Why Cellular Energy Matters
Cellular Energy: What It Is and How to Boost It
Here at the Pain Relief Institute, we get asked a lot of questions regarding general health and wellbeing. Many of the illnesses and issues plaguing people today stem from poor cellular health and a lack of cellular energy.
Billions of years ago, certain cells experienced an invasion by a group of microorganisms that were a form of bacteria. The resulting relationship between the cells and these new microorganisms was not parasitic but symbiotic. The descendants of the microbes later became mitochondria, the producers of cellular energy found in your own bod’s cells today.
The mitochondria play a very important role in maintaining your physical and mental health. By improving their functioning, you can increase cellular energy production and in turn boost your physical strength and reduce episodes of lethargy. In fact, boosting your health at this micro level can have a wide range of benefits that will improve your quality of life. But first, it is important to understand how the mitochondria work.
How Mitochondria Affect Cellular Energy
The mitochondrial process derives its energy from a molecule commonly known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate). This molecule is created entirely within the mitochondria, and it takes a lot of work to produce ATP as is required by the cell. To ensure that energy is supplied to the cell, a single ATP molecule will have to be recycled about a thousand times every 2 hours.
Since mitochondria evolved from independent microorganisms, they have their own unique DNA. Its DNA is more susceptible to oxidative damage than cellular DNA. This is because the biochemical processes that take place in the mitochondria (like cellular energy generation) produce a lot of dangerous free radicals that put your body at risk.
For years, scientists have been trying to understand the exact role of mitochondria in the aging process. One theory is that an increase in the frequency of mitochondrial mutations is responsible for aging and the issues associated with it. This theory comes from the observation that as people grow olde, they tend to have a higher count of mitochondria. However, this theory has never been proven conclusively.
Recent studies point to other factors that may indicate a link between mitochondria and longevity. These studies are revealing that this important component of the cell is not just a source of energy. It plays a critical role in maintaining the integrity of the cell. It is an agent that facilitates signaling between cells, stimulates the immune function, and modulates the production of stem cells for the regeneration of cells and tissues.
Oxidative stress can cause a lot of damage at the cellular level. Oxygen is a vital element that the mitochondria needs for the production of energy. It is used in the cell to produce adenosine triphosphate. However, because the mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell, it produces a lot of free radicals.
Free radicals are molecules that are missing one or more electrons. These molecules are released as a result of biochemical reactions. They are unstable and can cause a lot of damage as they try to restore their neutrality. They cause molecules of other compounds to disintegrate.
Along their path, free radicals are known to change the composition of certain compounds. In turn, these compounds trigger reactions at the cellular level that are known to produce even more potent free radicals. This chain of reactions has an impact on the DNA structure of the cell, and ultimately tissues and organs.
Antioxidants and Cellular Energy
To prevent this oxidative stress at the cellular level, it is important to take antioxidants. These are chemical compounds that can donate electrons to free radicals. However, unlike other compounds, they can provide the needed electron without turning into free radicals.
Antioxidants have other important functions. They encourage cell apoptosis to prevent the growth of tumors. Some antioxidants can attach themselves to the DNA to prevent the DNA from getting involved in biochemical reactions that would cause damage.
Two Ways to Protect the Body and Boost Cellular Energy
In order to ensure that your body is protected, there are two things you can do. One is to prevent the production of these free radicals at the cellular level. The other thing you can do is to increase the number of antioxidants in the body and to insulate your body from the free radicals. There are several ways you can protect your body from this kind of damage for longevity and overall health.
Better Nutrition and Cellular Energy
Whether you want to lose weight, reduce fatigue, or live longer, nutrition is the most important aspect of your health that you need to focus on. Research studies and health officials have often pointed out that nutrition is indeed the single most important factor for optimal health, and the same has proven to be true for our patients at our pain management centers in Chicago as they go through our various therapies and treatments.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has found that up to half a million people are killed by poor nutrition every year. Research studies going back decades have shown that the human lifespan can be increased by a third or more by reducing calorie intake while adopting a nutrient rich diet.
A nutrient rich diet is critical in boosting the body’s ability to fight radicals and contain oxidative stress. A nutritious diet contains the following minerals and vitamins critical for overall cellular function and the production of cellular energy:
- Vitamin B: Boosts cellular function, energy production, and the development of red blood cells.
- Riboflavin: Plays an important role in mitochondrial metabolism.
- Manganese and Magnesium: Maintain normal function of the cells and nerves and they are also involved in numerous cellular processes.
