Many of you have probably heard the term DNA on CSI shows relative to solving murder crimes? Perhaps you have a better idea of what mitochondria is from high school biology class. Well, let’s shed some light on the function of DNA and mitochondria in the body.
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a molecule that carries the bulk of most of the genetic instructions used in the development, functioning, and reproduction of all known living organisms and many viruses.
Mitochondria are structures within cells that convert the energy from food into a form that cells can use. Each cell contains hundreds to thousands of mitochondria, which are located in the fluid that surrounds the nucleus (the cytoplasm).
The mitochondria contain DNA (mtDNA). Mitochondria is called “the power plant of the cell” because the major role of mitochondria is to convert fat, glucose, and oxygen into energy for the body. Most cells in the body consist of thousands of mitochondria comprising 15-20% of the cells volume. The mitochondrial compartments are responsible for at least 90% the body’s energy source.
There are several studies that indicate that mtDNA damage correlates with cancer. Cancer cells attack other cells and tissues and they render mtDNA virtually nonfunctional which can lower the ability of the body to fight cancer cells. A healthy functioning mtDNA is an awesome defense mechanism for fighting cancer. For more information about this see the studies of Dr. Otto Warburg (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24732809).
Implications of High and Low Mitochondrial Capacity
High mitochondrial capacity increases fat utilization and promotes steroidal hormone synthesis (pregnenolone, estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, aldosterone, DHEA). Steroidal hormones are extremely crucial in the management of sexual characteristics, inflammation, immune functions, and mineral water balance.
Low mitochondrial capacity is typically caused by poor lifestyle habits such as consuming highly processed foods, low-fat diet, lack of or improper strength and endurance exercises, and lack of nutritional antioxidants. All these factors can lead to muscle loss, pre-mature aging, physical weakness, and overall metabolic decline.
Next: How To Strengthen Mitochondria