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Super Aging through Mitochondrial Rehabilitation
"Wellness that is being allowed or the wellness that is being denied is all about the mindset, the mood, the attitude, the practiced thoughts. There is not one exception, in any human or beast; because you can patch them up again and again, and they will just find another way of reverting back to the natural rhythm of their mind. Treating the body really is about treating the mind. It is all psychosomatic. Every bit of it, no exceptions." Abraham
No matter how hard we try, we really can't stop the aging process. Even Dorian Gray had his comeuppance: After years and years of looking extraordinarily young and feeling annoyingly sassy about it, he looked in the mirror towards the end of the famous Oscar Wilde book and Blam! a scary old guy stared back at him.
We can't stop time and the ravages thereof but we can probably activate our forward slow-scan remote button at least for a while anyway. Eventually, we will get to the end of the movie, but for now, by taking a little extra care of ourselves we can age gracefully. Instead of the instant recoil when we first view our face in our new magnifying mirror, (usually a Major Blam! Event) let's try our best to delay and maybe even eliminate that seminal moment. It will happen to all of at one time or another: When we thought we would check out those fine lines around our mouth in our new magnifying mirror and instead were horrified to discover that those fine lines were actually arroyos. Yes, if only for our egos alone, it's important to try mitochondrial rehabilitation.
So, what am I talking about? Ninety percent of our energy is created by a tiny organelle called a mitochondria. Trillions of them live in each of our billions of cell, and each one of the trillion mitochondria act as our very own Energizer Bunny. Mitochondria perform two very important functions in our bodies, primarily having to do with energy and cell respiration. Inasmuch as our mitochondria have their own DNA, scientists are now saying that they were once a sort of primitive bacteria which evolved to using our body as a host. But, rather than being an unbalanced parasitical relationship where they take from us and we get nothing back, it's a win-win because we give them a place to live and, in exchange, they run our bodies. Another interesting fact about mitochondria is that every last single one of them we inherited from our mothers, nary a one from our fathers.
Teeny powerhouses, our mitochondria run on a fuel called adenosine triphosphate or ATP which we manufacture for them through the food we eat and the exercise we do. Not surprisingly, we have more ATP-fueled mitochondria when we are young than when we are older, and many of the degenerative diseases of aging are the result of the body's energy system failing at either the cell insulin-glucose transport level or at the intracellular level involving our mitochondrial power. Simply put, mitochondria breathe life into our bodies by absorbing energy nutrients while postponing death by exhaling the poisons out of our bodies via cellular respiration.
Mitochondria provide us with the energy to take our 5 mile hikes in the mountains so that we may (soon) view the gorgeous fields of vetch, lupine and paint brush or to cross country ski for 6 straight hours on a beautiful winter's day or to toss our giggling grandkids in the air without dropping them on the floor.
Some loss of energy is normal in aging, but some of us have an extreme and debilitating loss of energy. Mitochondria not only control our energy output and reserves, but scientists now think that they have a lot to do with how well we age and how long we live. Rather than make our aging process one long silent Munchean scream painful and embarrassing and with the inevitable admission to the Home for the Befuddled let's treat our little Energizer Bunnies well, so that they may keep banging the cymbals as long as we want them to.
Ok, so now I'm scared, Dr. Bea. How can I find out if I have ailing mitochondria? How old are you? Over 50? You have ailing mitochondria. Sorry. If you have a chronic disease, they are ailing. If you are a drinker, they are very disappointed in you. If you have taken or are taking lots of antibiotics, they are collapsing. (Remember they are a form of ancient bacteria and antibiotics are made to what? Kill bacteria.) Are you tired? So are your mitochondria. Elevated homocysteine levels? Tired and sick mitochondria. Congestive heart failure, take a statin drug, smoke nicotine or suffer any kind of neurological disorder? Unhappy mitochondria. This pretty much covers everyone, doesn't it?
Newsbrief: Homocysteine levels are very important in super aging. Below 6 units is extremely ideal, but that's only 10% of the population. Greater than 20 units is an extremely high risk right now of heart attack and stroke. What would be reasonably ideal for all of us would be something around 9-12 units.
Holy crapoly. Now I'm beyond scared and probably damaging my mitochondria just from worrying so much. (Yes, you are.) How can I keep my Bunnies clanging the cymbals? Here comes the fun part where I tell you what to do about it and turn you into - Ta Da! - A Super Ager!
First, however, I want to start out with what is bad for your mitochondria: Inflammation, a book in itself, but lots we can do about reducing it in our bodies. Aging. (Oh dear). Excess Free Radical Production. Poor Methylation, i.e. high homocysteine levels. Hormonal deficiencies. Toxins. Stress. EMF's, Grains and Sugar. An untreated leaky gut. Statin drugs.
What can I feed my mitochondria to keep them sassy? CoQ10: This is probably the best food for your Mighty Girl Bunnies. Its function is to stimulate the production of ATP, the high octane fuel that our mitochondria need to clean up debris and fuel up the engines. Take at least 100 mgs per day.
Vitamin C: This will help them eliminate toxins and reactive oxygen species (ROS) otherwise known as oxidative debris, our human version of rust. Sort of like us changing the oil in our car every now and again, except they can't change their oil and must cleanse constantly.
