Mitochondria, which are tiny organelles found in every cell in the body, create 90% of the energy we need!
They do this by taking the nutrients from the food you eat, break the nutrients down, and transform the byproducts into ATP (energy!).
They are essential to how energized we feel on a daily basis!
Increase energy levels by supporting your mitochondria with these lifestyle tips!
Exercise is key to improving mitochondrial health. Muscle cells tend to have a large energy expenditure so there are more mitochondria associated with them. However, don’t head out to get an extended cardio session in. The best types of movement to support the mitochondrial include interval training and strength training. However, when you are recovering from poorly functioning mitochondria, it’s important to start slow and build up your endurance and strength over time.
Too much “energy” in the body from overeating (and inactivity) can lead to oxidative stress that damages the mitochondria. Aim to stop eating when you feel 80% full.
Time restricted eating or intermittent fasting has been linked to preventing and restoring damage to mitochondria. If you’re new to fasting, I always recommend starting with a basic 12 hour fast overnight and customize it from there.
Minimize environmental toxin exposure.
Various environmental toxins like pesticides, cigarette smoke, heavy metals, and more have been associated with a decrease in enzymes that help the mitochondria produce energy. These toxins can also lead to excess oxidative stress in the body which also impacts mitochondrial function.
While you sleep is when your body takes out all the junk. If you’re not getting enough quality or quantity of sleep, the waste removal system can’t properly clear out the toxins. This toxic build up can reduce the function of the mitochondria. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep / night between the hours of 10pm – 6 am.
Cold exposure has been shown to promote mitochondrial production. This could look like ending the last 30 seconds of your shower with cold water, jumping in a cold body of water like a lake, or taking an ice bath.
Infrared sauna use can potentially support mitochondrial health. One study found that frequent exposure to the heat stress from a sauna increased the function of mitochondria.
Alpha-lipoic acid is an important cofactor of many mitochondrial functions. In addition it can act as an antioxidant which reduces inflammation that can damage mitochondria cells.
Magnesium is essential for 300+ processes within the human body, so it’s no surprise that it can also support mitochondria. It’s thought to support the mitochondria in two ways:
- as an antioxidant that helps to reduce overall levels of reactive oxygen species.
- as an important cofactor for many cellular reactions. In fact, ATP (the energy that mitochondria produce) needs to be attached to a magnesium ion to “biologically active” in the body!
Resveratrol is a polyphenol that acts as an antioxidant in the body. It has been found to support the growth of new mitochondria and enhance overall function.
CoQ10 is the star nutrient for mitochondrial health. CoQ10 is typically produced by your body and then the mitochondria stores it. It then helps the mitochondria in making ATP (energy). In addition, it also acts as an antioxidant and can bind to free radicals. Excessive free radicals in the body can negatively impact mitochondrial function. By supplementing with CoQ10, this can support your mitochondria to function better.
In some animal studies, NAC was found to support mitochondria by decreasing levels of oxidative stress within the body.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Research has found that omega 3’s have a positive impact on the membranes of mitochondria and can help to reduce mitochondrial dysfunction.
NOTE: always consult with your practitioner before starting or stopping any supplements.
Eat mitochondrial supportive foods
The antioxidant anthocyanin found in blueberries can help protect mitochondria from oxidative stress.
Veggies like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower support your body’s ability to produce glutathione which is the body’s master antioxidant and can help protect mitochondria from free-radical damage.
Grass fed beef
Grass fed beef is rich in CoQ10, and helps the mitochondria in making ATP (energy).
Avocados are rich in healthy fats which help to protect and repair mitochondria.
Salmon is rich in omega 3’s and b vitamins which support mitochondria.
The polyphenols in green tea have been shown to protect, enhance the function, and repair damage in mitochondria.
The compounds punicalagins and ellagitannins found in pomegranates have been found to help rejuvenate mitochondria and prevent damage due to oxidative stress.
AVOID these foods
Certain foods increase inflammation in the body which can damage mitochondria. These foods include things like sugar, foods covered in pesticides, refined grains, processed foods, and alcohol.
A daily routine to support your mitochondria:
How to do you put all those tips into action? Follow this daily plan!
Wake up and break a sweat. Do a short high intensity workout (~10 minutes).
Take a shower and end with 30 seconds of cold water.
Get ready for the day using “clean” hygiene and beauty products free of environmental toxins.
Eat a protein rich breakfast after a minimum of a 12 hour fast from the night before. Scrambled eggs with vegetables is a great mitochondrial supportive breakfast.
Take your mitochondria support supplements with or after breakfast.
Boost oxygen levels in your mitochondria by taking a mid-morning 2-5 minute deep breathing break.
Sip on some green tea while you are working.
For lunch, have a salmon salad with leafy greens, red cabbage, seeds, pomegranate seeds, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
Boost oxygen levels in your mitochondria by taking a mid-afternoon 2-5 minute deep breathing break.
For dinner, make a stir fry with grass fed beef, broccoli, cabbage, and bell peppers.
Feel like dessert? Grab a handful of antioxidant rich blueberries.
Aim to go to bed by 10 pm and wake up at 6 am for a full 8 hours of sleep.
If you feel like you may need support to get your mitochondria healthy, schedule a free introductory call with me!