- Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell. But how do you support mitochondrial function to encourage energy production?
- Why is it important to increase mitochondrial function?
- Food can help improve mitochondrial function
- Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
- Succinic acid
Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell. But how do you support mitochondrial function to encourage energy production?
There are many reasons why you might be interested in improving your mitochondrial health. Maybe you are experiencing symptoms of mitochondrial dysfunction, or you’re just looking to reduce oxidative stress and improve mitochondrial function.
Why is it important to increase mitochondrial function?
Mitochondria produce ATP, which is where your body’s energy comes from. This isn’t just about how energetic you feel, but how easy it is for your body to work as it’s supposed to. ATP keeps your brain cells functioning, your heart and lungs working properly, and helps your body to manage the effects of the ageing process. It’s the single most important chemical in your body because it’s what gives every single process the ability to keep working.
- Bipolar disorder
- Major depressive disorder
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety
- Generalized anxiety and other stress-related diseases“
Food can help improve mitochondrial function
You can increase ATP production and mitochondrial activity by eating certain foods. These include whole grains, fresh vegetables, healthy fats, and proteins. It’s also important to avoid refined sugars, processed foods, trans fats and seed oils (e.g. canola oil).
Jordan Fallis also notes that “exercise strengthens your mitochondria by increasing oxygen and blood flow and activating biochemical pathways that produce new mitochondria”. Opt for exercise like high-intensity interval training to improve energy levels and reverse mitochondrial decay.
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
ALA can improve your mitochondrial health because it’s an antioxidant. It has been shown to reduce oxidative stress in your brain, which can improve your brain health and reduce cognitive decline and brain fog. Not only that, but it can contribute toward mitochondrial biogenesis – that is, it can help your brain make new mitochondria.
You can buy succinic acid (or succinate, as it’s sometimes called) as a supplement. It can prevent structural and functional damage to the mitochondria because it plays a significant role in the electron transport chain. By preventing dysfunctional mitochondria, succinic acid helps reduce mitochondrial disease and may result in improved mitochondrial function.
After reading this article, hopefully, you’ll have lots of ideas about how to have more energy and get lots of health benefits by making sure you have more mitochondria that are healthy. If you work towards reducing oxidative stress and really focus on the things that support mitochondrial health, you can have healthy mitochondria and lots of great ATP.
Do I have to take supplements to have good mitochondria health?
No! You can achieve great mitochondrial health through diet and exercise alone. After all, we didn’t have supplements in the olden days, did we? However, supplements can help give you that little extra boost, especially if you’re not the sort of person who wants to stick to a rigorous diet or do a lot of high-impact exercises.
With that said, supplementing with carnitine makes it easier for fatty acids to cross your blood-brain barrier and nourish the mitochondria within your brain. This can improve your mood, memory and energy levels. Several studies show that carnitine eases depressive symptoms and improves the quality of life in patients with chronic depression.
**Check out our post “How to increase ferritin levels” to learn more!