The Carnitines: Acetyl-l-carnitine is especially good for the brain mitochondria as it can cross the blood brain barrier and also acts as a spark plug. Try it. It feels like your brain is becoming alive with light. Take anywhere from 1 gram in the morning and 500 mgs at night to much more if you have any kind of cognitive decline. Then there is plain old l-carnitine for the mitochondria for our muscles and heart. This is the only nutrient that can transport fat to the Girls who then use it for food. Start with 1 gram and see how it goes. It's good to take the Carnitines with the Co Q's.
Alpha Lipoic Acid: One of my all-time favorites, I have been taking alpha lipoic for years now. It's the primary antioxidant that targets the mitochondria and it's great for the skin as it is both water and fat soluble. Also good for brain detox. Alpha lipoic seems to work on a deep molecular level - sort of like a mitochondrial Barefoot Contessa, if you will - preparing food for the fuel for the mitochondria. Our bodies cannot utilize sugar without the assistance of alpha lipoic acid which then primes the natural energy pathways of the body. It will also assist the Girls in neutralizing free radicals, a major source of mitochondrial dysfunction.
So, like, dude, I want to do everything possible. O.K. Let's start with exercise and I will make this very easy. Yes, this is an active thing you have to do, as Super Aging is not just about popping a bunch of pills whilst sitting on the couch feeling superior watching My 600 Lb. Life. It's been known for decades that aerobic exercise can increase the number of Mighty Girls by up to 50% in as little as 6 weeks. ( Wow!)
"To get the benefit, however, you need to do aerobic exercises (such as running, cycling, swimming or walking briskly) at an intensity that's at least half of your maximum capacity. This intensity needs to be sustained for at least 15-20 minutes per session, (Dr. Bea says more say, 30-40 minutes) three to four times per week (again, how about 5 or 6 times per week?)." Mitochondria and the Future of Medicine by Lee Know, N.D., 2018.
EMF's: Make sure you are not holding that cell phone directly to your ear or sleeping with it next to you on the nightstand. The low frequency microwave radiation from your cell phone, Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi routers, computers and tablets (when not in airplane mode) and cellphone towers rapidly kill your brain mitochondria creating a sure pathway to dementia. Turn off your Wi-fi at night, especially the router. Make sure that even your portable phones are at least 6 feet away from your head when you sleep. Make your bedroom a safe EMF haven. If you have a Smart Meter anywhere near where you sleep and hang out, take steps to protect yourself from it. You can start with aluminum foil and copper wire. Ask me.
Our Intrepid Girls love the cold. So, be brave and make yourself turn that hot water way, way down at the end of your shower and for 30 seconds, take as cold a shower as you can. Which has always lead me to ponder whether the historically long living people of the world ( e.g. Vilacambans and Hunzas) live longer because they live at altitude and in the cold. I thought at first it was the altitude that kept them healthy, but just lately, it's been proven that it's not. So maybe it's their happily cold mitochondria plus the daily walks up and down the mountain.
Here are some more supplements that help your mitochondria: B12: Take 2000-6000 mcg. depending on your lab levels. Add some good folate (not folic acid) to balance out the B12. Make sure your vitamin D levels are around 70, and balance that with Three K Complete from Thorne. Then, add as much good magnesium as your bowel can tolerate, 600-800 mgs. Of course, the (non-rancid open the gelcap and smell it) fish oil at 2000-3000 mgs per day. Add a good multi (Spectrum 2C is one). And you have the basics covered.
You could get all fancy and take polyphenols like resveratrol or even fancier and start adding pterostilbene which is enhanced resveratrol. The great thing about the last two is that they mimic calorie restriction which is another way to make your mitochondria happy. Then there are Branched Chain Amino Acids, Glutathione for chemicals, and OPC's like grape seed extract. Nicotinamide Riboside, too, is becoming quite popular for increasing the energy of mitochondria. NR is a form of vitamin B3 and is a potent precursor for the molecules NAD+ and NADH, which are both very important in super aging because they both have to do with mitochondrial energy absorption and release.
Fancier still is PQQ which seems to be the latest Super Aging darling. PQQ is an acronym for pyrroloquinolone quinone and it's a relative of the B vitamins. Of course our poor suffering mice did the research for us and as you may already suspect, when the unfortunate mice chosen to eat a PQQ-free diet were tested, it was discovered that they had 40% fewer mitochondria than the PQQ-rich mice. So it is important in mitochondrial biogenesis. Kiwi, papaya, parsley, green pepper, carrots, cocoa powder and eggs all contain PQQ.
You could also explore creatine, D-Ribose, Earthing and broccoli sprouts (Thorne's Crucera). A KetoPaleo Diet with Intermittent Fasting is excellent for your mitochondria too. (I have been eating this way since 2015.)
In future newsletters, I will talk more about Mitochondria, and also telomeres - our biological clock, whose health and length is dependent on the health of our mitochondria. And in discussions about Longevity and Super Aging, we can't leave out discussion about Neurogenesis, Stem Cells, BDNF and Sirtuins. And most fun, what can we do to keep them healthy and chugging right along?
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