Whether it’s for sports performance or for daily life activities, energy is needed for the body to perform tasks. However, what if it just wasn’t as simple as consuming the carbohydrates, proteins and fats to give us the support and energy output that we desire?
Maybe you’ve experienced a time in your life where you felt like your energy levels were just not up to par? Or possibly you, or a loved one, have experience with one or more of these symptoms:
Unfortunately, the list of mitochondrial dysfunctions is long and growing.
So, where’s the connection between energy and mitochondrial dysfunction? Let’s first take a step back and discuss what mitochondria are.
Mitochondria consist of small subunits located in every cell in the human body, except mature red blood cells. It takes about 3,000 genes to make a mitochondrion (i.e. one mitochondria), of which only 1,000 of the 3,000 genes are designed to make energy, known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate). From the outer layer of our skin to the deep organs, muscles and bones, mitochondria allows the body to function by providing energy to the body. The main role of mitochondria is to transform food and oxygen that enters the cells into useful energy. About 90% of the body’s energy is generated by these amazing mitochondria.
Thus, mitochondria are our powerhouses!
An image of our beautiful mitochondria.
Mitochondria do not only provide our bodies energy by breaking down fat, protein and carbohydrates we eat and drink, mitochondria are also necessary for many other critical tasks, such as:
Just by examining the above few items, it is clear that looking at mitochondria primarily as energy converters is an over simplification of what these powerhouses can ultimately do!
So, what else do we need aside from good carbohydrates, proteins and fats to ensure we aren’t crashing and in need of an afternoon pick-me-up?
In order to maximize our energy potential throughout the day our mitochondria need micronutrients, such as water-soluble vitamins and trace elements, to produce ATP. When these critical factors are depleted within the body it can lead to a reduction in aerobic capacity, in addition to many chronic diseases, damaging our mitochondria.
To heal an individual’s mitochondrial function we need to look at the bio-individuality of the whole person and understand where the root cause is occurring. Here are a few must do’s that will enable you to get jump-started toward improving your energy and function of your mitochondria. Be sure you:
Give your body the tools is needs today, and every day going forward, to live it's best. Which step(s) do you plan on implementing today?
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Hello, my name is Stacy Peterson, Functional Nutritionist and Holistic Health, Wellness and Strength & Conditioning Coach with a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine practicing whole-foods nutrition and physical training to individuals around the globe.
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