Energy, Mitochondria, and Oxidative Stress

energy mitochondria and oxidative stress

Tired? Worn out? Sore muscles? Brain fog? Increasing your energy, preventing diabetes and heart disease, healing fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue are all possible by giving yourself a little metabolic tune up, especially if you are experiencing symptoms of "metabolic burnout." 

There was a study done on rats where they were fed resveratrol, a phytonutrient found in red wine and they lived 30% longer even though they were eating a poor diet. They became more fit and lost weight without changing what they were eating. How is that even possible? It's because of their MITOCHONDRIA!

The resveratrol protected and improved their mitochondrial function.

What are mitochondria?

Mitochondria are parts of our cells that turn food and oxygen into energy for our bodies. They are your metabolism.

When your mitochondria are not working properly, you will suffer symptoms of low energy, fatigue, memory loss, pain, etc. There are trillions of these tiny factories in our body and they use up approximately 90% of the oxygen we breathe in. The problem with them is that they are very sensitive to damage.

Injury to your mitochondria occurs from oxidative stress (which the result of toxins, infections, allergens, stress, and too much poor quality food). When food is metabolized with oxygen in the mitochondria, waste products are formed. These waste products are called free radicals and create a chain of oxidation (a process similar to the rusting of metal). Unless we have enough antioxidants in our diet or we make enough, we can’t protect our mitochondria for the damage caused by these free radicals.

So if we are eating foods that don’t have high levels of antioxidants (such as sugar, flour, and other processed foods) we produce more free radicals than we have antioxidants to fight. This causes our mitochondria to get damaged or die and makes us feel tired and worn out.

This oxidative stress is a normal part of the aging process, but we can actually slow it down if we support our bodies in the right way!

How can you protect your mitochondria?

Here are some general recommendations to decrease oxidative damage to your mitochondria:

  • Eat less processed junk food and sugar.
  • Detoxify
  • Address inflammation
  • Balance your hormones

There are also some things you can do to boost and protect your mitochondria:

  • Exercise. Interval training increases the efficiency and function of the mitochondria and strength training boosts the amount of muscle and number of mitochondria.
  • Eat whole, real, colorful plants. Aim for 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables
  • Take nutrients that protect your mitochondria and boost your energy. Supplements like acetyl-L-carnitine, alpha lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, n-acetyl-cysteine, D-ribose, resveratrol, magnesium aspartate. 
  • Increase omega 3 fats. These fats help build up the membranes of your mitochondria and keep them from getting damaged.