The title of this blog may be a little on the technical side for some, but hear me out. In “Mitochondrial Dysfunction,” Michael T. Chang, MD & CFMP, discusses his health journey and the importance of the mitochondria.
Mitochondria produces energy for our cells to use for all activities by metabolizing food into adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
The mitochondria are usually the root cause of chronic diseases. These tiny powerhouses are extremely sensitive to environmental dangers like chemicals in our air, heavy metals, EMF, and ionizing radiation. Being under persistent attack can cause the mitochondria to retract and eventually die, affecting the function of different organs.
In Dr. Chang’s case, he began to experience pain and weakness in his right leg during activity. The situation worsened when both of his legs began to spasm and experience pain. He was active, working out three times a week, and was forced to back off because of the pain. After trying many different modalities, including a diet change, he discovered low markers of food metabolism and energy production through an organic acids test. This was his confirmation of mitochondrial dysfunction, which was caused by oxidative stress.
In the book, Dr. Chang discusses the therapies that he followed on his road to recovery.
To get started, it is essential to find a functional medicine practitioner who is familiar with mitochondrial dysfunction to help with proper testing. After discovering the root cause of the dysfunction, taking action on the steps provided in the book will determine how someone will recover. He stresses the importance of addressing the root cause of the dysfunction.
One of the ways to decrease oxidative stress is through antioxidants. Some antioxidants are produced in the body, while others come from fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin A.
Also, when trying to optimize mitochondrial function, it is crucial to reduce stress levels. High stress can cause shallow breathing and less oxygen delivered to our cells. Stress can also increase free radical production and deplete glutathione (needed for detoxification).
Another important factor in optimizing mitochondrial function is nutrition. Dr. Chang says that our diet should include a healthy mix of macronutrients and micronutrients to nourish the mitochondria. It may be helpful to start with an elimination diet where you would exclude foods such as beans and legumes, grains, eggs, gluten, alcohol, and dairy products. Eliminating sugar and artificial sweeteners, as well as vegetable oils would also be vital. These items can cause inflammation which causes mitochondria to shut down energy production and go into a cell danger response.
It was almost shocking to discover that our mitochondria can facilitate energy production or the cell danger response, but not both at the same time. In other words, as long as our mitochondria are on the defense, they will not be able to produce energy.
In addition to this, I learned such a great deal from Dr. Chang about our mighty mitochondria and how to restore proper functioning. I hope this inspires you to look into it if you are experiencing any type of dis-ease.
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