The mitochondria are commonly referred to as the ‘powerhouses’ of the cells. They are responsible for the production of energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) during aerobic respiration. It’s thought that they were originally primitive bacteria that merged with our cells a long time ago, and we are now in a mutually beneficial relationship with them. They help us to make energy and we protect them from oxidative damage with our cellular antioxidants.
To ensure our cells can continue to respire, it’s important that we all look after our mitochondria as well as our children’s mitochondria. There are several ways that this can be done.
Supplement with CoQ10
Co-enzyme Q10 is the primary antioxidant that our cells provide to protect and support the mitochondria. It enables the level of ATP production to remain high and maintains the health of the mitochondria.
Fuel with Protein
Protein is an essential macronutrient that contains the amino acids, including glutathione, that are required to protect the mitochondria. Lots of foods contain high levels of protein, including meat, fish, tofu, beans, lentils, and eggs.
Eat Plenty of Antioxidants
Alongside CoQ10, alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is another key antioxidant that protects the mitochondria. Antioxidants support the production of new mitochondria (mitochondrial biogenesis), which encourages optimal energy production for you and your children.
In addition to fueling the mitochondria with essential nutrients, it’s important to remove damaging chemicals and heavy metals from their surroundings too. You can detoxify your body by eating a nutritious diet and focusing on your gut health. This can support your immune system and reduce inflammation to reduce the risks of mitochondrial damage or dysfunction.
Eat a Nutritious Diet
There are lots of core nutrients that you and your family need to be consuming to optimize mitochondrial health. In particular, the following nutrients are important.
- Vitamins C and E which support the antioxidation abilities of your cells
- B vitamins that support growth and metabolism within the cells
- Magnesium and iron which are key minerals for cellular function
These essential nutrients can be found in a range of fruits and vegetables as well as multivitamin supplements.
Consuming healthy fats is also key to maintaining great mitochondrial health. Unsaturated fats reduce the levels of inflammation in the body and provide a great source of fuel for the mitochondria. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can be found in avocados, nuts, plant oils, chia, and flax.
For advice on how to support your mitochondria by eating a healthy diet, visit Dr Jennings and team at Cardea Health Integrative in East Aurora, NY.