According to research published in March this year 2023, poor mitochondrial health was associated with Alzheimer’s disease. I have included a link to the research at the bottom of this article, but thought it would be good to explain things in simpler language and also look at one very important way to boost the health of your mitochondria.
What are Mitochondria?
Mitochondria are the little energy factories inside each of your bodies cells, that make the food that you eat, into the energy that you need to live, by combining it with oxygen.
Muscle cells are thought to contain the most mitochondria. Mitochondria uses glucose (from food) and oxygen to make ATP – which is the body’s energy currency.
The brain has a really limited ability to store oxygen or glucose – so therefore a constant supply is needed. Energy also needs to be pumped up there – so cardiovascular health is really important for brain health because your heart is your pump.
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of ‘dementia’ that causes degeneration of the cerebrum (a part of the brain.)
So – if you have mitochondria (your energy factories in your cells), that do not work very well, and therefore don’t make as much energy, then it stands to reason that you are impairing your brain function, because there is less energy available to get the required items to your brain to keep it firing on all cylinders.
How can you improve the function of your Mitochondria?
According to biopsies from sedentary individuals about their mitochondrial function there is a decreased capacity of the mitochondria to oxidise fuels (pyruvate, fatty acids, and amino acids).
In other words the more sedentary you are, the worse your mitochondria get at making energy. (A total catch 22 – the less you do – the less you are able to do.)
“There’s an ageing process where we lose mitochondrial function, and there’s a sedentary component where we lose mitochondrial function”— Iñigo San-MillánDeep dive with Peter Attia back into Zone 2 | Iñigo San-Millán, Ph.D.
“You can accomplish very important mitochondrial adaptations and very important metabolic adaptations by exercising one hour”— Iñigo San-MillánDeep dive with Peter Attia back into Zone 2 | Iñigo San-Millán, Ph.D.
So, how much exercise is needed?
According to Dr San Millan he suggests the following:
- 3 days a week will start to show results
- 4 days a week is great
- 5-6 days a week are fantastic
- 4-5 days a week of training is achievable (We can help you with this)
- Incorporate different styles of exercise (Once again – we can help you here)
- Zone 2 – Steady State Cardio for a longer period
- High Intensity Cardio
For all the research that is done into Alzheimer’s there is very little move towards a cure yet, for this most awful of conditions.
And yet today, we have a study that can link the function of our mitochondria to the health of our brain and the possibility of Alzheimer’s. We also have many studies that can tell us how to help boost our Mitochondrial function. Surely it is a “no brainer” to get in a habit of regular exercise?
Whilst the idea of daily exercise may seem too much to bear, the idea of not remembering your loved ones, and leaving them living in limbo, whilst caring for someone who no longer knows or appreciates them, is a far more terrifying reality?
If you are starting to think about the health that you want in your 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, we can help you by starting today, with simple ways to begin the habits that will see you jumping, hopping and skipping into your retirement, instead of limping there with a walking stick that you keep forgetting to remember.
Get in touch for a FREE 15 minute chat to see if we can help you make the start to securing your future health and happiness.
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