Mitochondrial Health Part 4 – Supplemental Support
We have already discussed some important methods and supplements but since it is such a complex subject, in this newsletter I will try and give reasons why these additional supplements should be considered as important activators for improving mitochondrial health by increasing ATP and energy within our cells. These supplements have multiple benefits beyond helping the mitochondria, but for the sake of this newsletter I will keep it specific to mitochondrial health benefits.
This is a sugar found within beef, eggs, and dairy. Aging, and exercise can reduce ATP, and D-Ribose will bring back energy from lowered ATP. Taken by capsule or powder in ranges from 3-5 grams is recommended. From what I have read on it, taking it for one month to see if it is helping. There was a study in 2015 from Ohio State that showed an improvement in congestive heart failure in 64% of the subjects when supplementation of D-Ribose was administered over six weeks. Cautions: Some people report gastrointestinal symptoms and lowered blood sugar when taking it, so anyone with hypoglycemia or even those who are on insulin need to be cautious.
This is an antioxidant found in the seeds, and skins of grapes and berries. This study in 2017 showed improvement in mitochondrial respiratory dysfunction. There does not appear to be any cautions to be concerned about with resveratrol.
An amino acid that transports long-chain fatty acids into your mitochondria which is then processed for energy. We make L-carnitine from other amino acids (lysine and methionine), but we may need more as we age. Vegans might be low in L-carnitine. Recommended dose is 500-3,000 mg/day and it is best to take on an empty stomach so as not to compete with other amino acids. There is another form of L-carnitine called acetyl carnitine which is better for the brain so if the symptoms of fatigue are cognitive, I would choose that form.
All the B vitamins are involved with the Krebs cycle (also known as the citric acid cycle), which is part of the mitochondrial process of making ATP. B1 helps convert pyruvate into acetyl-Co-A which is essential for the synthesis of fats and the metabolism of carbohydrates. B vitamins are in whole grains, avocados, meat, fish, eggs, yogurt, tofu, seeds, and greens.
Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ)
PQQ encourages the growth of mitochondria and in one study it showed improvement in cognition and in another it showed an improvement in cerebral blood flow and oxygen metabolism in the prefrontal cortex. PQQ is in foods such as Natto (a fermented soybean product), parsley, kiwi’s, papaya, spinach, fava beans, cabbage, and bananas. You will also be happy to hear that it is high in cocoa (chocolate).
R Lipoic Acid
A sulfur containing fatty acid that is required (like vitamin B1) for the synthesis of acetyl Co-A and the metabolism of carbohydrates for energy. R Lipoic acid is better than the alpha lipoic acid because the alpha also contains the S form of lipoic acid which is a more biocompatible form. It may be necessary to supplement with biotin along with R lipoic acid.
While most think of creatine as a body building compound it also has anti-aging effects by lowering the accumulation of an aging marker called lipofuscin in the brains of aging mice. With creatine, the mice lived an average of 9% longer than the control group. A typical omnivore diet would provide about 1-2 grams per day. Dosing the creatine should be 1-4 grams daily. While some in the athletic community have taken much higher doses during a loading phase for short periods of time without any long-term problems there are some people who experience bloating and stomach discomfort with supplementation.
A polyphenol found in blueberries and grapes. Chemically like resveratrol, it has one hydroxyl group where resveratrol has three hydroxyl groups, and this makes it harder for the body to eliminate it. Its action is that it can mimic the beneficial effects of caloric restriction. A study showed that a group of mice fed a diet with Pterostilbene made their way through a maze better than a control group so there is evidence that it helps with cognition issues. Most capsules come in 100 mg doses.
The fourth most abundant mineral in the body, it participates in over three hundred biochemical reactions including the production of ATP. At a cellular level magnesium is stored in the mitochondria bound to ATP, which makes it usable for energy.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
A vitamin found throughout the body with the highest concentration in the heart, liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Ubiquinol, a more easily absorbed form of CoQ10, is best absorbed by the body. There is research showing that C0Q10 can slow the decline of Parkinson’s patients.
Urolithin A (UA)
This is a newly found compound naturally produced by our gut bacteria from ellagitannins or ellagic acid which are polyphenols found in pomegranates, berries, nuts, and teas. UA helps induce mitophagy which is the cleaning or recycling of dysfunctional mitochondria. The effect of UA is the blocking of inflammation in the brain and heart, two of the most densely packed areas of mitochondria in the body.
Arginine and Citrulline
Both these amino acids increase nitric oxide in our bodies, and this has been shown to increase mitochondrial benefits.
In addition to the above nutrients other antioxidants are also helpful such as omega 3 fatty acids found in fish, to help the mitochondrial membrane, and quercetin, a bioflavonoid found in fruits and vegetables. But perhaps the most interesting supplements that are rarely talked about for mitochondrial health will be the subject of next two newsletters. Stay tuned!