Mitochondria are tiny structures located within nearly all cells of the body. They are the parts of the cell that are primarily responsible for creating energy. They do this by generating adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the essential “fuel” that drives all of the body’s functions. For this reason, mitochondria are often described as the “powerhouse” of the cell. Several thousand mitochondria are in nearly every cell in the body. Their job is to process oxygen and convert substances from the foods we eat into energy. Mitochondria produce 90% of the energy our body needs to function.
Cells of the brain and muscle are among those that require a lot of energy, so they have a particularly high density of mitochondria to support their energy needs. When mitochondria aren’t working well, these are often the parts of the body to show signs of poor function. When mitochondria are not functioning well, a wide variety of symptoms can emerge, including:
- Developmental delay or regression
- Language impairment
- Social impairment
- Intellectual disability
- Neuropsychiatric symptoms (ADHD, anxiety, OCD, depression)
- Hearing impairment
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Endocrine disturbance, etc.
What is Mitochondrial Dysfunction?
Mitochondrial dysfunction occurs when the mitochondria don’t work as well as they should due to another disease or condition. The mitochondria in the cells throughout our bodies are responsible for creating 90% of the energy needed to sustain life and support organ function. When mitochondria malfunction, organs start to fail – people get sick and even die. Many conditions can lead to secondary mitochondrial dysfunction and affect other diseases. More and more research now suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction may be important in many different health conditions:
- Bipolar disorder
- Parkinson’s disease
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Alzheimer’s disease
- A variety of gastrointestinal disorders, etc.
Mitochondrial dysfunction is the root cause of many diseases that are bewildering in their variety and complexity. They include rare genetic disorders in children, some forms of heart disease, and most likely many cases of Parkinson’s disease. Research on mitochondria started already in the late 19th century, but there are still many unsolved issues concerning their composition, their function, and their relevance to health and disease.
What you can do?
Physicians may recommend several steps for supporting mitochondrial function. These include:
- Limiting periods of fasting, increasing meal frequency, and improving hydration
- Avoiding mitochondrial toxins (e.g., Valproic acid, certain cholesterol-lowering medications, aminoglycoside antibiotics, acetaminophen, metformin, beta-blockers, etc.)
- Avoiding physiologic stressors when possible (e.g., illness, dehydration, fever, temperature extremes, surgery, anesthesia, prolonged fasting or starvation) especially in combination
- Providing supportive care during conditions of physiologic stress (e.g., hydration, nutrition, L-carnitine, CoQ10, Vitamin C & E, L-arginine)
- Consistent, moderate exercise
Regency Healthcare is equipped with highly sophisticated facilities and technology to deal with the diseases above mentioned. Visit today or book an appointment.