People may experience low levels of energy because of many reasons such as a poor diet, unhealthy lifestyle, excessive stress, lack of sleep, and health conditions. Often, the adrenal glands are blamed as the reason for fatigue and low energy levels since whenever something is wrong with the body’s stress response, the adrenals suffer varying levels of overload and even damage. But, the adrenals are not always to be blamed. Frequently, damage to your mitochondria can also result in low energy levels.
What Is The Mitochondria?
Mitochondria are tiny structures within your cells that are often referred to as the powerhouse of the cells as they generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP)1, which is the energy molecule upon which all cellular functions in the body depend. The mitochondria are responsible for metabolism and play an extremely important role in how your body stores and uses energy.
The human body, on average, contains over 100 quadrillion mitochondria located throughout your cells. Within each of these mitochondria, there are around 17,000 individual conversion centers that convert oxygen and food into ATP.
ATP is the fuel your body requires to power all its systems. In fact, the mitochondria are so active that they use up almost 90 percent of the oxygen we take in every day, just to keep its functions performing at peak levels.
The various functions within the mitochondria are so vital to the maintenance of energy levels that even minor deviations in production capabilities can have adverse consequences. The mitochondria are very sensitive to various internal and external factors that can damage them and affect their ability to provide the required energy.
Factors That Can Damage The Mitochondria
Since the mitochondria lack the protection required to resist the most common threats, it can be easily damaged and become useless. Toxins and allergens can damage and cripple their energy-producing ability.
Even certain infections and stress can also cause damage to the mitochondria. Poor eating habits and diets that consist of sugars and other empty calories also have a negative impact. Some prescription and non-prescription drugs are known to cause damage to the mitochondria.
To further complicate matters, once they are damaged and begin to shut down, their loss increases the pressure on other mitochondria to compensate the functions. That puts undue stress on the remaining mitochondria, which leads to more damage, more mitochondrial failures, and a continued degeneration in health and energy levels.
How Can You Prevent Damage To Mitochondria?
Fortunately, the damage to mitochondria can often be either prevented or reversed. To prevent mitochondrial damage, experts suggest that we completely avoid processed foods and sugars from our diet. We must ensure that we consume well-balanced meals that help restore hormonal balance.
High levels of cortisol and other hormonal imbalances can increase stress on the body that directly impacts the mitochondria. Most importantly, toxins, including cigarettes, chemicals, and other harmful substances must be avoided.
If your mitochondria already show signs of damage, then a recovery effort is necessary. Regular exercise that includes strength training and interval training, combined with balanced, whole food diet is crucial for damage prevention and recovery.
Include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids to your supplementation regimen, as they help strengthen the membranes of the mitochondria. It is recommended that you also include B vitamins, cetyl-L-carnitine, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH), D-ribose, alpha lipoic acid, creatine, and magnesium into your daily diet to protect your mitochondria.
The Bottom Line
Although your mitochondria may not be the only cause of your fatigue and low energy, it can still be affected by the adverse effects of the underlying cause. Just as you take precautionary and corrective measures to recover from adrenal fatigue, you should also make efforts to repair your mitochondria. This way, you can ensure that they continue to provide your body with its energy requirements and dramatically improve your recovery.
How Can You Support Your Cells’ Energy?
A healthy, wholesome diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and other vital nutrients is imperative to your cellular health. People who suffer from mitochondrial disease are generally advised to consume a “mitochondrial cocktail,” which contains different essential components. Some suggestions here can help you prevent and recover from mitochondrial damage.
- Consult your physician for a complete examination and to treat certain potential causes of fatigue.
- Follow an anti-inflammatory lifestyle by consuming nutritious food, adequate sleep, and regular exercise, as inflammation burdens your mitochondria.
- Consider a mitochondrial work-up; an elaborate set of lab tests provide insight into your mitochondria health.
- Supplement coenzyme Q10, which is necessary for the respiratory chain to function.
- Supplement carnitine, which is essential for the effective transfer of fatty acids to be used as substrates for energy generation.
|↑1||Myhill, Sarah, Norman E. Booth, and John McLaren-Howard. “Chronic fatigue syndrome and mitochondrial dysfunction.” International journal of clinical and experimental medicine 2, no. 1 (2009): 1.|