Mitochondrial Support Supplements
By Alison Brooks, ND
Recently, our practitioner staff has been very interested in research on nutrition and mitochondria, the ‘power plant’ of our cells. Mitochondria have become the center of attention in anti-aging research in recent years, and key nutrients appear to support their function.
To perform a small trial, five of our clinic staff volunteered to take four nutrients for six weeks. Before we share those details, let’s explain the significance of mitochondria a little more.
Mitochondria are the engines of the cell. We can’t function without them. They are organelles, tiny organs within cells, that act like a digestive system that takes in nutrients, breaks them down, and create energy rich molecules for the cell. This process creates a lot of wear and tear on the mitochondria, just like burning gas in your car wears down the engine over time.
For basic fuel, mitochondria use oxygen, glucose, and fat. Like an engine, though, they need more than just fuel to keep things running well long term. The mitochondria need minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and other nutrients to protect them from damage. If your cells have an abundant supply of these nutrients to create energy without having to scavenge them from reserves in the heart and liver, the longer your body can run well at full strength.
For our clinic staff case study, we used four key nutrients, based on research that supports their role in mitochondrial health. To make the protocol more convenient and affordable, two of the products are in powder form, which greatly reduces the amount of pills needed daily.
D-Ribose: a simple carbohydrate and building block for ATP(energy). Supports muscle energy and exercise recovery. – 2 tsp powder, in water or juice, taken twice daily
L-Carnitine: helps cells use fat for energy, removes waste from mitochondria- 1 tsp powder, in water or juice, taken twice daily
CoQ10: antioxidant that protects mitochondria and supports energy transport -100 mg capsule twice daily
Magnesium: necessary for energy production and transport -100 mg capsule twice daily
The five staff volunteers, while reasonably healthy, all expressed challenges maintaining day to day energy. Poor sleep quality, brain fog and focus issues, and afternoon energy crashes were some of the common problems mentioned. Each of them answered a short survey to help identify their specific issues.
While we didn’t have the resources for a large double-blind trial, we thought this small test could help us understand first-hand how these nutrients might impact energy and well-being. After the six-week study period, our volunteers reported some very promising results.
All five noticed improved energy, well-being and ability to focus. Two stated that initially they felt as if they had a strong dose of caffeine without the ‘crash’, but that feeling subsided within a week, while energy levels remained improved. One participant also reported more restful sleep. Two reported less desire for alcohol or sugar. In summary, all five participants saw noticeable improvements in energy, and expressed a desire to continue the protocol after the six-week period. These nutrients show great promise for anyone looking to support their energy and mitochondrial function.
For more information about mitochondrial health or the supplements we used, call Alison Brooks, ND at (866) 910-1567