When Your Cells Are Always Tired, so Are You…
These days the adrenal glands get blamed for all our fatigue. They are worn out from too much stress. This is partly true, but not the whole story.
Have you ever wondered, “Why am I so tired?”
In this article, you’ll learn how the health of your mitochondria determines how tired you feel and how your body performs. You’ll also learn how to boost your mitochondria for all day energy!
What Are Mitochondria?
Mitochondria are a part of each of your cells and do an important job. They use, get this, 90% of your oxygen and take up 10% of your body weight. Mitochondria make energy, called ATP, for your cells to function. They also boost overall efficiency of your cellular functioning, thereby increasing your metabolism.
Every cell in your body has a different job. Your heart cells pump blood. Your eye cells help you see. Your skin cells protect you from the outside world. The mitochondrial health of each cell determines the functionality of that cell. Is the cell doing a fantastic job, or a so-so job?
Mitochondria also have another important job. They help kill off damaged cells. You can imagine this is important for things like cancerous cells! It is theorized that when mitochondrial health is poor, this killer instinct can be thrown off, and damaged cells are more likely to reproduce.
Mitochondrial Disease Symptoms
As you just learned, mitochondria are everywhere, so the symptoms of mitochondrial dysfunction can be quite varied. But there are some common symptoms, and I’ll put those at the top of the list:
Feeling tired all the time
Slow metabolism / can’t lose weight
Chronic pain / headaches
Loss of muscle
You may have noticed that many of the above conditions are attributed to ‘normal aging.’ While it’s true that mitochondria decline with age, the rate at which mitochondria decline is very much influenced by your habits.
What Causes Mitochondrial Disease?
I can’t resist but share an interesting bit of biological history here! Mitochondria, once upon a time, lived outside the cell as a proto-bacteria. But they invaded cells and used cellular membranes for protection. It worked out well for the cells, because the mitochondria produced energy for the cells.
I tell that story to say that mitochondria aren’t naturally well-protected. They are vulnerable. Mitochondria can be affected by a number of toxins and poor lifestyle choices. These include:
Lack of exercise
Smog and indoor air pollution
EMF (Electromagnetic frequency)
BPA (bisphenol A from plastics)
Trans fatty acids
Poor methylation of B vitamins
Basically anything bad for you can also be bad for your mitochondria! If you are in my community, you are likely already trying to get exercise, breathe deeply and avoid processed and non-organic food. Keep it up!
But what if you are already doing a lot of ‘the right things’ and are still feeling foggy and tired?
Consider these natural remedies for fatigue:
Reduce EMF. Please turn your WIFI off at night and don’t hold your cell phone directly to your head. Leave your phone on airplane mode if you’re not expecting a call.
Look into time-restricted eating. Eating all your meals (coffee counts!) within an 8-11 hour window boosts your body’s efficiency. A great book on the subject is The Circadian Code by Dr. Satchin Panda.
Eat more fats. Ketones (energy from fats) boost mitochondria production and help purge damaged mitochondria. Consider raw nuts and seeds, high quality seed oil like hemp or flax, avocado, wild salmon and grass-fed ghee.
Increase antioxidants. The mitochondria produce free radicals as they work, so quench those with antioxidants. Increase organic or wild berries, green tea as tolerated, and sprouts.
These are easy, natural ways to fight fatigue!
Best Mitochondrial Supplements for Increased Energy
Fish Oil for Fatigue
As mentioned above, fats support happy mitochondria. I love good fats in all forms, and I recommend to always have high-quality liquid fish oil on hand as it gives a concentrated boost of good fats.
If you are feeling particularly inflamed or tired, take 1 teaspoon daily for a month along with plenty of raw nuts and seeds and other friendly fats. Otherwise, use as needed when you feel flared up or feel a flu coming on. (It prevents viruses from being passed cell to cell.)
The oil we carry and recommend is Wiley’s fish oil.
Essential Oils for Fatigue
We covered the benefit of antioxidants for mitochondrial health. High-quality essential oils are chock full of absorbable antioxidants for your mitochondria! Rosemary, lemongrass and turmeric are among my favorites, but most essential oils have beneficial antioxidants.
I would be happy to create a custom essential oil protocol for you on an essential oil consultation.
My Favorite Supplement for Mitochondria...MitoQ!
I recently started taking MitoQ, a highly bioavailable form on CoQ10, and was very impressed by the result.
CoEnzyme Q10 is needed for mitochondrial health, but the usual supplement form has a hard time actually entering the cell wall and getting to the mitochondria. MitoQ is bound with the addition of an ion called Triphenylphosphonium, which gives it a positive charge and helps it enter the cell and feed the mitochondria.
Despite many years of good diet and habits, I could not shake an afternoon fatigue. I eventually resorted to a daily dose of tea or chocolate to get me through the afternoon. The afternoon slump would usually turn into an early evening headache. I was so used to these headaches that I stopped even registering them as a problem.
I tried adaptogens and sea salt and all sorts of things. It wasn’t until I found MitoQ that my afternoon slump disappeared! I stopped even craving tea or chocolate, and some days I would make it to the evening without even realizing that I had passed my slump time without an issue.
I do have adrenal issues, but ultimately it was supplements for mitochondrial dysfunction that did the job for me.
So I plan to take MitoQ for life. It is possibly the most important supplement I have found, and I have taken hundreds of different supplements over my career.
If you are chronically tired or ill, I really recommend you give it a try. We will refund you if you don’t like it, so there’s nothing to lose. But try it for a whole month before you decide! When you run out you’ll really notice the difference. It’s 2 capsules in the morning ½ hour away from food. I think it would be ok to take alongside a thyroid medication.
What did you learn? What have you tried? Share your thoughts below!
Written by Bridgit Danner, LAc, FDNP
Bridgit is trained in functional health coaching and has worked with thousands of women over her career since 2004. She is the founder of Women’s Wellness Collaborative llc and HormoneDetoxShop.com.