To produce sufficient cellular energy, it is therefore important to eat sufficient quantities of vegetables and fruits. However, besides having a nutritious diet, you also need to eat less. Consuming too much food puts a lot of strain of the mitochondria, and this produces a lot more free radicals than the body can handle.
It can be difficult to keep track of your calorie intake. but there are things you can do to stay lean and reduce the risk of getting obesity-related illnesses.
Take Alpha Lipoid Acid for Cellular Energy
One important nutrient you can add to your body to increase cellular energy production is alpha lipoic acid. This is an antioxidant that is found in various foods such as meat products and common vegetables like broccoli and spinach. It is well known for its role in nerve damage repair, and studies suggest that it can be effective in dealing with type 2 diabetes.
The alpha lipoic acid can help to improve cellular health and boost cellular energy production. It plays a critical role in facilitating the mitochondria to break down glucose for the production of energy. The antioxidant is also quite effective in cleaning free radicals, which are produced in large quantities when the mitochondria are engaged in its various metabolic processes.
alpha lipoic acid is one of the most powerful antioxidants. It has the unique ability to maintain its oxidative function once it loses an electron. Most of the antioxidants are incapable of doing this unless they are replenished by an external compound that can restore them. Alpha lipoic acid can maintain its oxidative function even after losing an electron. It helps to restore spent antioxidants and increase their levels in the body.
Another important function of this compound is in helping manage Type 2 diabetes. Although research on this subject is still ongoing, there is evidence to suggest that it can enhance the body’s ability to utilize insulin and thereby regulate blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes is caused by a reduced capacity for the pancreas to release insulin or to utilize it in breaking down glucose.
ALA is also beneficial to diabetics in that it can restore nerve damage that is common in people with the condition. Its nerve and restorative qualities also make it beneficial to people with conditions such as HIV and liver disease that cause nerve and tissue damage. If you choose to take the supplement for any of these conditions, seek your doctor’s advice. Even though taking ALA supplements is known to have little or no side effects, it can have unwanted consequences for people with cardiovascular conditions.
Supplement with Coenzyme Q10 for Cellular Energy
If you want to boost your cellular energy production, you should consider supplementing with Coenzyme Q10. This enzyme is critical for the ATP production process by the mitochondria. It is key in the electron transport system because it can transport two electrons at the same time. For this reason, Coenzyme Q 10 has been referred to as the spark plug that jump starts many important biological processes in the cell. It is found in all cells in the body, but it is often in higher quantities in organs that require more energy to perform their biochemical functions such as the liver, kidney, and heart.
CoQ10 is, therefore, one of the key compounds that can boost cellular energy. Small changes in the levels of CoQ10 in the body can affect organs and tissue especially those susceptible to deficiency. Humans tend to lose their ability to produce adequate quantities of the compound as they get older.
Taking Coenzyme Q10 empowers mitochondria that have lost the capacity to perform their functions including cellular energy production. It is the only element within the electron transport system that can be introduced in its full composition from outside the mitochondria. In the electron transport system, it acts as an agent that prevents free radicals that cause damage to the cell. It can restore spent water-soluble antioxidants like Vitamin E and Vitamin C.
Carnitine for Cellular Energy
Carnitine is one of the metabolic compounds that are essential for healthy growth at the cellular level and thus healthy cellular energy production. The compound is said to be a fuel for the cell because it provides high-octane fatty acids to certain cells in the body. Carnitine has been studied since the turn of the twentieth century and research shows that it can be useful in addressing serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and in boosting brain function.
Carnitine plays an important role in anti-aging. When used with R-lipoic acid, it has been found that it can restore the function of mitochondria to be as effective as that of young cells. The two compounds, when used together, have also been shown to be beneficial to the cells of young animals. Taking the supplements from early on in life could boost health and slow down the aging process.
The compound helps to repair damaged cells and the cell membrane. It clears up lipofuscin which is a pigmentation left after the breakdown of damaged lipids. The pigmentation is believed to be one of the main indicators of aging. Signs of lipofuscin can be seen in the retina, muscles, heart, and liver of aging animals and humans.
Another important function of carnitine is that it can boost immune function. It enhances the function of a certain type of white blood cell called the macrophage to function like a phagocyte. That means that the compound boosts the immune system’s ability to engulf and destroy pathogens as well as prevent cell apoptosis.
