January 19, 2015
302 Mitochondria Nutrients [19 Jan 2015]
Last week I wrote about a book by Lee Know, ND, called “Life – the Epic Story of our Mitochondria”. In it I was impressed by the interrelationship among the many nutrients required for mitochondria to function properly and produce the energy our bodies need for health.
The TCA Cycle which converts glucose and fatty acids to acetyl-coA requires vitamins B1, B2, B3 & B5, minerals iron, sulfur, magnesium & manganese, the amino acid cysteine and alpha lipoic acid (ALA). The Electron Transfer Chain (ETC) which converts the acetyl-coA to ATP energy has CoQ10 (#159 Apr 2012) as one of its essential steps. The ETC also requires vitamins B2 & B12 and minerals iron, sulfur, copper & zinc.
The amino acid L-carnitine (#168 June 2012) is essential for moving long chain fatty acids into the mitochondria where they can be burned for energy. Oxygen is essential for efficient production of ATP by oxidative phosphorylation and requires iron in the form of hemoglobin for transport to the cells. Without adequate oxygen ATP is produced anaerobically resulting in the buildup of lactic acid (causing muscle pain including angina) which requires carnitine to clear it.
In addition to its role in the TCA cycle, ALA is necessary for the production of the antioxidant glutathione. Glutathione is the most important antioxidant in the mitochondria (more on this next week). ALA is also essential for regenerating NADH back to NAD+ so the first step in the ETC can be repeated. As I explained in an earlier article on ALA (#89 Nov 2010), only the R(+) isomer of ALA is bioactive.
Creatine holds and donates the phosphorus ion to convert ADP to ATP; when used as a supplement creatine increases endurance in athletes and improves brain and heart function.
A deficiency of any of these nutrients slows the production of ATP energy in the mitochondria causing fatigue and the reduced function of the organ(s) involved. That’s why there is no simple answer to the question “Why do I feel so tired all the time?”
Next week – free radicals and the mitochondrial theory of aging.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.