A Quick Overview: Mitochondria

What are mitochondria?

The powerhouse of your cells. They turn food and oxygen into energy. They are eroded by inflammation and toxins. And they accumulate mutations over time that result in age-related diseases.

How can you strengthen mitochondria?

Four main ways: Improve nutrition, increase exercise, reduce stress, and get a lot of sleep. Plus some nutty-sounding-but-may-be-correct little ways.

Here’s a specific example in the exercise category from a Mayo Clinic study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism:

After 12 weeks on an HIIT cycling plan (three days of cycling – that involved four, 4-minute high-intensity intervals broken up by 3-minute recovery periods – and two days of steady, brisk treadmill walking) researchers measured leg strength, lean muscle mass, oxygen capacity, and insulin sensitivity through biopsied tissue samples from participants thighs.

Those participants who did high-intensity interval training (HIIT) got the biggest benefit at the cellular level. There were other groups in the study doing a variety of exercise programs.  Younger HIIT participants (under age 35) experienced a 49% boost in mitochondrial capacity—the cell’s ability to take in oxygen and produce energy—while older folks (over 65) experienced an even more dramatic 69% increase.

See, that’s what I’m talking about when I talk about mitochondrial function!

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