Mitochondrial health is one of the most critical factors in your overall health and energy. But what does that actually mean? Most people don’t know a lot about the “powerhouses” of your cells.
Mitochondria are essential to the health of each cell — and to the health of the tissues and organs that are home to those cells. However, mitochondria are susceptible and can be damaged easily. And when that damage occurs, you can suffer from fatigue, memory loss, low energy, pain, rapid aging, and much more.
What are Mitochondria?
If you recall your high school biology class, you may remember learning about how mitochondria are like factories in your cells: they take in food and oxygen and convert them to energy. And that energy, called ATP (adenosine triphosphate), supports every bodily function.
Mitochondria also produce a byproduct called ROS (reactive oxygen species), a type of free radical. These free radicals can damage the mitochondria if you don’t have enough antioxidants in your diet or make enough in your body. And when the body produces less ATP and more ROS, this can contribute to damage and inflammation throughout the body.
Esteemed functional medicine physician, Dr. Mark Hyman, explains it this way:
“Each cell holds hundreds or thousands of mitochondria; they are found in greater concentrations in active organs and tissues like the heart, brain, and muscles.
“In fact, we have more than 100,000 trillion mitochondria in our bodies, and each one contains 17,000 little assembly lines for making ATP. Mitochondria are where metabolism happens.
“So, when your mitochondria aren’t working properly, your metabolism runs less efficiently and can even practically shut down. Problems occur because these powerful energy producers are VERY sensitive and easily damaged. When they are damaged, we suffer from low energy, fatigue, memory loss, pain, rapid aging, and more.
“Fatigue is the most common symptom of poorly functioning mitochondria.”
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Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Your Health
While the natural aging process contributes to mitochondrial damage, many other things can also contribute. A few examples are chronic stress, lack of sleep, environmental pollution, smoking, and eating refined sugar and flour. Some additional things that cause mitochondrial dysfunction include:
- Hormone depletions, especially thyroid hormones, cortisol, estrogen, and testosterone.
- Chronic persistent viral infections like Epstein Barr Virus (Mono), attack and damage the mitochondria themselves.
- B12 depletion, Iron depletion, and Coenzyme Q 10 depletion.
- Ribose depletion (ribose is the sugar backbone to the energy molecule ATP).
These all create oxidative stress, the imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body. And mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked to many health issues, including:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Cardiovascular disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Fatty liver disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Skin disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Reproductive problems
- Chronic kidney disease
- Insulin resistance
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
One of the primary symptoms of mitochondrial disorders is fatigue. And poor mitochondrial health is one of the key contributing factors to Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
How Does Poor Mitochondrial Health Contribute to Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue?
Take “writer’s cramp” as an example: the muscles in the fingers seize up and hurt to the point where they are unusable. Yet, if you straighten them out quickly, energy flows back into the fingers, so they relax and stop hurting. Now imagine this happening to all the muscles in your body — randomly in some and constantly in others.
That’s why our treatment protocols include looking for agents that may be causing damage to the mitochondria. We then work to rid the body of these toxins. The second step of our six-step process for treating both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue is to rejuvenate the mitochondria and increase energy production.
Getting those tiny energy power plants working at optimal levels in every cell of your body is essential to restoring your energy. We often find the mitochondria in a poisoned condition, leaving the cells starved for energy. Therefore, we use treatments to rid the body of the offending agents, then give specific nutrients to jump-start the mitochondria and get the cells functioning well again.
You can find a wealth of additional information on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome on this website. We invite you to learn more and, of course, contact us so we can help restore your health and vitality.
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What You Can do to Improve Your Mitochondrial Health
The first step to improving your mitochondrial health is to come in for a consultation. We will work with you to find the underlying cause of your condition and use proven, advanced technology to help you achieve vastly improved health and wellness.
Additionally, here are some things you can start doing right now to improve your mitochondrial health:
- Eat whole foods, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains. These foods are packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients. Try to eat eight to 12 servings daily.
- At the same time, eliminate processed foods, sugar, and junk foods.
- Get restful, quality sleep. Sleep is vitally important for your body to repair and restore itself.
- Get rid of toxins in your body and in your environment.
- Increase omega-3 fats to help build the mitochondrial membranes. Excellent sources of omega-3s are oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), chia seeds, flaxseed, and walnuts.
- Take supplements to protect mitochondria and boost energy. This may include acetyl-L-carnitine, alpha lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, n-acetyl-cysteine, NADH, D-ribose, resveratrol, and magnesium aspartate.
- Exercise regularly, including aerobic activity, strength training, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Studies have shown that HIIT training can improve mitochondrial health.
- Come in and see us for chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia treatment.
About Dr. Spurlock
Wm. Marcus Spurlock, M.D., is a Board Certified Family Physician with 35 years of experience and expertise in viral diseases and anti-aging medicine. He has been a member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine for over a decade and works diligently with his patients to prevent illness.
Dr. Spurlock is knowledgeable and experienced and has a passion for finding solutions to environmental and age-related illnesses. He brings a variety of cutting-edge professional services to Renewed Vitality, making it the best choice for patients searching to improve their quality of life.
His résumé includes 20-plus years of experience with Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement and Integrative Medicine.
Dr. Spurlock specializes in the treatment of Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Weight Loss, Thyroid Disorders, Chronic Viral Syndromes, and Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy.
About Roxana Cocos – APRN, MSN, FNP-C
Roxana graduated with honors (cum laude) from the University of Texas in Dallas with a Bachelors’s in Neuroscience as well as from the Texas Woman’s University with a Bachelors’s in Nursing. In 2011, she completed her education with a Master of Science in Nursing from Texas Woman’s University.
As a Family Nurse Practitioner, she has worked in Family Practice, Primary Care, Urgent Care, and Endocrinology, giving her a well-rounded foundation of experience in treating patients. She has worked under the supervision of Dr. Spurlock for several years and has the foundation needed to provide the same level of skill required to treat mitochondrial dysfunction, hormonal disorders, thyroid diagnosis and treatment, etc.
Roxana is passionate about personalized health and medicine. While working as a Family Nurse Practitioner, she found the “pill for every ill” model dysfunctional and misleading, as simply treating the symptoms rather than the causes, not only failed to resolve the patients’ conditions but often caused even more side effects. In her search to solve this puzzle, she was introduced to Integrative Health and Medicine while attending a conference. She has completed with honors the two-year postgraduate fellowship in Integrative Health and Medicine.
Roxana is driven to empower patients, through the use of many resources for high-quality diagnostics and education, to take control of their own health and to help guide them on their paths to wellness.
Get a Free Phone Consultation with our New Patient Coordinator
Renewed Vitality is a place of hope. Our knowledgeable providers are experts in their field and take the time to find the underlying causes of hormonal imbalances and illness. We will work with you using proven, scientific-based technology in a warm and compassionate environment. Our goal is to help you restore your health so that you can live a life of vitality and wellness.
Please contact our New Patient Coordinator for your free phone consultation. She can answer your questions and give you additional information about our providers, our protocols and fees, what is and is not covered by insurance, and any other details you may need. We can also get you booked for your first appointments if you decide we are a good fit for you. There are no obligations to book an appointment. You can reach us at (214) 740-4703, or complete the form below and we will contact you!