Healthy With Nin - Go From Burnout to Fired Up
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Why you might be constantly fatigued.

energy fatigue metabolic health mitochondrial health Aug 12, 2023

Fatigue is a common complaint I hear from my clients. There are many causes of fatigue, ranging from poor sleep, low thyroid, low cortisol, toxicity and stress to inflammation, anemia, depression, hormonal imbalances and nutritional deficiencies. One factor that is often overlooked that is linked to each of these areas is the health of our Mitochondria. If you remember from 6th-grade science, Mitochondria are the energy-producing powerhouses of our cells, and their health plays a critical role in overall energy levels. Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to improve mitochondrial health and in turn, help alleviate fatigue.

remember a year after my daughter was born, I was suddenly hit with extreme fatigue. As in, it was a challenge to get up in the morning, get through the day (never without caffeine) and drag through the motions of making dinner, bathing my son and finally collapsing into bed every night exhausted. I knew my hormones were off. And I suspected I had gut dysbiosis (which I found out years later was true). But what I didn’t know is that my Mitochondria were probably also damaged.

What are Mitochondria exactly?

Mitochondria are organelles found in every cell in the human body. They are responsible for producing ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the main energy currency of the cell. ATP is used to power every one of our cellular processes, including muscle contractions, nerve function and protein synthesis. Fun fact: ATP needs magnesium to become active ATP (for all of you who know how much I talk about supplementing with magnesium!).

What’s really interesting is that we’re learning more and more about Mitochondria these days. They are so much more than energy producers. In fact, they may be controlling our cellular functions, not just powering them. That means when they are damaged, we have much more to worry about than energy production. For instance, research shows Mitochondria play a large part in determining when a cell will die by natural cell death. And when we’re low in anti-oxidants, our Mitochondrial DNA can be damaged and mutate, causing all sorts of issues for our brains and central nervous systems.

How can Mitochondrial Health Affect Fatigue?

When the health of our Mitochondria is compromised, this can lead to a decrease in ATP production, which can also cause fatigue. Things like oxidative stress, inflammation and nutrient deficiencies contribute to Mitochondrial dysfunction.

Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between free radicals (highly reactive molecules) and antioxidants (molecules that neutralize free radicals), damaging Mitochondria.

Chronic inflammation can lead to the production of cytokines (think of the cytokine storm referred to during the pandemic), which can impair Mitochondrial function and decrease ATP production.

Nutrient deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12, CoQ10 and magnesium, are essential for Mitochondrial function.

How to Improve Mitochondrial Health

  1. Exercise regularly: Exercise increases the number of Mitochondria in your cells and enhances their function.

  2. Eat a nutrient-dense diet: Aim for 7-9 cups of fruits/veggies per day, including 30+ colorful kinds per week (also great for gut health!). And make sure you get enough protein from pasture-raised, wild and grass-fed animals or organic legumes and soy.

  3. Reduce inflammation: Reduce chronic inflammation by eating an anti-inflammatory diet, managing stress and getting enough sleep.

  4. Take supplements: Certain supplements, such as CoQ10, magnesium and alpha-lipoic acid, can help support mitochondrial health.

  5. Reduce exposure to toxins: Environmental toxins, such as air pollution and pesticides, can damage mitochondria. By eating organic foods and using natural cleaning products (and hygiene products) you can significantly reduce toxin exposure.

Let me know if this is useful and if you notice any changes by implementing these tips.


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