What is Mitochondrial Aging?
Mitochondrial aging is associated with a decline in a cellular process called mitochondrial biogenesis. This is the process by which cells produce new mitochondria to then produce new, healthy cells.
Why is this important when it comes to aging? Well…mitochondrial biogenesis is the process that fuels metabolic and cellular changes that affect our:
- energy and endurance levels
- ability to prevent disease
- stress levels
- brain health
- immune health
- general wellness
- and yes…our ability to age gracefully
You may have noticed that intermittent fasting, ketogenic diets, and fasting mimicking programs have become extremely hot topics lately. This is not just due to the weight loss and athletic endurance benefits. It is also due to the powerful regenerative and anti-aging effects that these calorie-restricting diets can induce. These latter benefits are the effect of cellular renewal, and it is the mitochondria in our cells that drives this incredible process.
I often say:
“if aging alone is the single most accurate predictor of disease, then the mitochondria should be the target of first step interventions to prevent it.”
This is because of the intricate interplay between mitochondria, our innate immunity, and the inflammatory response. Therefore, if inflammation is the root cause of most diseases (including aging), then it is only natural to prioritize mitochondrial health. Follow me, as I walk you through why prioritizing your mitochondrial health is a surefire way to not only achieve vibrant, abundant health, but also to help slow the hands of time.
What Actually Happens When We Age?
There are many working theories about aging that analyze the chemical, biological, psychological, and pathological aspects of the process (1). The most general way to think about the aging process is to understand that the body goes through many different changes over time.
We see the outward signs of aging most notably: our hair goes gray, our skin wrinkles, our eyesight and hearing weaken, etc. These outward changes are the effect of what is happening deep inside of our bodies on a cellular level. And, these cellular changes are the result of environmental impacts on the body.
The cellular process of aging is called senescence. Senescent cells are those cells that have reached their capacity for replication. When we are young and healthy, senescent cells are removed from the body in a process called autophagy. This is the process by which the body actually eats the proteins and organelles from these damaged cells to produce additional healthy cells.
When we age, autophagy decreases, inflammation increases, and tissues are destroyed within the body. This can lead to disease, mental decline, cancer, and eventually death.
Why Do Some People Age More Slowly than Others?
We’re learning more and more that the process of aging can be sped up or slowed down depending on the type of lifestyle that we lead. We all know that a healthy diet and regular exercise can increase our lifespan. And we should all know by now that things like processed foods, sugar, and alcohol can increase our chances of disease.
This is due to our metabolism: the set of life-sustaining chemical reactions in the body. The metabolism serves three main purposes:
- the conversion of the energy in food to energy available to run cellular processes
- the conversion of food to building blocks for proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and some carbohydrates
- the elimination of metabolic wastes
Thus, the foods that we put into our bodies have a direct impact on the ways that our cells renew and regenerate, which means that they also affect the way that we age.
We are also exposed to environmental toxins that can send us into a type of metabolic chaos, making it even more difficult for the body to function and safely remove and recycle damaged cells.
What Do Our Mitochondria Have to Do with it?
As I said above, the process of autophagy is a self-digestive process that helps our bodies to cope with cellular stress while regenerating new, healthy cells. It is the regulatory function of mitochondria in the autophagic process that helps us to accomplish this. Mitochondrial aging occurs when these processes slow down.
The good news is that it is possible to halt this mitochondrial dysfunction. Now that you have learned how your metabolism is tied to this process, we can talk about why calorie-restricting diets are proving to have such a dramatic impact on the aging process.
When fuel is in short supply the mitochondria have to use what is available to produce more mitochondria. For instance, when glucose is in short supply, the mitochondria will move to fatty acids as their primary fuel. Incidentally, during this shift, the mitochondria also simultaneously activate metabolic pathways that maintain blood glucose at constant levels.
Upon extended or intense metabolic challenges (for example calorie-restriction or intensive exercise), cells need to step up their game to make more ATP (energy) for the function of these important cellular processes. This in turn can set off an entire new set of processes that can change genetic expression and protein production and assemble new cellular structures of energy production. Because all cellular energy production is dependent on mitochondria, this is where mitochondrial biogenesis comes in. The more mitochondria the body has, the more energy it has to function.
4 Ways to Boost Your Mitochondrial Function and Reduce Mitochondrial Aging:
Below are my top four ways to support your mitochondrial function.
1. Intermittent Fasting/Ketogenic Diet
Intermittent fasting is an eating plan that switches between fasting and eating on a regular schedule. When fasting, the body experiences ketosis and undergoes a metabolic switch in its fuel source, from stored glycogen to fatty acids. If appropriate for a patient’s personalized treatment strategy, fasting benefits may include improvements in a range of areas such as mental or cognitive performance, cardiovascular health, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and a decline in mitochondrial aging. Fasting mimicking diets are also an incredible way to boost mitochondria.
2. Heat/Cold Therapy
Heat therapy, like sauna use, has been shown to increase the efficiency of mitochondria (4). The energy needs of mitochondria increase, resulting in better use of oxygen in the blood through a process called oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS).
Cold exposure, like ice baths and cryotherapy can also promote increased expression of mitochondrial biogenesis. (2)
3. Mitochondria -Boosting Supplememnts
ATP 360® is a comprehensive formula to support mitochondria and is backed by peer-reviewed, published clinical research.
• Supports the electron transport chain, forms ATP cellular energy & provides high dose CoQ10
• Restores mitochondrial membranes & reduces oxidative stress
• Maintain cellular membrane integrity
• Key nutrients to support the Krebs cycle
• Supports new mitochondria formation & helps increase mitochondrial mass supporting healthy function
4. Mitochondrial IV Therapy
This is a comprehensive IV therapy designed to repair and rescue your mitochondria for cells that need the largest amounts of energy, such as heart, brain, muscle and nerves, are affected the most by faulty mitochondria. It includes and can help with all of the following:
- MAH Ozone
- Alpha Lipoic Acid
- Methylocobalmin (B12)
- Magnesium Chloride
- Calcium Gluconate
Book Today: 561-283-1166
Read about my own struggles with Mitochondrial Dysfunction Here!
For more information on how you can boost mitochondrial biogenesis, increase your voltage and reclaim your power, book an appointment with me: 561-283-1166
I wish you all abundant health.
Wendy Finkelstein, PA-C
Tringali Vibrant Health
Wendy Finkelstein, PA-C
Tringali Vibrant Health Provider
Wendy Finkelstein is a board-certified Physician Assistant who believes that aging is a call for celebration and an opportunity to feel grateful for your body and its incredible ability to transform. She addresses the root causes of energy drainage that include immune function, latent infections, gut health, thyroid illness, hormone imbalance, metabolic inflexibility, fatigue, and accumulated bio-toxins.
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