If you’ve been to see us here at The Mayfair Clinic, you might be aware that we talk quite a lot about the impact on your body’s mitochondria: what they are, what they do for your body, why are they so important to your body’s healing process and overall health? As a simple introduction, mitochondria are ‘organelles’ which simply means part of a cell. Our cells make up the tissues in our body, which in turn is what makes up our organs. We have around 37.2 trillion cells in the body, and mitochondria are found in most cells carrying multiple types of organelle. Today we’re discussing how to boost your mitochondria, their importance in the body and how this can impact your workout recovery.
What Is The Function Of Mitochondria?
The function of mitochondria is to act as an ‘energy factory’ of a call. They are responsible for producing energy for many different functions within the body – including movement and brain activity. A single mitochondria (a mitochondrion), is the site of cellular respiration – the body’s process for converting oxygen into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the substance the body uses to carry energy. The more ATP molecules that are produced, the more potential there is for energy. The reason the body breathes is to intake oxygen, which gets transported to different organs and tissues, to be taken into the mitochondria so they can produce energy. The brain uses more energy than any other organ, unsurprising given it takes in so much information, and sends out signals to the central nervous system to other organs and/or muscles for a certain action to be taken. Energy is required in the muscles to help them move and support the body’s structures. Sufficient amount of energy is required to support all of the functions in the body in order for us to stay healthy.
Why Is Mitochondria Important For Healing?
As the body ages, a decline in mitochondrial activity and quality is normal. Correlated with this decline is the development of many age-related diseases. Activity and quality of our mitochondria is linked with our own activity levels, and a decrease in physical activity can lead to less functional mitochondria, which can lead to less energy being produced for the rest of the body. An increase in endurance based exercise can counteract the decrease in mitochondria activity. The increase of mitochondria and quality of their function is called ‘biogenesis’. One study on the impact of regular exercise on the body, in particular endurance based exercise, found a link between this and a significant increase in mitochondria biogenesis in different tissues in the brain. This can explain why regular exercise can make us feel like we have more energy, feel more active and boost productivity.
Relationship Between Mitochondria & Inflammation
Inflammation is an immune response to let us know of an issue, it’s the start of the healing process. Conversely, with chronic pain, inflammation is present for longer than it should be. In the elderly, there can exist a low-grade, chronic state of inflammation that causes pain. This is often referred to an ‘inflammaging’. Inactivity – either from lack of exercise during the day, or perhaps having a desk job – can cause the body to damage its own mitochondria, as the body is not using the energy that has been produced. Research has suggested that damaged mitochondria can trigger an immune response I.e. pain from inflammation, and is one of the reasons why this chronic state of inflammation can exist. This highlights clearly the importance of mitochondrial, as if you’re not looking after your body and not using the energy produced by the mitochondria, your body will start to destroy the energy factories, triggering an inflammatory response which can cause pain and make you more susceptible to diseases.
Mitochondria & Laser Therapy
One of the treatments here at The Mayfair Clinic is laser therapy – a treatment that helps to decrease inflammation and speed up the healing process using different wavelengths of light. One of the wavelengths used, penetrates the deepest tissues and is absorbed by an enzyme that is heavily involved in the electron transport chain, the main process of the mitochondria’s production of energy. Increasing the activity of the enzyme results in the creation of more ATP, the body’s source of energy, which creates faster and more efficient cellular repair. These processes originate with the mitochondria, so when you have laser therapy you are improving the mitochondria health in the targeted area.
Improving Mitochondria Health
By now you’re probably wondering how to improve your mitochondria health, and prevent your mitochondria health from declining. One of the best ways to improve mitochondria quality, as previously mentioned, is exercise. As a completely free pastime, this is an easy way to improve your health. Going running, using a cross-trainer, going cycling or swimming, will all stimulate mitochondria biogenesis. You can also take good quality supplements that can help to improve your mitochondrial health. These supplements can be quite expensive as they contain high-quality ingredients. If you suffer from chronic pain and would like to speed up your rate of healing ini an area, laser therapy can help with specific areas to stimulate energy production, and therefore healing. It’s worth noting, all of these techniques take time and consistency to see results.
As you set out on improving your general and mitochondrial health for whatever reason, it is important to start with the basics before resorting to supplements or treatment. These basics are sleep, exercise and nutrition. Ensuring you are getting good quality sleep is important, as it’s where the body gets most of its healing or repairing done. Getting enough exercise, endurance and strength based, is key to overall health and mitochondrial health. Eating right so you get enough nutrients is another must – without feeling your body well enough through what you eat, there is little point in trying to optimise your health through supplementation.
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