Mitochondrial Dysfunction: The Root Cause of Your Disease

by | Nov 1, 2017 | Lupus Blog | 0 comments

We all know that Lupus is an autoimmune disease.  We also know that multiple autoimmune diseases can co-exist.

Because Lupus can mimic so many other diseases in its symptom manifestations, I’ve worked to really understand the “root” cause of Lupus, and in the process found that most of the diseases we “codify” and name in medicine are all, at the root, a mitochondrial dysfunction.

How diseases manifest are then codified and “treated” (with medications) to suppress the symptom manifestations, while never really questioning the cause.

The basis for medication is to treat the disease.  But in most cases, Lupus doesn’t get refuted as a dysfunction that can be reversed.

So while I’ve been diagnosed with Lupus, I choose to address the underlying cause of my systemic “dysfunction” so that I can modify my lifestyle, to improve and reverse not only Lupus, but restore optimal health.

Mitochondrial Dysfunction

The mitochondria, found in every cell, produce the energy our bodies use to function.

These organelles are able to convert food and transform it into energy through a very complex biochemical process, much like the combustion of fuels in a car for power.

Understanding the fundamental structure, integrity, and function at the molecular level will allow us to understand exactly where the dysfunction lies so we can address it at the root and restore function in our bodies.

For you, I feel this understanding will empower you to know that you are in control over the function of your body. And that means, it can be restored again.


Mitochondrial Dysfunction: The Root Cause of Your Disease

3D image of a mitochondria

Mitochondria are known as the powerhouses of the cell.  Trillions of cells make up the human body, and we are only as good as the health of our cells.

Mitochondria are organelles that act like a digestive system, taking in nutrients, breaking them down, and creating energy for the cell.

The membrane of the mitochondria is very important in regulating what enters and exits the cells, and it’s where the hydrogen ion activity produces ATP. ATP is energy for our muscles, organs, and brain.

Inside the mitochondria is what we refer to as the matrix.  If the inner membrane of the mitochondria, referred to as the cristae, is damaged, research proves that the onset of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and a host of other diseases can result.

To put into perspective, 10% of your body is mitochondria, which generates and consumes your body weight in ATP everyday.

So if you are 200 lbs, 20 lbs of that is mitochondria, and that mitochondria is able to generate 200 lbs of ATP per day to support your body.

The mitochondria is the powerhouse that you want running efficiently.

Functions of Mitochondria

Mitochondria is in our heart, liver, kidneys, ovaries, and most importantly, in our brain.

They’re responsible for cell signaling, homeostasis in the body, and various biochemical pathways.

Mitochondria use oxygen, and their fuel is our food.

When we eat, food digestion begins in our mouth, then it is broken down in our gut, and finally it enters the small intestine. This is where all the cellular exchange occurs.

Additionally, this food exchange into elemental energy can require lots of energy and produce free radical damage as a result.

We need enough molecules, such as carbons, hydrogen, and oxygen, to safely convert our food into fuel that our bodies can use for energy.

The process is too complex to discuss here, but the point being that we need water, air, micronutrients, and phytonutrients to drive this combustion forward without damage.

Nutritional deficiency over time will cause mitochondrial deficiency.

Mitochondrial deficiency can lead to dysfunction, which then leads to diseases like autoimmune, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, and heart disease.

If the nutrients in the mitochondria are not sufficient, then we will have damage in the body from the combustion, resulting in DNA fragments.

The body needs to engulf and digest these debris through a process call apophagy (cell death), but if the body cannot clear these fragments, our immune system will be on overdrive, leading to autoimmune conditions due to adaptive immune response to such damage.

Make sense?

So when there’s a mitochondrial dysfunction, it can manifest in the kidneys as proteinuria, for example, as there’s not enough energy to bring the protein back into the body.

In conclusion, our body is a complex, self adapting system and we need to be vigilant in supporting it at the molecular level in order to impact our health.

Consequently, adding medications leads to further mitochondrial dysfunction and other secondary symptoms that are not favorable.

Causes of Mitochondrial Dysfunction

  • Oxidative stress: too many damaging particles in the body from toxins in food and environment
  • Eating foods with a high glycemic load
  • High fat intake (trans fatty acids)
  • Environmental toxins
  • Micronutrient deficiencies

Think of your body as the combustion engine that becomes inefficient due to too much bad fuel, and it begins to smoke toxins if the causes mentioned above become too much of a burden.

Oxidative stress can lead to the following damages, ultimately resulting in disease

  • DNA
  • Fats: oxidation of fats, specifically LDL
  • Sugars:  high HbA1C (when your cells become riddled with sugar, causing mitochondrial stress)
  • Protein, the building blocks of our cells
  • Micronutrient deficiency: causes the combustion to be inefficient as the system can’t go forward. Rather things get backed up and further break, affecting the abilities of our bodies to produce energy

Some key organic pollutants can also alter our mitochondrial efficiency

  • Acetominophen
  • Aspirin
  • Statins
  • Antibiotics
  • Chemo agents
  • Metformin
  • Tamoxifen
  • Valproic acid

Mitochondrial Dysfunction is a Vicious Cycle

  1. Increased oxidative production in our body
  2. Declining immune function
  3. Accumulation of oxidative products

Remember, we have over 100,000 oxidative attacks to our cells per day.

As lupus or autoimmune patients, we have a mitochondrial dysfunction.

Below are some diseases associated with mitochondrial dysfunction at the root

  • Cognitive decline and impairment/dementia and Alzheimer’s
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Cancer
  • MS, restless leg, neuropathy
  • Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Autoimmune
  • Stroke
  • Mood disorders
  • Multiple chemical sensitivities

The Brain and Oxidative Damage Due to Mitochondrial Dysfunction

The brain is uniquely vulnerable to oxidative damage, which is a good reason why you are tired and struggle with foggy brain.

This is because:

  • There’s fewer mitochondria in the brain, as opposed to the heart for example, by a factor of 10
  • The brain consumes more energy than any other organ on a daily basis
  • The diseases listed above affect neuronal tissue (brain tissue) first before any other tissue
  • The brain has low tolerance for low oxygen states
  • Oxidative damage can cause cognitive dysfunction

I can assure you that we can restore the health of our cells to ultimately reach homeostasis, and then our bodies can take over the healing process.

We must help it to do that.

How to Reverse Mitochondrial Dysfunction

  1. Consume antioxidants/phytonutrients: These compounds are in vegetables and fruits, but because fruits have fructose which can produce oxidative stress in our body, we need to be careful of how much.  Focus on eating a rainbow of vegetables, meaning you eat a variety of colors, and eat vegetables that are in season and local.
  2. Caloric restriction:  12 hour fast from dinner to breakfast daily and work up to 15 hours to allow for regeneration and to decrease oxidative load to our bodies.
  3. Exercise:  Walking, jogging, yoga, and strength training will help with mitochondrial density by 67% and improve insulin sensitivity
  4. Epsom salt bath (water hot enough to make you sweat)
  5. Hydration
  6. Sleep
  7. Take probiotics (diverse strains), fish oil, curcumin, lipoid acid, and coq 10. Drink green tea for polyphenols which are anti oxidative
  8. Avoid alcohol and toxic foods (processed foods)

I hope this was helpful for you in better understanding the root cause of your disease. Please share this with anyone who would benefit from it.

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