Mitochondria, as you may have learned in 8th grade science class, is the powerhouse of our cells. Mitochodrnia increase ATP which is the “gas” for our energy “tank”. We use ATP for everything from walking to intense Crossfit workouts like Murph. Studies have profoundly linked decreases in mitochondria to” neurological and muscular degeneration. cardiovascular disorders, obesity, diabetes and aging”.
Let the biohackers ( i hate that term) comb through random research studies in hopes of finding the holy grail of increasing mitochondrial function. These 6 natural ways to increase mitochondria work and you can start implementing them quickly.
1) Give your mitochondria what they need.
Obviously I was going to include some type of dietary recommendation in this article. Your mitochondria can use fats or they can use carbohydrates. Fats are the preferred source to improve mitochondrial function because they create less free radicals (cell stressors). Fats like organic extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, MCTS and omega-3 fish oil are more efficient at increasing mitochondrial health. Plus pasture raised eggs, grass fed beef, wild caught fish and bison just taste delicious.
2) Intermittent fasting once or twice a week.
Fasting increases mitochondria since less free radicals will be generated. On top of the multiple other benefits of fasting, mitochondrial health will be improved and you’ll have more energy.
3) Improve your sleep routine.
I’ve read about sleep routines before, studies have shown that even one night of bad sleep increases mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondria is needed to remove cellar waste from the body, especially the brain. This only happens when you sleep. If you aren’t getting enough sleep you aren’t going to remove cellular waste. Not to mention your performance the next day is going to be limited.
I know, that’s vague. There’s a variety of ways to use temperature stress to boost mitochondrial health.
Heat exposure via a sauna increases the mitochondria “space” or potential to generate more ATP. While I know a sauna is limited, some of these same benefits can be seen with time in the sun. In addition the bump in Vitamin D won’t hurt either.
Then we have cold thermogenesis which has been shown to directly increase new mitochondrial growth. The easiest way is to get in a cold shower for about 45-60 seconds. Ice bathes, obviously, are helpful if you can do that.
I can’t stress this enough. Exercise in of itself boosts mitochondrial function. it’s a good thing to exercise but most people ignore the fact that you need both low intensity and high intensity exercise for the optimal amount of mitochondrial health.
We weren’t just meant to go for a long walk and it’s certainly not advantageous to have one hard CrossFit style workout during the day. Not to mention that either option may not appeal to you.
What we need to do is a mix both. A hard workout then a walk around dinner. A easy morning bike ride followed by some bodyweight exercises at night. This dual type of program will increase the efficiency of our caloric burn while giving us those “feel good” hormone boosts.
We’re always looking to get the slightest advantage in our performance and continually tap into new supplement, recovery, nutrition and sleep techniques. Ironically, they all seek, in some ways, to boost or improve mitochondria
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