Aging & Longevity

A Mitochondrial Advantage to Extend Life Span – Wisdom, Knowledge 

Research shows that a major culprit in the aging process of cells is oxidative damage leading to cell death. This article explains what that means and what can be done to reverse the pattern and extend life. A plant based diet, exercise and some dietary supplements may have a great effect on the mitochondria to help promote longevity. 

When there are functional problems in the cell’s mitochondria, it results in loss of energy and other problems. The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell supplying cellular energy and has a major impact on longevity. It is clear in the scientific literature that there is an association between the dysfunction of the mitochondria and increased aging of cells (Aguilar-Lopez JL et al, 2016). 

Free Radicals and Oxidative damage causes faster aging. 

The “free radical theory” of aging explains that more rapid aging occurs as a result of large amounts of cell damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS) (Schroeder EA, Shadel GS, 2012). 

Oxidative damage produced by reactive oxygen species (ROS) has been connected to damage within cells that causes the fast track to aging and cellular destruction (Schroeder EA, Shadel GS, 2012). If stress can be reduced and ROS detoxification takes place, it would bring about a greater chance to extend life expectancy (Kourtis N, Tavernarakis N, 2011). 

Oxidative damage during aging also causes the advancement of skeletal muscle and function loss. Diminishing oxidative damage is one powerful way to stop or postpone chronic problems associated with aging. 

Xenohormesis is a biological theory that shows that when plants are stressed in the environment they produce bioactive substances that increase resistance and a means to survival to animals when they eat them (Hooper PL et al, 2010). 

Mitochondrial hormesis (mitohormesis) occurs when stress causes the mitochondria to power up and respond with improved mitochondrial function and resistance to stress. So how can you initiate this process?

What can be done to power up the mitochondria and turn off cell destruction? 

A plant based diet, low in fat has a positive effect on the mitochondria and research shows that a high fat diet significantly reduces mitochondrial biogenesis within a few days harming the cells (Sparks LM et al, 2005). 

Acute oxidative stress through mitochondrial superoxide production promotes the activation of certain antioxidants to respond and causes a positive hormetic response. Aerobic exercise is able to initiate this process. 

Aerobic exercise is a continuous activity at submaximal levels, which promotes the expansion of skeletal muscle mitochondria. Its activity is considered a mitohormetic response protecting the muscles from sarcopenia (muscle loss) (Musci RV et al, 2019). 

Besides exercise, some supplements that have been positioned to help mitochondrial problems are coenzyme Q10, creatine monohydrate and antioxidants such as vitamin E and alpha lipoic acid (Tarnopolsky MA, Raha S, 2005). In addition, other compounds that have been studied for the mitochondria are L carnitine, NADH (Nicolson GL, 2014) and pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ). 

Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) is a compound that has been shown to activate mitochondrial biogenesis, which increases the mitochondrial mass and improves mitochondrial functions (Saihara K et al, 2017). MGCPQQ® is a branded pyrroloquinoline quinone that has been studied in human clinical studies demonstrating its benefits. 

In summary, it is important to keep the mitochondria functioning properly to extend life expectancy. Oxidative damage which is produced by ROS has been connected to a faster cell death and reduced longevity. Eating a plant based diet, adding aerobic exercise into your schedule and the use of some supplements may have an advantage in promoting mitochondrial function and extending lifespan.

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. 

Individuals with health concerns or on medication should check with their health care practitioner before trying any new type of eating plan . 

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