Mitochondria are cellular organelles and energy powerhouses. They exist in every cell in the human body except for red blood cells and are responsible for creating more than 90% of the cellular energy needed by the body to sustain life and growth. They are responsible for maintaining the production and regulation of ATP, an important metabolic energy byproduct. When mitochondria fail, less energy is generated within the cell. Cellular injury and even cell death follow. And, diseases of the mitochondria appear to cause the most damage to cells of the brain, heart, liver, skeletal muscles, kidney and the endocrine and respiratory systems. So, which diseases have been found where mitochondria functions have been disrupted?
Research has shown that mitochondrial dysfunction is at the core of many human conditions including: Alzheimer’s Dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), mental retardation, epilepsy, deafness and blindness, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Additional scientific data in recent years also suggest that autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Sjogrens syndrome, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis all appear to have a mitochondrial “root cause”. Furthermore, while evaluating toxic effects of chemicals on human cells, it is often found that mitochondria are effected and have led to abnormal functional consequences.
Have we ignored these cellular organelles for too long? Most definitely. The conventional teaching in biology and medicine is that mitochondria’s sole function is to produce and maintain energy for the cell. This is definitely an oversimplification. It has prevented us from asking important questions: how are mitochondrial dysfunctions affecting not only cellular health but overall human health? And what kinds of treatment options can alleviate disease symptoms?
Food for thought? If you’d like more references or reading on disease symptoms, let us know!
~Lilly of Tempo’s Support Team