Don’t have enough energy? Check out your power plants! Inside all cells are power generators called mitochondria. They take the glucose we get from eating carbohydrates or the fatty acids we obtain from eating fats and very economically produce ATP, the major energy currency molecule in the body. How can we increase their efficiency?
Get Daily Vigorous Exercise to Tolerance
Just two months of vigorous exercise doubles the number of mitochondria in skeletal muscles. Physical activity determines the relative number and volume (size) of mitochondria in the skeletal muscles on a day-to-day basis. Two days of bed rest will decrease the number of mitochondria in your skeletal muscles by 10%1The more power houses you have, the more energetic you are.
Dehydration decreases the efficiency of mitochondria in the brain.2
Keep your Blood Sugar within Normal Range
Diabetes adversely alters the activity of mitochondria. Even individuals with pre-diabetes have lower (lower than healthy people) amounts of mitochondrial DNA with a higher amount of methylation. Methylation is a process that can change the expression of genes and mitochondrial copy numbers in cells.3 Eating a serving of legumes at one meal will help to control your blood sugar even after the second meal.4Eating a serving of green leafy vegetables or non-starchy vegetables before the ingestion of carbohydrates (grains, potatoes) may help significantly to lower blood sugar into a more healthy range than if you eat your carbohydrates before your vegetables5,6Leafy greens contain lipoic acid and other compounds that boost the efficiency of mitochondria in the brain and muscle7,8
Skip Second Helpings if Necessary
Wise calorie restriction improves mitochondrial performance in brown adipose (fat) tissue and brain, muscle, and kidney cells. It also increases the number of mitochondria. In contrast, obesity may contribute to mitochondrial dysfunction in the heart and skeletal muscles because it reduces the ability of the mitochondria to burn fat in the skeletal muscles.9
Lose Weight if Obese
Obesity damages the mitochondria.10 A review of 12 studies found that people on a vegetarian diet, and especially those following a vegan diet, see better results than dieters on other weight-reducing plans. In fact, they can lose around 4.4 pounds more on the short term.11
Get Enough Sleep
Deep sleep increases the production of growth hormone from the pituitary gland. This hormone improves the synthesis of mitochondria in the heart muscle and skeletal muscles.
Breathe Deeply Ten Times Every Hour
Deep breathing is a vital lifestyle practice because the power plants need oxygen to release most of the energy from ATP. If these seven suggestions do not help you, consult your physician as lab work is in order. Low thyroid hormones, anemia, elevated blood sugar, a low level of vitamin D, and a variety of other conditions sap energy. If you need help in incorporating these suggestions into your life, consider coming to Wildwood Lifestyle Center. We can help.
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Disclaimer: The information in this article is educational and general in nature. Neither Wildwood Lifestyle Center, its entities, nor author intend this article as a substitute for medical diagnosis, counsel, or treatment by a qualified health professional.
- Baldwin, B., Applied Physiology Lecture on Mitochondria, Wildwood College of Medical Ministry, 2007
- Hamberger, A., et al, The effect of brain dehydration on the activity of respiratory enzymes in isolated neurons, neuroglial cells, and in brain mitochondria. J Neurochem, 11:687-94, 1964
- Virginia Tech. “Potential biomarker for pre-diabetes discovered: Researchers find link between insulin response, energy producer.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2015. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150820125408.htm
- Mollard, RC, et al., The acute effects of a pulse-containing meal on glycaemic responses and measures of satiety and satiation within and at a later meal. Br J Nutr. 2012 Aug; 108(3):509-17
- Imai S, et al., A simple meal plan of ‘eating vegetables before carbohydrate’ was more effective for achieving glycemic control than an exchange-based meal plan in Japanese patients with type 2 diabetes. Asia Pac J Clin Nutri. 2011; 20(2): 161-8
- Imai, S Effect of eating vegetables before carbohydrates on glucose excursions in patients with type 2 diabetes. J Clin Biochem Nutri. 2014 Jan; 54(1):76-11
- Oregon State University. “Compounds Rejuvenate Rats, May Aid Humans.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 February 2002. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020221073701.htm
- Cell Press. “Want more efficient muscles? Eat your spinach.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2011. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110201122226.htm
- Hepple, R.T., Why eating less keeps mitochondria working in aged skeletal muscle. Exerc Sport Sci Rev, 37(1):23-8, 2009
- Rogge, M.M., The role of impaired mitochondrial lipid oxidation in obesity. Biol Res Nurs, 10(4):356-73, 2009
- Springer Science+Business Media. “To shed weight, go vegan: A review of vegetarian diet studies highlights benefit of vegan-eating plans.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 June 2015. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150630121807.htm