Mitochondrial health is one of the most important and rarely discussed factors in your health and energy.  The mitochondria are the powerhouse of your cells that serve a variety of functions and which help to create health in your body.

However, mitochondria are highly sensitive to damage. When they are compromised and not working properly, you may develop a health problem. Poorly functioning mitochondria can result in fatigue, muscle aches and pain, digestive problems, respiratory problems, and an array of other symptoms as well as an increased risk of diseases.

In this blog, I want to share with you what mitochondria are, their major functions, the symptoms of mitochondrial problems and potential causes of these problems. Most importantly, you will learn some effective strategies to improve your mitochondrial health and cellular energy.


What Are Mitochondria

Mitochondria are specialized structures found in every cell of the human body with the exception of red blood cells. Mitochondria contain their own DNA.

Mitochondria are basically the powerhouse of your cells that serve as batteries to power a variety of functions in your body. They are responsible for generating 90% of cellular energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and for assisting metabolic functions.

Mitochondria are located in differing concentrations in various tissues throughout the body and are designed to serve the purpose of those specific tissues. For example, the mitochondria in your liver help to convert ammonia into a less toxic waste substance (1, 2).


Major Functions of the Mitochondria

The two main functions of the mitochondria include cellular respiration and energy production. These two functions are the main reason you need to both breathe and eat. Your mitochondria require both oxygen from air and glucose and fat from food in order to generate energy in the form of ATP (3).

Besides energy production and cellular respiration, the mitochondria play a role in other functions, including calcium homeostasis, cell growth, and cell death. 


Symptoms of Mitochondrial Problems

There may be various symptoms of mitochondrial health problems depending on the person and which organs the mitochondrial issues affect. Symptoms become more noticeable when there are many damaged cells suffering from mitochondrial damage in one organ (6, 7).

In some cases, mitochondrial problems only affect one single organ or one group of tissues. In other cases, they may affect multiple organs and entire systems. Those who have a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutation may experience a cluster of symptoms that relate to a specific syndrome (7).

Though they may present at birth, mitochondrial problems and diseases can develop at any age. Mitochondrial diseases may affect any cells and any part of your body, including the cells of your heart, kidneys, liver, pancreas, muscles, brain, nerves, eyes, or ears. A variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune conditions, migraine headaches, cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, metabolic syndrome, and many more diseases,  can lead to secondary mitochondrial dysfunction without the existence of primary mitochondrial disease and related symptoms (7).


Symptoms of Mitochondrial Problems May Include:

  • Fatigue
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia 
  • Cancer
  • Digestive problems, such as diarrhea, constipation, and acid reflux
  • Muscle aches, pains, and weakness
  • Cardiovascular problems and heart disease
  • Liver disease or dysfunction
  • Kidney disease
  • Neurological problems
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Migraine headaches
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • And many more diseases

Main Causes of Mitochondrial Problems

Mitochondrial problems may develop for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Genetic Issues
  • Toxin Exposure
  • Chronic Infections
  • Poor Lifestyle Habits


Lab Testing

If you are experiencing symptoms of mitochondrial problems, I highly recommend getting a comprehensive Organic Acid Test (OAT) done to look for biomarkers of Kreb Cycle Dysfunction. I absolutely love this test, because it provides so much information, including neurotransmitter factors, oxidative stress, gut health, methylation factors, and more within one simple test.

If you don’t like needles, this test is perfect for you. It is a simple urine test that looks at complex biomarkers from various metabolic pathways. These organic acid biomarkers are metabolic intermediates that are produced in pathways of central energy production, neurotransmitter breakdown, detoxification, and intestinal microbial activity. When specific organic acids are found accumulating, they often signal a metabolic insufficiency that may be related to nutritional deficiency, toxicity or an inherited enzyme deficit.


Biomarkers That The OAT Measures Include:

  • Mitochondrial energy production assessment via citric acid cycle components
  • Neurotransmitter metabolites to assess central nervous system (CNS) function
  • Vitamin and mineral insufficiencies
  • Amino acid insufficiencies, such as carnitine and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)
  • Oxidative damage and antioxidant sufficiency markers
  • Indicators to assess detoxification sufficiency
  • The best functional markers for b-complex deficiency
  • Lipoic acid and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) sufficiency markers
  • Specific dysbiosis markers for bacterial and yeast overgrowth
  • Methylation sufficiency status

Strategies to Improve Mitochondrial Health

Using some simple and natural strategies, you can improve your mitochondrial health and reduce the risk of mitochondrial problems and symptoms. My five favorite dietary and lifestyle strategies include a nutrient-rich nutrition plan, regular exercise, reducing stress, improving sleep, intermittent and extended fasting, and using key mitochondrial support nutrients.

  • Anti-Inflammatory, Nutrient Dense Nutrition Plan
  • Regular Moment and High intensity Exercise
  • Reduce Stress and Improve Sleeping Habits
  • Intermittent Fasting
  • Use Key Mitochondrial Support Nutrients 


The mitochondria are the powerhouse of your cells that serve a variety of functions and help to create health in your body, including energy production and cellular energy. Poorly functioning mitochondria can increase your risk of disease and can result in fatigue, muscle aches and pain, digestive problems, respiratory problems, and other symptoms.

Call today to get your testing underway!

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