Mitochondria, traditionally referred to as the powerhouse of our cells, are organelles that are responsible for our energy, our health and giving us the ability to enjoy life. They don’t simply produce energy, they keep us alive. What we learned once upon a time in science class, vastly under represents the importance of our mitochondria. If we don’t show these little buggers love, we will not thrive.
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Mitochondria are thought to have come from bacteria. They have their own DNA and can divide and grow without cellular division - they literally have a mind of their own!
Your body has approximately 37.2 trillion cells and 1 quadrillion mitochondria...WOW! We can’t even comprehend that number.The heart, retina and brain have thousands of mitochondria to power your existence. With something in our body which is so plentiful, we should probably pay attention.
We are only as healthy as our gut; there is constant communication between our gut bacteria and our mitochondria, both of which were inherited from our mothers. [Be sure to thank your mom for your bugs and your successes!] In Dr. Steven Gundry’s new book, the Longevity Paradox, he talks about these two as sisters who constantly talk to each other and influence our health for good, or for bad. If you keep them happy, they will produce good hormones, such as serotonin. However, if we eat sugar and processed foods, this makes the bacteria in our bodies unhappy and dysfunctional, which leads to a decline in health. Again, we are mostly bacteria so if our bacteria are not happy, it can wreak havoc on our health.
Your heart, lungs and blood delivers oxygen to your mitochondria to produce ATP (energy) to keep our bodies alive, and to give us the power to do everything we do! When your mitochondria doesn't operate optimally, you lose energy, you don't sleep well, your skin is not healthy and that creates a cascading effect in your body called poor methylation. This is when the cellular function is disrupted, including cellular division, detoxification and gene expression, all things that we want to work well for us! Here are just a few of the things that can lead to mitochondrial dysfunction:
- Sugar & refined carbohydrates
- Lack of exercise
- Vegetable oil
- Excess free radical production (which break down cells and can lead to disease and aging)
- Junk light from your computer (read our blog on blue light for more information)
- Inadequate amounts of magnesium and vitamins D & K2
When we have healthy mitochondria we age slower and function optimally. Here are a few things you can do to show love to your mitochondria:
- Get good quality sleep
- Decrease inflammation by cutting out sugar and refined carbohydrates
- Fasting - teaches our body to use different energy sources which makes our mitochondria more flexible. For more information on the effects of fasting and mitochondrial health: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/11/intermittent-fasting-may-be-center-of-increasing-lifespan/
Your bacteria want to take care of you. You are, after all, their home. If you take care of them, they will take care of you. Love your gut and your mitochondria and they will love you back! Let’s not just talk about it. As Nike says, “Just Do It!” - no pun intended 😉 Small changes will help you feel better and kick ass!