You’re tired… all the time, and you don’t know why. You’re not alone.
Persistent fatigue is one of the top conditions that I treat in my clinic. It is real, extremely common, and often misunderstood in both traditional and alternative medicine. I know a lot about fatigue, having treated thousand of patients, and I’ve had it myself.
Unraveling fatigue can be quite complex because there can be so many contributing factors. These can include intestinal hyper-permeability (leaky gut), hypothyroid, toxins, hormonal imbalances, chronic pain, and mood disorders. But one often overlooked cause that should be top of the list is mitochondrial dysfunction.
What is Mitochondria and What Does it Have to Do with Energy?
Mitochondria are little organelles (cells within cells) known as the powerhouses of our cells. This is where our energy, called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), is made. Every cell in the body needs ATP to do its work. We have high concentrations of mitochondria in our brain, muscles, heart, liver, kidneys, eyes, and reproductive organs.
When mitochondria is working correctly, we have plenty of youthful energy. However, if there are not enough mitochondria, or their function decreases, our energy wanes and our organs that require the most energy suffer.
Symptoms of Mitochondrial Fatigue
Common symptoms of mitochondrial fatigue include:
- Brain Fog or Memory Problems
- Cardiovascular issues
- Weight gain, insulin resistance
- Headaches and/or migraines
- Excessive aches and pains after exercise
- Exercise intolerance
What Causes Mitochondrial Dysfunction?
- Normal aging: As we age the number of mitochondria decrease in our bodies. With less mitochondria, our bodies are making less ATP, and therefore less energy.
- Inflammation: It has been well established that inflammation is at the heart of chronic disease and mitochondria is no different. It takes a lot of energy to maintain inflammation and chronic inflammation eventually exhausts the mitochondria.
- Other factors that can impair the mitochondria include: alcohol, genetics, toxins, antibiotics, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, and statin drugs.
How Do I Know if My Mitochondria is Healthy?
As a Functional Medicine Doctor, I do specific testing for the mitochondria, using an organic acids test (OAT test). I generally use the Ion Panel, NutrEval, or the OMX test.
What Can I Do to Support My Mitochondria?
Fortunately there is a lot that can be done to regain your precious energy. Here are some therapeutic measures I recommend to my patients:
- Intermittent fasting which has been shown to help slow mitochondrial aging.
- Reduce stress
- Get some rest! Get 8 hours of sleep a night.
- Exercise. Specifically High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been shown to enhance mitochondrial volume and lower insulin levels.
- Eat a healthy diet including plenty of organic fresh vegetables, free-range, grass fed meats, and healthy fats like coconut, olive, and avocado oils.
- Cold immersion therapy like taking a cold shower or swimming outside has been shown to improve mitochondria.
- Supplements like Resveratrol, CoQ10, Lipoic Acid, Nicotinamide Ribosiide, NAC, and Curcumin are known to reduce oxidative stress, increase mitochondrial biogenesis, and decrease inflammation.
Want to Know Why You’re So Tired?
I can help you get to the root cause of your fatigue through specific testing, advice on supplementation and other remedies. I have been successful in using this approach in many of my patients, and in my own life. I invite you to contact me for a Free 15 minute consultation and we can start you on the road to optimal health.