What’s your mito-measure? Mitochondrial energy to combat fatigue.

What’s your mito-measure? Mitochondrial energy to combat fatigue.

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In this late stage of the pandemic, fatigue seems to be a common complaint.

When a cup (or three) of coffee feels like the only way to get through the day, it might be worth taking a look at your ‘mitochondrial’ health, as this plays a powerful role in energy production –  and is worth considering if you’re experiencing fatigue.

What is fatigue

Fatigue is often described as lack of energy, mental or physical tiredness, decreased endurance and the need for a longer recovery period after physical activity[1]. It can be caused by physical or psychological conditions, but it can also be a combination of both. However, fatigue is often related to other factors, whether it is lifestyle related or other[2].

Meet your mitochondria – The powerhouse of your cells

The mitochondria is often referred to as the powerhouse of the cell, enabling us to perform our body’s daily functions such as breathing, our heartbeat, speaking, as well as other activities, with energy and vigour.

The mitochondria are cell organelles whose key role is to generate most of the chemical energy that our body needs to keep functioning[3]. Producing energy is so important that each cell contains between 1000 to 2500 mitochondria[4]. These organelles act like a second digestive system, transforming the food we eat into energy that cells in our bodies use, known as ATP[5]. Therefore, most cellular functions, from respiration to metabolism and immune defence, need the right supply of ATP to meet the energy demands for all these processes[6].

How can we combat fatigue?

Exercise

We may think that exercising will make us feel more tired and therefore we avoid it when our energy levels are low. However, the reality is that moving more may increase our energy levels.

This is due to cellular-level changes that take place when we exercise. A study found that high-intensity interval training brings the biggest benefits at the cellular level to increase mitochondrial capacity by 49% in young individuals and by 69% in older people[7]. Mitochondria are the energy source of our body, so having more of them increases our body’s energy supply[8].

Hydration

Dehydration occurs when the water content of the body is low, limiting its ability to carry out normal organ functions and activity which in turn may affect our health, mood, and performance. However, if we drink enough water, it prevents symptoms such as tiredness and weakness[9].

Nutrition

It is remarkable how small changes in our diets and eating habits can increase our energy levels, focus and performance.  Not consuming enough wholegrains, lean meats, dairy, fruit and vegetables can result in feeling fatigued[10].

However, the solution does not rely on increasing our caffeine intake in foods or beverages,[11] but rather maintaining a balanced diet that includes a variety of unrefined carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, as well as a  large serving of green vegetables, and oils with health benefits.

Since we start the energy production process through food, it is worth supporting our mitochondria with the right nutrients as these organelles are especially affected by nutrient deficiencies, environmental toxins, and oxidative damage[12]. Although many nutrients are necessary for ATP production, Ubiquinol, the active form of Coenzyme Q10, plays an important role in this process[13].

Ubiquinol, a lipid antioxidant, can be found throughout the body, especially in mitochondria. However, our natural CoQ10 levels start decreasing from the age of 30[14]. While a healthy diet, hydration and exercise are all important considerations, in some cases, supplementation might be needed to help these powerhouses produce the necessary energy that our body needs to function at its optimal level[15].

Taking Ubiquinol supplement may be an efficient way to help restore healthy levels of Ubiquinol in the body and support optimal energy levels[16].

 Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional.


[1] Filler, K., Lyon, D., Bennett, J., McCain, N., Elswick, R., Lukkahatai, N., & Saligan, L. N. (2014). Association of Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Fatigue: A Review of the Literature. BBA clinical, 1, 12–23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbacli.2014.04.001

[2] Healthdirect.gov.au. 2021. Fatigue. [online] Available at: <https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/fatigue> [Accessed 18 October 2021].

[3] Genome.gov. 2021. Mitochondria. [online] Available at: <https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Mitochondria#:~:text=%E2%80%8BMitochondria&text=Mitochondria%20are%20membrane%2Dbound%20cell,called%20adenosine%20triphosphate%20(ATP).> [Accessed 18 October 2021].

[4] Pizzorno J. (2014). Mitochondria-Fundamental to Life and Health. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 13(2), 8–15.

[5] Bscb.org. 2021. Mitochondrion – much more than an energy converter | British Society for Cell Biology. [online] Available at: <https://bscb.org/learning-resources/softcell-e-learning/mitochondrion-much-more-than-an-energy-converter/> [Accessed 18 October 2021].

[6] Saini R. (2011). Coenzyme Q10: The essential nutrient. Journal of pharmacy & bioallied sciences, 3(3), 466–467. https://doi.org/10.4103/0975-7406.84471

[7] Cell Press. (2017, March 7). How exercise — interval training in particular — helps your mitochondria stave off old age. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 18, 2021 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170307155214.htm

[8] Harvard Health. 2021. Does exercise really boost energy levels? – Harvard Health. [online] Available at: <https://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/does-exercise-really-boost-energy-levels> [Accessed 18 October 2021].

[9] Betterhealth.vic.gov.au. 2021. Water – a vital nutrient – Better Health Channel. [online] Available at: <https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/water-a-vital-nutrient> [Accessed 18 October 2021].

[10] Betterhealth.vic.gov.au. 2021. Fatigue fighting tips – Better Health Channel. [online] Available at: <https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/fatigue-fighting-tips> [Accessed 18 October 2021].

[11] Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA). 2021. Fighting Fatigue – Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA). [online] Available at: <https://www.sportsdietitians.com.au/factsheets/fuelling-recovery/fighting-fatigue/> [Accessed 18 October 2021].

[12] Pizzorno J. (2014). Mitochondria-Fundamental to Life and Health. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 13(2), 8–15.

NLM   

[13] Pizzorno J. (2014). Mitochondria-Fundamental to Life and Health. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 13(2), 8–15.

[14] Saini R. (2011). Coenzyme Q10: The essential nutrient. Journal of pharmacy & bioallied sciences, 3(3), 466–467. https://doi.org/10.4103/0975-7406.84471

[15] Saini R. (2011). Coenzyme Q10: The essential nutrient. Journal of pharmacy & bioallied sciences, 3(3), 466–467. https://doi.org/10.4103/0975-7406.84471

[16] Filler, K., Lyon, D., Bennett, J., McCain, N., Elswick, R., Lukkahatai, N., & Saligan, L. N. (2014). Association of Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Fatigue: A Review of the Literature. BBA clinical, 1, 12–23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbacli.2014.04.001

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