Healthy Mitochondria  =  Healthy Metabolism

Mitochondria turn the food we eat into energy.  Mitochondria are beautifully complex structures living within almost all of our cells.  Inside mitochondria are intricately folded membranes studded with special enzymes, fats and proteins that are used to run elegant chemical reactions.  These chemical reactions are what transform our food into the energy required to run our bodies.

Mitochondria are sophisticated power generators that break open the chemical bonds within food molecules to get at the energy inside.  Chemical bonds consist of positive charges called protons and negative charges called electrons, which hold onto each other tightly.  Mitochondria wrench the electrons away from the protons, and then funnel the electrons through an electron transport chain, creating current.  This electrical energy is used to create ATP molecules, each of which includes a very high-energy phosphate bond.  ATP (adensoine triphosphate), is like a miniature chemical battery; our cells can break ATP phosphate bonds apart whenever they need energy to do anything.

Oxygen waits at the end of the ATP assembly line to catch the cascading electrons, and then binds to them, forming water as a harmless by-product.  Because this process requires oxygen and results in a high energy phosphate bond, it is called oxidative phosphorylation – aka ‘respiration’.

Poor metabolic health is a result of diminishment in mitochondrial functioning.  Over time, the ageing process contributes to a progressive decrease in overall metabolic health.  Factors such as:

  • Poor diet
  • Inactivity
  • Stress
  • Environmental factors
  • Radiation
  • Chemicals

all contribute to the progression of an impaired energy metabolism.

The genome of the mitochondria is more vulnerable than the nuclear genome.  The nuclear genome has more robust DNA repair mechanism.  Over time, cellular damage, inflammation, poor metabolic health will contribute to a progressive decline in mitochondrial function and ATP production.

Having robust metabolic health can help us to increase our adaptability to stressors of all kinds; to increase our ability to fight off viruses and infections and remain feeling youthful and energetic, even as we grow older.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top