Tired of feeling tired?
Feeling like your energy levels are never as high as they used to be?
Fixing the problem might not be as simple as getting more sleep (thought that does play a part); rather, it could be that your mitochondrial health is to blame. Mitochondria are tiny, energy-producing organelles that play a vital role in the production of ATP (the primary energy currency of cells). When they are functioning optimally, they support overall health and well-being.(1)
So, how can you support your mitochondria and make sure that they are performing as they should? Let’s explore two approaches: biohacks and supplements. Both have significant benefits to consider.
Biohacks, or lifestyle and behavior changes, that are thought to support mitochondrial health include:(2)
Exercise: Regular physical activity has been shown to improve mitochondrial function and increase the number of mitochondria in cells. This is likely due to the fact that exercise stimulates the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can trigger the production of new mitochondria through a process known as mitophagy where the old, dysfunctional mitochondria are “cleaned out”.
Diet: A healthy, balanced diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables with high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds supports mitochondrial health by reducing oxidative stress.(3) The best place to start is by focusing on a whole food diet.
Sleep: Adequate sleep is important for maintaining overall health and well-being, and it may also support healthy mitochondria. During sleep, the body is able to repair and regenerate cells, including mitochondria. As mentioned previously, sleep won’t fix the entire issue of feeling sluggish and run down but if you’re struggling with low energy levels, make sure to prioritize getting enough sleep each night so your body can recover.(4)
Stress management: Chronic stress can have negative effects on mitochondria, so it is important to find ways to manage stress effectively. This may include practices such as meditation, yoga, or other stress-reducing techniques. So, if you’re looking to support the health of your mitochondria, make sure to incorporate stress-management techniques into your routine.(5)
There are a number of supplements that have been studied for their potential benefits for mitochondrial health, including:
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant found naturally in the body that helps produce energy. Supplementation with CoQ10 has been shown to improve mitochondrial function.(6)
Creatine is a compound found naturally in the body that helps muscle function. Additionally, it supports mitochondrial function and may have protective effects on mitochondria. Creatine is definitely worth considering.(7)
Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that has been shown to improve mitochondrial function and may have protective effects on mitochondria.(8)
Acetyl-L-carnitine is a highly bioavailable form of carnitine that can cross the blood-brain barrier, where it helps to manage typical oxidative stress, supports mitochondrial function and helps maintain neurotransmitter activity.(9)
Polyphenols enhance the mitochondrial efficiency and stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis (increasing size and number of mitochondria). They stimulate autophagy (cellular detoxification) and promote mitophagy. Lastly, “studies have shown that dietary polyphenols can regulate mitochondrial redox status, and in some cases, prevent or delay disease progression.”
The truth is that both biohacks and supplements can be effective. A balanced diet, regular physical activity and stress management are all important for maintaining overall health and well-being. Additionally, it is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, as certain supplements may interact with medications or have other potential risks or side effects. So, if you’re looking to support and improve the health of your mitochondria, consider incorporating both biohacks and supplements into your routine. Your energy levels (and overall health) will thank you!
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