Hello and welcome to the Wholistic Living Podcast. My name is Elena. In this episode of the Be The Hero Of Your Health series, we will be talking about the power of mitochondria. Every hero has a special power. I’m excited to tell you why your mitochondria are the secret power that helps you achieve healthy aging and chronic illness prevention. I want to share some little-known facts about this organelle to help you understand its role in your longevity so you can actively work to improve the health and efficiency of your mitochondria.
First up, I’ll share the basics of the role your mitochondria play in the body. Then we will discuss what happens when this important energy powerhouse malfunctions. Finally, I’ll reveal 5 ways you can boost your mitochondrial function.
Mitochondria are the “energy factory” of the cells in the body - almost all cells have mitochondria
The “energy currency” they make is adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
ATP is an organic molecule that creates over 90% of the body's energy that is vital to sustain life and support healthy organ function
When you consume calories, ATP is stored as energy reserves in the mitochondria
A chain of reactions converts the stored energy from calories into ATP for the cells to use as fuel
The body’s main energy consumers are the brain, muscles, liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, heart, and lungs - there is a lot of processes for your mitochondria to keep up with
The health of your mitochondria appears to be directly related to your biological age
Many processes that occur in mitochondria such as fission, fusion, and autophagy contribute to the youth and vitality of your cells
Levels of nutrients and other lifestyle factors can tip the balance toward either fission or fusion
Optimizing your health with your lifestyle choices supports the mitochondrial network and helps your body with autophagy - the removal of damaged mitochondria from your cells
Mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to oxidative stress and cell death during the aging process
Fun fact: Mitochondrial DNA is exclusively passed from mother to child and contains exclusively maternal genes
Mitochondrial DNA accounts for a small portion of our total DNA - containing just 37 of the 20,000 to 25,000 protein-coding genes in your body
Whether you are struggling with fatigue, illness, trying to slow the aging process, or just want to do what you can to prevent cancer - you need your cells to work efficiently and you need your mitochondria to power and support that work
Mitochondrial dysfunction is the underlying cause of most age related diseases - it is linked to metabolic, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative diseases
Damaged mitochondria produce free radicals which can cause oxidative damage and a significant decline in metabolic processes
Mitochondrial dysfunction causes inflammation and a drop in t-cell function which is responsible for the release of proinflammatory cytokines which affects your immune response
While mitochondrial dysfunction is, to some degree, a natural part of aging - you can optimize your energy powerhouse with a healthy lifestyle and even reverse mitochondrial damage before permanent damage sets in
If you do your best to keep your mitochondria at their peak performance, you can slow the aging process and help your body ward off chronic illness and disease
The lifestyle choices you make on a daily bases impact your health on a cellular level. When you care for your body by creating and maintaining a healthy environment, you allow your body to build up its own resiliency (with the help of your cellular mitochondrion powerhouse) and thrive naturally!
Here are 5 ways you can create a healthy environment for peak mitochondrial performance:
HEALTHY DIET: One of my main goals with this podcast series is to help you be the hero of your own health with dietary guidance. I can truly say there is advice in each and every episode that will promote mitochondrial health. In addition to the advice in my podcasts, I would say make sure your diet includes adequate minerals like iron, selenium, zinc, and magnesium. Research indicates magnesium status is directly correlated with how likely the mitochondria are to become damaged. Magnesium also plays a critical role in the energy status of mitochondria and the generation of new mitochondria. Many people are deficient in this mineral. Spinach, flaxseeds, and cashews are great sources of magnesium to include in your diet. (5)
INTERMITTENT FASTING: It’s not just WHAT you eat but HOW you eat that matters. Intermittent fasting is a nutritional strategy I personally use as part of my healthy lifestyle. I eat only during a 6-8 hour window each day. Giving your body more hours of rest from digestion helps free up energy to move mitochondria toward the fused state, helping to balance the fusion and fragmentation processes. Intermittent fasting also activates the enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase, also known as AMPK - a master regulator of energy homeostasis that promotes DNA damage repair and cell growth. This is a must for longevity and healthy aging. Check out my podcast episode to learn more about this! (6)
REGULAR EXERCISE: We usually think of exercise as a benefit for our heart, lungs, and muscles. But the benefits continue on to the cellular level. Increasing your heart rate with exercise improves the efficiency and amount of mitochondria. Exercise also helps your body remove dysfunctional mitochondria. A 2017 study looked at two groups of adults over the course of a 12-week exercise program that involved high-intensity interval training (3 days a week) and resistance training (2 days a week). The results showed that subjects between 18-30 years old saw a 49% increase in mitochondrial capacity, and the older group, aged 65-80, saw an even more dramatic 69% increase. Start exercising regularly now and you will notice major benefits within the first month! (7)
SUNLIGHT: When your skin is exposed to natural sunlight, the light passes through your tissues and is absorbed by specific organelles, including your mitochondria. Your mitochondria converts the sunlight into biological signals to produce melatonin. Even just 15 minutes of sun exposure a day (without sunscreen and with skin exposed) can decrease inflammation, boost the immune system, and improve mitochondrial function. Check out my blog to learn more about how sun exposure can help improve your sleep.
SPIRITUAL CONNECTION: There are powerful codes of consciousness stored within your mitochondria which you can access and integrate with focused, spiritual connection. That’s why I created my online course - Ignite Your Codes of Consciousness, to help guide you on your path to healing and self-discovery. I channeled meditations that empower you to activate the Divine, light-encoded filaments of your DNA. As I mentioned, the DNA within your mitochondria are strictly from the maternal line. Igniting the codes in your mitochondrial DNA will help you stand in your Divine Feminine light!
To close out today’s episode, I want to remind you to check out my FREE Masterclass. Click the link below to learn more about three daily habits that can significantly boost your long-term wellness! It just takes 60 minutes of your time and you will be amazed at the results you’ll experience right away when you try out the techniques I share in the class.
Thank you so much for listening.
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