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How to Support Mitochondrial Function for Optimal Energy

You might not spend much time thinking about them, but your mitochondria are one of the most important parts of your body. These tiny structures are present in every cell outside of red blood cells and have the extremely important job of producing energy. Thanks to your mitochondria, you can get through your workday, crush your workouts, and manage everyday tasks.

Mitochondria, often referred to as the “powerhouse of the cell,” play a crucial role in generating energy for our bodies. They are responsible for producing 90% of the energy our bodies need to function by converting food molecules and oxygen into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the compound that fuels cellular activities. Given their vital role in energy production, supporting mitochondrial function is essential for maintaining optimal vitality and overall health.

Symptoms of Low-Functioning Mitochondria

If your mitochondria are not functioning optimally, you may experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Sluggish thinking
  • Memory loss
  • Diminished endurance
  • Low libido
  • A depressed mental state

What Causes Mitochondrial Dysfunction?

You may be wondering what causes the mitochondria to go from being in tip-top shape to being dysfunctional. Having chronic inflammation can put a lot of stress on the poor mitochondria. Unfortunately, our modern lifestyles—with high-stress jobs, little time to relax and sleep, and environmental toxins—are a recipe for inflammation. Add that to a high-sugar, low-nutrient diet, and it leaves mitochondria without the nutrients—specifically the antioxidants—it needs to do its job.

How to Support Mitochondrial Function

Cold Therapy: Cold therapy, such as ice baths, cold showers, and cryotherapy, can improve mitochondrial health through mitochondrial biogenesis, which is the production of more mitochondria. More mitochondria mean more energy for your body throughout the day. Cryotherapy, for instance, involves exposure to temperatures as low as -150 degrees Fahrenheit for just 3 minutes, resulting in enhanced energy, immunity, and more.

Exercise: Regular physical activity is one of the most effective ways to boost mitochondrial health. Exercise, especially high-intensity interval training in aerobic exercises, has been shown to accelerate mitochondrial function and increase mitochondrial numbers and density over time. This, in turn, helps maintain healthy energy levels for years to come. Examples of beneficial exercises include speed walking, hill walking, biking, skiing, and jumping rope.

Sun Exposure: Moderate amounts of natural sunlight exposure can also support mitochondrial function. Sunlight increases the levels of NRF2, an antioxidant gene with anti-cancer properties, and boosts mitochondrial signaling and function. This is because, like plants, mitochondria can photosynthesize, converting light into energy. As a result, sunlight exposure increases ATP levels and cellular respiration, providing your cells with more energy.

Red Light Therapy: If you’re concerned about sun damage but still want the benefits of light exposure, consider Red Light Therapy (also referred to as Photobiomodulation (PBM)). Human cells contain an enzyme called cytochrome c oxidase (CcO) that is believed to be a photoreceptor for red and near infrared light. Cytochrome c oxidase absorbs photons of red and near infrared light which helps in the cells overall process in creating ATP efficiently. Red Light Therapy is especially effective in increasing circulation, reducing inflammation, and promoting healing.

Supplements for Mitochondrial Health: Supporting mitochondrial function can be enhanced through the use of supplements that provide key nutrients involved in energy production. These include:

  • Vitamins B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacinamide), B5 (Pantothenic Acid), and Vitamin C: These vitamins act as cofactors for enzyme reactions in the mitochondria, aiding in the production of energy.
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid: This vitamin-like substance is involved in the Kreb’s cycle, a crucial part of the energy production process in the mitochondria. It helps convert carbohydrates into energy and has antioxidant properties that protect mitochondria from damage.
  • N-acetyl-L-carnitine: This amino acid derivative plays a role in converting fat into energy within the body. It supports the transfer of long-chain fatty acids across mitochondrial membranes, where they are used as fuel for energy production.
  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): Found in virtually all cells, CoQ10 is concentrated in the mitochondria. It is a direct carrier of electrons in the mitochondria, necessary for ATP (energy) production. CoQ10 also has antioxidant properties that protect cells from oxidative damage.

When choosing supplements to support mitochondrial health, look for products that contain these key ingredients to ensure you’re providing your body with the nutrients it needs for optimal energy production.

Supporting mitochondrial function is key to maintaining optimal energy levels and overall health. Ready to start? Contact us on  +27 (0)66 448 0238 to book a session of Cryotherapy or Red Light Therapy or to purchase a discounted bundle of sessions.

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