The ability of carnitine to regenerate cells and tissue and restore energy levels at the cellular level has made it beneficial in the treatment of certain diseases. For example, for people with Alzheimer’s, it has proven to be effective in restoring cognitive ability and brain function to a significant degree. It can also help people with other conditions such as kidney failure, ALS, and Parkinson’s.
The best food source for carnitine and its beneficial effect on cellular energy production is lean meat. It contains a much higher quantity of the compound than other types of meat. However, consuming red meat on a daily basis is not advisable. Experts suggest limiting weekly lean meat intake to 3 ounces per week. Other great food sources of the compound include fish, chicken, and pork.
Ginseng for Cellular Energy
Ginseng is an adaptogen herb that can help boost cellular health and cellular energy production. An adaptogen is an agent that neutralizes physical, emotional, and external stressors. It is an herb that has been highly valued for thousands of years. In ancient China, it was considered to be more valuable than gold. The word Panax comes from a Greek word which loosely translates to “all curing.”
The active compounds responsible for ginseng’s beneficial effects are known as ginsenosides. There are more than 50 ginsenosides that have been isolated by scientists. They have a diverse biochemical structure which is believed to be one of the reasons that ginseng is beneficial to people with diabetes, cancer, and various types of inflammation.
Ginseng has an anti-carcinogenic effect and research shows it has the ability to prevent cancer of the stomach, liver, and pancreas. Scientists have isolated ginsenosides Rg(3), Rg(5), and Rh(2), which are found in red ginseng. It has been identified as a safe biochemical agent with no side effects that can help prevent various types of tumors from developing.
Ginsenosides help to boost the immune system and prevent inflammation. These compounds help to regulate cytokine levels in the body. Cytokines are a group of proteins that act as a signal for the immune system and also control inflammation and hematopoiesis. One animal study showed that the compounds found in ginseng encouraged a positive immune response for subjects with a lung infection.
A daily dosage of ginseng has been shown to be effective in preventing the common cold when tested against a placebo. This speaks to the ability of the ginsenosides to modulate and boost the capacity of the immune system to fight external threats. It can be taken as a supplement to help prevent cell damage, promote cellular energy production, and promote overall health and well being.
Curcumin for Cellular Energy
Turmeric is perhaps well known as a spice and coloring agent. However, the plant’s medicinal properties have been recognized for more than 6000 years. The plant has a group of compounds referred to as curcumin which can suppress symptoms of serious conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s and even liver fibrosis.
Scientists believe that curcumin’s medicinal properties are due its exceptional ability to fight inflammation in the body. Years of research shows that the compound is capable of relieving the body’s oxidative stress produced by various biochemical processes.
Curcumin is capable of preventing the damage of cell lipids due to oxidation. This, in turn, prevents the cell from falling apart as a result of irreparable damage to its membrane. Besides playing the role of building cell membranes and storing energy, lipids act as chemical messengers between cells.
By preventing lipid peroxidation, it helps to encourage chemical signals that promote cells to take action against neurodegenerative diseases. Its ability to prevent degeneration of lipids is also believed to be the reason curcumin has shown to be capable of stopping tumor growth.
Curcumin promotes apoptosis which is the natural death of damaged cells in the body. Without atrophy, damaged cells would accumulate in the body and cause further damage to other cells. This could diminish cellular energy production and can even trigger a cancerous tumor.
Exercise for Cellular Energy
Exercise has been one of the things that doctors and health practitioners have consistently promoted as an answer to overall good health. It is one of the habits we are encouraged to adopt to keep cancer and serious cardiovascular conditions at bay. Exercise can significantly improve cognitive function, and prevent the degeneration of muscle and tissue that comes with age.
The reason why exercise seems to have so many benefits may derive from its positive effects at the cellular level. It boosts the production of important proteins that are needed by the mitochondria for cellular energy production. Exercise can prevent cell damage due to aging. Scientists have found that interval training has the greatest impact when it comes to boosting cellular function and the generation of cellular energy. Interval training involves doing short intervals of intensive workouts in between the normal workout routine.
Final Thoughts on Cellular Energy
You can boost your cellular energy by adopting a healthy diet full of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. You may supplement with alpha lipoic acid, Coenzyme Q10, or other herbal medications such as curcumin and ginseng. For the best results consider adopting a lifestyle that incorporates diet, exercise, and supplementation where necessary. To learn more, call our pain management clinic today or schedule your first consultation appointment and let us help you feel better and more energetic! Take that first step today and call us here at the Pain Relief Institute!