There has been a great deal researched and written about inflammation being the basis of chronic disease. What is less well publicised is how mitochondrial dysfunction is integral to the creation of many if not most diseases. It’s also a bit of a chicken and egg situation regarding what came first: inflammation or mitochondrial dysfunction?
Mitochondrial dysfunction may sound seriously sciency and not relevant to you, but here’s what you need to know:
- Mitochondria are the tiny energy factories in your cells that produce usable energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecules.
- A disease state is the end of the line, way downstream. Before you reach that, there are a whole suite of unhealthy traits and symptoms to slow you down and stop you bringing your ‘A game’ to life.
- Being tired all the time (TATT) is still a top reason that people visit their doctor. Tiredness is all about having insufficient energy to carry out your basal metabolic processes (running your body) and run your busy, modern life, whilst still having enough energy to love, laugh and enjoy life.
- Tiredness without sufficient cause (e.g. a late night out) is your body’s way of waving the red flag letting you know something is wrong. Leave it unaddressed and the result will be damage to your very precious mitochondria.
- Because our mitochondria contain remnants of bacterial ancestry, as well as their own DNA, damage and leakage of mitochondrial contents triggers the immune system, which leads to inflammation.
- Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response. It’s a powerful, flexible evolutionary system, to protect against infection and repair damaged tissue.
- Despite its crucial role in protecting the body, inflammation can also be inappropriate and “misplaced” leading to a wide range of chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune diseases, asthma, and multiple sclerosis.
- Inflammation plays a leading role in the most common causes of death worldwide, including atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic obstructive lung disease.
- Unresolved chronic inflammation will damage the mitochondria leading to the vicious cycle that march so many people steadfastly towards ill health, chronic and degenerative disease, reduced quality of life and early death.
If you knew that you could get your mitochondria back on track using simple, but quite specific, diet and lifestyle approaches, would you take action?
Mito & the mechanics: facts and fixes