormones Matter)
What are mitochondria?
Mitochondria combine oxygen from the air we breathe with calories from food to produce energy. Mitochondria are often called the ‘cell’s powerhouse.’ and are responsible for producing 90% of the energy needed by our body to sustain life.
Mitochondria are small organelles within the cell responsible for energy production and other critical functions.
This “power” is produced through a series of chemical reactions taking place in five different physical structures. They work together like an assembly line. If a problem exists in one “complex,” it can harm production down the line in another, ultimately resulting in too little “energy” being produced. Like an actual power plant, the process of producing usable energy also produces chemical byproducts that can be toxic.
Our bodies clean these byproducts through, among other things, “anti-oxidants.” However, sometimes a person with a mitochondrial disease produces too many toxic byproducts for the anti-oxidants to work, leading to a build-up of toxins. The nature of these diseases is that they often cause damage over time — again, like pollution from a factory.
Mitochondrial disorder overview
Mitochondrial disorders can manifest in many different ways and vary in terms of intensity depending on the specific person and which organs are affected. When a large enough number of cells in one organ are damaged, symptoms become noticeable.
A "red flag" for mitochondrial disease is when a child or adult has more than three organ systems with problems or when a "typical" disease exhibits atypical qualities.
Mitoland: A guide to mitochondrial disease for patients
From the Cleveland Clinic by Sumit Parikh, MD and Bruce Cohen, MD
Editor’s note: This post is part of The Energy Experiment - it is based on personal experience and shouldn’t be taken as professional or medical advice. Talk to your doctor before starting or stopping any medication or dietary changes. One of the deeper reasons I am doing this experiment is that I have been affected with a mitochondrial disorder and I wanted to see what if any effects the ketogenic diet would have on my symptoms.
(1) Ward BW, Schiller JS, Goodman RA. Multiple chronic conditions among US adults: a 2012 update. Prev Chronic Dis. 2014;11:130389. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd11.130389.