All these things are possible–if you give yourself a metabolic tune-up. How? One word: MITOCHONDRIA — the source of your energy.
What Are Mitochondria?
Mitochondria are the little factories in our cells that take the foods we eat and the oxygen we breathe and convert them into energy. That energy is called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, and it is used to support every function in our body.
When the mitochondria are damaged, you suffer all the symptoms of low energy–fatigue, memory loss, pain, rapid aging, and more.
Each cell holds hundreds or thousands of mitochondria; they are found in greater amounts in active organs and tissues such as the muscles, heart, and brain. 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.
Why are these are these little energy factories so important to your health? The answer is simple: Mitochondria are the place where metabolism happens. When your mitochondria aren’t working properly, your metabolism runs less efficiently or can practically shut down. Problems occur because these powerful energy producers are VERY sensitive to damage.
When they are damaged, you suffer all the symptoms of low energy–fatigue, memory loss, pain, rapid aging, and more. Fatigue is the most common symptom of poorly functioning mitochondria, and it is the reason we tend to poop out as we age. We add constant insult and injury to our mitochondria, and this causes them to break down and stop producing energy. The main way your mitochondria are damaged is by uncontrolled oxidative stress. That may sound complicated, but in reality we are all familiar with “oxidative stress” even if some of us don’t know what the term means.
Oxidation is the rust on our cars, the brown color that appears on an apple when cut and exposed to air, the rancid vegetable oil in our cupboards, even the wrinkles that form on our skin. What most of us don’t realize is that our own tissues are rusting, our own fats are going rancid, and our brains are melting as we go about our daily life. What starts this process is some insult — too many calories, smoking, a sunburn, exposure to toxins, anti-nutrients, sugar, and more — that tips the balance, starting a chain reaction of cellular and tissue damage that leads us down the long road to weight gain and chronic illness.
For a healthy metabolism eat less processed food, junk food, sugar, and empty calories. In fact, you should really avoid these things altogether.
What Is a Metabolic Tune-up?
Dr. Bruce Ames, a renowned scientist from the University of California, Berkeley, has spent the last decade discovering how we can give ourselves a metabolic tune-up. In one study, he gave two compounds to old rats who were tired, wouldn’t get on their treadmill or swim very far, and couldn’t find the cheese in the maze. These compounds make mitochondria run better, boosting metabolism.
They are alpha-lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine. Overnight, these old rats became young rats. They got onto the treadmill, swam long distances without fatigue, and could easily find the cheese in the maze, just like their young, healthy counterparts.
Tips for Giving Yourself a Metabolic Tune-up
The first step to giving yourself a metabolic tune-up is locating and eliminating the causes of damage to the mitochondria:
- Eat less processed food, junk food, sugar, and empty calories. In fact, you should really avoid these things altogether.
- Detoxify by getting rid of environmental and internal toxins.
- Cool off the inflammation in your body.
- Balance your hormones.
Once you’ve done that, you need to boost your mitochondrial function and provide the mitochondria with the correct environment to thrive:
- Try interval training, which increases the efficiency and function of your mitochondria, and strength training, which increases the amount of muscle and the number of mitochondria.
- Eat whole, real, colorful plant food. That’s eight to 12 servings of fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains every day. These foods are full of antioxidants and phytonutrients.
- Take mitochondria-protective and energy-boosting nutrients such as acetyl-L-carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, N-acetyl-cysteine, NADH, D-ribose, resveratrol, and magnesium aspartate.
- Increase your intake of omega-3 fats to help build your mitochondrial membranes.
Taking care of your mitochondria and giving yourself a metabolic tune-up will allow you to increase your energy, lose weight, and age well. It is a cornerstone of creating lifelong vibrant health.
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