Mitochondria: The powerhouse of the cell

Most of us remember  the definition and importance of mitochondria from the biology class at school. These tiny organelles inside our cells are responsible for the production of energy required by the human body.


Mitochondria and Energy Production

Inside the mitochondria the production of cellular energy is achieved, as in these organelles exist the right conditions which favor the release of energy through different nutrients. Cells utilize mitochondria to metabolize the biological macromolecules that organisms absorb through food. In this way, carbohydrates and fats are broken down by cells, synthesizing adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecules, a kind of energy currency.

The proper function of the mitochondria

Maintaining the proper function of the mitochondria is particularly important, as it determines the health of the cells. Mitochondria fulfill the metabolic needs of the cell and contribute to immunity. So, when the cells function properly, the proper function of the tissues, which are composed of them, is achieved. And when the tissues of the human body perform their various functions properly, then our health is improved.

It is important, however, to understand which are the factors that can negatively affect the function of mitochondria and consequently the whole cell. Only if we know the potential risks, we can take the appropriate measures, in order to prevent the occurrence of various diseases associated with mitochondrial dysfunction.

Unfortunately, as a person gets older, the efficiency of the mitochondria decreases. Thus, the energy required to perform various cell functions is not produced. This situation explains the fact that the strength and endurance of individuals begin to weaken, as soon as they reach the age of 50 years.

In addition to the natural aging process, there are other factors that interfere with the proper function of mitochondria. Smoking, severe stress, lack of sleep, environmental pollution, blood sugar imbalances and insulin resistance are parameters that do not help the proper function of the mitochondria and are therefore responsible for the occurrence of various problems in the human body.

More specifically, mitochondrial dysfunction can cause the release of harmful molecules to the cell (such as oxygen free radicals that cause oxidative stress), a process that later progresses to inflammation. The accumulation of such events can lead to the establishment of chronic inflammation and consequently chronic diseases.

Restoration of the proper function of the Mitochondria

It is therefore clear that the proper function of the mitochondria has a beneficial effect on humans, as through them the body provides the necessary amounts of energy, which are needed, in order to adequately meet its various functions. A nutrient-rich diet in , is the key to enhance the proper function of mitochondria. Intermittent fasting, calorie restriction and physical exercise are parameters that help significantly. Of course, it is also recommended to eliminate and avoid factors that can cause difficulties in the function of mitochondria, such as environmental toxins and intense stress.

Dr. Nikoleta Koini, M.D.

Doctor of Functional, Preventive, Anti-ageing and Restorative Medicine.
Diplomate and Board Certified in Anti-aging, Preventive, Functional and Regenerative Medicine from A4M (American Academy in Antiaging Medicine).

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