How Old Are You Really?

How Old Are You Really?

Happy Elderly Couple Biking

Anti-Aging By Optimizing Mitochondrial Function

It’s a special month here at Living Health Integrative Medicine as the practice is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Our patients often ask the providers, “how old are you?!?” We know firsthand that looking good parallels feeling good; both of which stem from lifelong healthy habits. Eating a clean diet, exercise, mindfulness, and many other activities are essential for maintaining health through the years. When we see patients that do not feel well, we are not surprised to see their lab results show dramatic results.

What are Mitochondria?

One of our favorite tests to use with patients is an Organic Acids Test (OAT).  In this test we can see how optimal or suboptimal a patient’s cellular function is operating. A huge component of how healthy we are, depends on how healthy our cells are, which depends on an organelle called the mitochondria. This might remind you of high school science class where were hear the phrase “the mitochondria is the power house of the cell.” What does that actually mean? Inside every cell of your body is the metabolic center or what we could call an “engine.” Just like a car, our cell’s engine, or mitochondria, need fuel and proper maintenance. If the engine (mitochondria) can’t get fuel or there is damage, then the car (cells) won’t operate normally.

Think of diabetes for example, where blood sugar, the fuel, cannot enter cells properly. The mitochondria can’t use fuel properly so in diabetic patients we see fatigue, poor skin health, nerve damage, brain fog, and so on. If our cells can’t function, then our organs can’t function, and then our body can’t function optimally. There are many influencing factors in mitochondrial dysfunction. We often see candida or bacterial overgrowth, excess oxalates, toxin overload, and nutrient deficiencies in our patients that all contribute to mitochondrial dysfunction. Environmental contaminants, like glyphosate (Roundup), have gotten a lot of recent attention for its impact on mitochondrial function. Often patients are unaware of any issues until we do advanced diagnostic testing like O.A.T. or environmental exposure tests.

Optimizing Mitochondria Function

We know the mitochondria are the engine of our cells and that we need to maintain them for long healthy lives. How to we keep our engines running smoothly? First and foremost is a clean and healthy diet. Not only should we be following Dr. Steph’s Plate Rule, but we also need to pay attention to what is in our food, namely pesticides and herbicides. Eating organic produce and pastured raised protein helps reduce our exposure to environmental chemicals that can damage mitochondria. Exercise is another useful tool in keeping our mitochondria operating optimally. When we exercise, we are building new muscle cells. New cells have new mitochondria so maintaining a healthy muscle mass can help keep a body young inside and out. By keeping our mitochondria and cells healthy we are keeping our bodies and minds fit and less prone to disease. Research shows that many chronic diseases are associated with mitochondrial dysfunction, including diabetes and cancer.

There could be other factors influencing your mitochondrial function, but testing is required to determine if that is the case. If you would like to know more about your personal health needs, if you would like to see if you are a candidate for the Organic Acids Test or need help to reach your goals, please call us to schedule your functional health consultation. We can be reached at 410-216-9180.