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4 Essential Nutrients That Boost Mitochondrial Function

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Mitochondria synthesize ATP for energy. This 24x7 job causes structural damage that can be avoided by supplying nutrients to cells. Daily intake of D-ribose (ATP building block), L-carnitine (fat uptake and waste removal), magnesium (antioxidant), and CoQ10 (ATP synthesis and transport) can prevent the ill effects of mitochondrial damage such as sleep disorders and energy crashes.

Recently, our practitioner staff has been very interested in research on nutrition and mitochondria, the “power plant” of our cells. Mitochondria have become the center of attention in anti-aging research in recent years, and key nutrients appear to support their function. To perform a small trial, five of our clinic staff volunteered to take four nutrients for six weeks. Before we share those details, let’s explain the significance of mitochondria a little more.

More About Mitochondria

Mitochondria are the engines of the cell. We can’t function without them. They are organelles, or tiny organs within cells, that act like a digestive system that takes in nutrients, breaks them down, and creates energy-rich molecules for the cell. This process creates a lot of wear and tear on the mitochondria, just like burning gas in your car wears down the engine over time. For basic fuel, mitochondria use oxygen, glucose, and fat. Like an engine, though, they need more than just fuel to keep things running well in the long term. The mitochondria need minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and other nutrients to protect themselves from damage. If your cells have an abundant supply of these nutrients to create energy without having to scavenge them from reserves in the heart and liver, you body can run longer and well at full strength.

The 4 Essential Nutrients

For our clinic-staff case study, we used four key nutrients, based on research that supports their role in mitochondrial health. To make the protocol more convenient and affordable, two of the products are in powder form, which greatly reduces the amount of pills needed daily.

1. D-ribose

This simple carbohydrate is a building block for ATP (energy) and supports muscle energy and exercise recovery.

Dosage: 2 tsp powder, in water or juice, taken twice daily

2. L-carnitine

It helps cells use fat for energy and removes waste from mitochondria.

Dosage: 1 tsp powder, in water or juice, taken twice daily

3. CoQ10

It is an antioxidant that protects mitochondria and supports energy transport.

Dosage: 100mg capsule twice daily

4. Magnesium

It is necessary for energy production and transport.

Dosage: 100mg capsule twice daily

The Case Study

The five volunteers, while reasonably healthy, all expressed challenges maintaining day-to-day energy. Each of them answered a short survey to help identify their specific issues. Poor sleep quality, brain fog and focus issues, and afternoon energy crashes were some of the common problems mentioned. While we didn’t have the resources for a large double-blind trial, we thought this small test could help us understand firsthand how these nutrients might impact energy and well-being. After the six-week study period, our volunteers reported some very promising results.

The Results

All five noticed improved energy, well-being, and ability to focus.

  • Two stated that, initially, they felt as if they had a strong dose of caffeine without the “crash,” but that feeling subsided within a week, while energy levels remained improved.
  • One participant also reported more restful sleep.
  • Two reported less desire for alcohol or sugar.

In summary, all five participants saw noticeable improvements in energy and expressed a desire to continue the protocol after the six-week period. These nutrients show great promise for anyone looking to support their energy and mitochondrial function.

Warren Cargal L. Ac.

Warren L. Cargal, M. A., L. Ac. is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and also a diplomat with the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. He has practiced Chinese medicine for over 15 years. He maintains an active clinic practice in Atlanta Ga. Cargal is also the CEO of acuatlanta.net an online eCommerce store offering Chinese herbal formulas, professional grade nutritional supplements and organic facial products. The store offers an extensive knowledge base of articles, research abstracts and monographs on herbs, formulas and supplements.

Warren Cargal L. Ac.

Warren L. Cargal, M. A., L. Ac. is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and also a diplomat with the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. He has practiced Chinese medicine for over 15 years. He maintains an active clinic practice in Atlanta Ga. Cargal is also the CEO of acuatlanta.net an online eCommerce store offering Chinese herbal formulas, professional grade nutritional supplements and organic facial products. The store offers an extensive knowledge base of articles, research abstracts and monographs on herbs, formulas and supplements.

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