MITOCHONDRIAL MAKEOVER

Anyone interested in more energy and youth?

In the next several blog posts I am going to discuss our bodies energy production and what we can do with lifestyle interventions such as diet, exercise, nutritional supplements, and hormone optimization, to increase cell energy production.

When we ramp up cell energy production, we enhance our metabolism, burn fat better, and improve our energy levels, mental focus, mood, and body composition.

With aging, combined with less healthy lifestyle decisions, our cell energy production plummets, and our metabolism slows. We have difficulty burning fat and notice much less mental focus, feel sluggish and emotionally down. It is easy, and quite common, to blame it on, “getting old”, or “I’m tired because I work too hard” or “my boss is killing me”. It’s human nature to find something to blame it on or attribute how poorly we feel  to “my age”

When we realize that we can get healthier and feel much better with some nutritional and exercise adjustments, for example, it becomes empowering and motivating.

I have many patients tell me that they feel and look better now than they did years ago. They have become chronologically older but physiologically younger.

So let’s get to it!

We have trillions of cells in our bodies. Each of these cells contain energy producing structures called MITOCHONDRIA. Mitochondria are analogous to little factories that burn fuel, basically fat and glucose, to produce energy in the form of ATP. (Adenosine Triphosphate). ATP is called the body’s energy currency. ATP runs all of our cells activities. If ATP production is impaired or diminished, nothing works well and we feel run down. Mitochondria are in all cells, (except our red blood cells): they are in brain cells, heart cells, muscle cells, liver cells, kidney cells, etc., etc. In high-energy demanding cells such as skeletal muscles, we have hundreds to thousands of mitochondria PER CELL! Our cells average 300-400 mitochondria per cell. (Do the math, over 37 trillion cells in human body x 400 mitochondrial per cell, equals……………WOW!!)

Our mitochondria can burn glucose and/or fat. Ideally, mitochondria burn glucose (sugar) for quick energy and burn fat for sustained energy. Our mitochondria are analogous to hybrid car engines, accessing two fuel sources based on energy needs. Interestingly, fat is the preferred energy source of mitochondria and in fact, mitochondria produce significantly more energy when fat is burned relative to when glucose is burned. It is estimated that from one molecule of glucose we produce 38 ATP, while from an average size molecule of fat our mitochondria produce over 130 ATP. Over 100 more ATP produced when fat is burned than when glucose is burned!

SUGAR BURNER VERSUS FAT BURNER

I have written previously on how to become an efficient fat burner but let’s briefly review. If we over consume processed carbohydrates and sugars, we can’t burn fat. The key to the kingdom of fat burning metabolism is controlling blood glucose levels by avoiding processed carbohydrates as much as possible. When we over consume processed carbohydrates, it forces our mitochondria to be sugar burners while our bodies perpetually store fat. This forces us on the “hamster-wheel” of chasing our fluctuating high and low blood glucose levels with endless carbohydrate cravings and energy spikes and crashes. We have all of this stored body fat that we are carrying around all day yet we can’t burn it! We keep feeling old and fatigued and “can’t lose weight”, it’s is all so frustrating!

MITOCHONDRIAL BIOGENESIS

When we make thoughtful adjustments in our diet, exercise program, supplements, and when we optimize our hormones, we stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis, literally making new mitochondria. More mitochondria to burn more fat with progressively increasing efficiency. Increased mitochondria, increased fat burning, increased ATP production……..resulting in youthful metabolism, enhanced energy levels, less body fat, better mental focus and clarity. Unfortunately, when we make the wrong adjustments to our nutrition and exercise programs we gain body fat, feel sluggish, and gradually slow our metabolism to a grinding halt.

In upcoming blog posts I will elucidate the lifestyle interventions that so successfully slow the rate of aging while simultaneously optimize our health and resilience.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

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