Short and sweet: Mitochondria are located inside our cells and take in glucose and oxygen from the food we take in daily. They produce energy, packaged as molecules of so-called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). This process is essential for our health, well-being, and longevity and is known as cellular respiration. Some cells have several thousand mitochondria, while others have none. On the one hand, muscle cells, On the one hand, muscle cells, for example, need a lot of energy, so they have thousands of mitochondria. On the other hand, neurons (cells that transmit nerve impulses) don’t need as many.1, 2
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- Now in more detail
- Fun fact for the end: It’s estimated we make about our body weight in ATP every day.
- Sources and References:
Now in more detail
Several chemical reactions occur when the end products from the digestion find their way into the cell. Some energy contained in the products we consume incorporates into ATP (adenosine triphosphate). You can see this as a multi-layered and reoccurring recycling process.
Mitochondria are tiny, often only between 0.75 and 3 micrometers and have two membranes with each membrane having different functions: 3
- Outer membrane: Small molecules can pass through
- Intermembrane space: Area between the inner and outer membranes
- Inner membrane: Impenetrable membrane, ATP is created here
- Cristae: Folds of the inner membrane, increase the space available for chemical reactions
- Matrix: This is the space within the inner membrane. Mitochondrial DNA is here.
Keeping mitochondria healthy is essential for cells to work optimally. And isn’t that what we as biohackers crave most?4 When cells perform well, our tissue is healthier. And when our tissue is healthier, we enjoy better health and performance. When mitochondria are not functioning efficiently, they lose their energy-producing capacity; a higher number of free radicals escapes and causes damage to the cell, which can lead to early cell death. Research over recent years is indicating that the health of mitochondria is very much lifestyle and diet-dependent. Excessive consumption of sugary foods and beverages or lack of exercise are all factors shown to reduce mitochondrial efficiency, and more free radicals leak out into the cell. By participating in regular exercise, daily consumption of the right nutrients, avoidance of sugary foods, control of appetite, and avoiding smoking, anyone can boost their mitochondria.5, 6, 7 Also, biohacks such as intermittent fasting and red-light therapy have shown to be lifestyle changes that support your mitochondrial health and bring it to the NEXT LEVEL. We use both techniques and see it as the perfect primer for a balanced and long life. I mean, hey, we’ll be 200, how about you? 8
Apart from the effects mentioned above, mitochondria play an essential role in the aging process and the onset of degenerative disease.9 Aging is the progressive deterioration of cellular function caused by the accumulation of cellular damage. Nine characteristics of aging have been identified by science, and mitochondrial dysfunction is named as one of them.
Fun fact for the end: It’s estimated we make about our body weight in ATP every day.
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Sources and References:
 Focusing on mitochondrial form and function. Jun. 2018
 The role of mitochondrial function and cellular bioenergetics in ageing and disease. Jul. 2013
 Cellular and molecular mechanisms of mitochondrial function. Dec. 2012
 The rise of mitochondria in medicine. Sep. 2016
 The Role of Nutrients in Protecting Mitochondrial Function and Neurotransmitter Signaling: Implications for the Treatment of Depression, PTSD, and Suicidal Behaviors. Nov. 2016
 Feeding mitochondria: Potential role of nutritional components to improve critical illness convalescence. Jun. 2019
 How mitochondria respond to exercise, high fat diet. Feb. 2020
 Proposed Mechanisms of Photobiomodulation or Low-Level Light Therapy. May 2017
 Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Aging and Diseases of Aging. Jun. 2019