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Mitochondria and How It's Totally Possible for You to Create Abundant Energy

Mitochondria and How It's Totally Possible for You to Create Abundant Energy


What are they, and why do you need them?

A mitochondrion (plural: mitochondria) is one of the organelles of a cell. An organelle is a specialized part of a cell that fulfills a particular function. The main job of mitochondria is to produce energy for biochemical reactions and metabolic processes in cells. The main effect you feel from mitochondria functioning properly is having energy available to move your body, think, and keep your organs functioning. The cells in organs that require a lot of energy, such as muscles and the liver, have a relatively high quantity of mitochondria. (National Human Genome Research Institute, 2023)

In fact, mitochondria do a lot more than just produce energy, and it cannot all be covered here. However, their roles in cell destruction and repair are briefly discussed below as well.



How do they produce energy?

You can think of mitochondria as the digestive system of a cell. (BYJU'S, 2023) When you eat food, mitochondria break it down into nutrients to release the energy to carry out biochemical reactions inside the cells of your body. That process is called oxidative phosphorylation, which is combining a substance with oxygen and adding a phosphate molecule to it, and the molecules of energy produced by mitochondria are called adenosine triphosphate (ATP).



They giveth and they taketh away.

Mitochondria truly power life. You might then be surprised to know that they also decide when to kill cells inside your body. To ward off ailments such as cancer, for example, old or damaged cells need to be purged from the body and replaced by healthy ones. Mitochondria release a compound called cytochrome C, which in turn triggers an enzyme, or a protein that speeds up metabolic processes within a cell, that promotes the destruction of unhealthy cells. That process is known as apoptosis.

However, it’s not always necessary to throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak. Through a different process called mitophagy, mitochondria can help repair damaged cells instead of destroying them altogether. Mitophagy works by removing unhealthy organelles within a cell while it’s still not too late to save the cell. The removed organelles are then regenerated to reinvigorate the health of the cell. (Oliveira A, 2021)



Why spending energy creates even more energy

Exercise is known to be a natural and effective way to increase the quantity of mitochondria in your body’s cells through a process called mitochondrial biogenesis. (Golen T, 2021) Think about that for a second. If mitochondria are directly responsible for producing the energy molecule ATP, and if exercising naturally leads to an increase in the quantity of mitochondria in your body, then exercising naturally increases your overall energy levels. (Mateo, 2020)

Another thing to know about exercise’s effect on mitochondria is that mitochondria join together in a reticulum, or network, within your skeletal muscle via a process called fusion. (Oliveira A, 2021) By creating new mitochondria through exercise, the reticulum grows longer and larger, resulting in stronger, healthier muscles. Think about that for a moment as well. The stronger you become, the less strenuous mundane physical tasks become, leading you to perceive having higher energy levels.

So, while it may be counterintuitive, spending energy won’t deplete it, assuming you continue to eat and take in adequate nutrients to keep your body’s cells nourished. Mitochondria, by and large, respond favorably to the physical exertion required from training, with increased mitochondrial respiration that leads to better muscle endurance. (Huertas J, 2019) This is why, for someone who’s sedentary and wants to start feeling more energetic, taking the initiative to exercise vigorously is a natural and proven way to overcome a low-energy state.




BYJU'S. (2023). Mitochondria. Retrieved October 11, 2023, from byjus.com: https://byjus.com/biology/mitochondria/

Golen T, R. H. (2021, July 1). Does exercise really boost energy levels? Retrieved October 11, 2023, from Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/does-exercise-really-boost-energy-levels

Huertas J, C. R. (2019). Stay Fit, Stay Young: Mitochondria in Movement: The Role of Exercise in the New Mitochondrial Paradigm. Hindawi. doi:10.1155/2019/7058350

Mateo, A. (2020, December 17). 5 Ways to Boost Your Mitochondrial Capacity. Retrieved October 11, 2023, from www.bicycling.com: https://www.bicycling.com/health-nutrition/a34825600/5-ways-to-boost-your-mitochondrial-capacity/

National Human Genome Research Institute. (2023, October 9). Talking Glossary of Genomic and Genetic Terms / Mitochondria. Retrieved October 11, 2023, from www.genome.com: https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Mitochondria#:~:text=Mitochondria%20Mitochondria%20are%20membrane-bound%20cell%20organelles%20%28mitochondrion%2C%20singular%29,triphosphate%20%28ATP%29.%20Mitochondria%20contain%20their%20own%20small%20chromos

Oliveira A, R. B. (2021). Exercise Is Muscle Mitochondrial Medicine. York University, Muscle Health Research Centre, School of Kinesiology and Health Science. Toronto, Ontario: American College of Sports Medicine. doi:10.1249/JES.0000000000000250


*This newsletter has not been authored in whole or in part by any artificial intelligence tools.
*No content on this site, regardless of source or date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.


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