Wanna know our little secret for aging well? It’s taking care of your mitochondria.
Mitochondria you say? Yep!
WHAT ARE THEY?
Pronounced (mi·to·chon·dri·a), these little powerhouse organelles are located in every cell of the body. They produce a charged molecule called ATP which acts as the primary energy source that runs every biochemical reaction needed to keep our body thriving.
WHY DO WE NEED THEM?
Each cell has between 100,000 and 600,000 mitochondria and as we age, this number starts to diminish, leading to many of the age-related diseases and ailments common in today’s society such as:
Impairment of gastrointestinal, liver, kidney, and immune function
It’s no surprise the cells that use the most energy (heart, brain are the most affected by mitochondria dysfunction).
It’s believed that mitochondria emerged from bacteria as part of human evolution as a way for us to synthesize energy more efficiently. They even have their own unique DNA that’s passed down through the maternal line.
SO WHAT EXACTLY DO MITOCHONDRIA DO? A DEEPER DIVE.
ENERGY PRODUCTION: Mitochondria converts chemical energy from the food we eat into an energy form (ATP) that the cell can use.
CELLULAR DEATH: Out with the old, in with the new. As a cell becomes old or damaged, the need to be cleared out and destroyed. Mitochondria plays a key role in helping the body decide which cells need to be destroyed via a process called apoptosis. This is especially important, as this process also removes potentially cancerous cells before they become a problem.
CALCIUM RESERVE: We’re always talking about mineralizing at SWW and mitochondria are essential for helping the body store calcium. Not just for bones, calcium is also used by the nervous and endocrine systems. Mitochondria quickly recycle calcium back into the cell to be used again.
HEAT PRODUCTION: Mitochondria can shiver! Well not really, but they help our body generate heat which is crucial for keeping the body at a thermal set point and also revving up metabolism.
And what do they have to do with the aging process? Absolutely EVERYTHING!
Mitochondria produce energy that destroy the production of free-radicals — highly charged particles that go rouge within the cell and cause damage to its DNA, fats, and proteins. This then causes the mitochondria to stop functioning properly, which in turn produces more free radicals, and more damage. The cell soon becomes deplete of energy and we lose optimal functionality.
As we age, we are naturally exposed to more and more oxidative stress, which deteriorates our mitochondria over time — unless we are proactive about lifestyle and diet choices to nourish them.
WAYS TO NOURISH MITOCHONDRIA
Heat Therapy. Specifically saunas have been shown to increase the efficiency of mitochondria. When using heart therapy, the energetic needs of our mitochondria go up and they respond by using oxygen in the blood more efficiently.
Intermittent Fasting. By fasting 12 + hours between dinner and breakfast, it lowers the production of free radicals and removes damaged mitochondria. It also triggers biogenesis of new mitochondria.
Limit Carbs. Eating too many carbohydrates can significantly change the shape and function of mitochondria, particularly in certain brain cells. Follow the SWW Plate™ to manage your daily carb portions.
Take Your Supplements. Aim to take an omega-3, alpha-lipoic acid and L-carnitine daily to improve mitochondrial function by boosting respiratory enzymes and cell membrane stability.
Physical Exercise. One of the best way to increase your oxygen intake, which is critical for mitochondria is through moving you body. We suggest implementing HIIT training 2x/week to optimize mitochondria function.
Follow these steps regularly to improve your mitochondria and longevity.