Nearly every cell in the body has mitochondria. Each liver cell has 2,000 mitochondria per cell, while the cells of the eyes, heart and brain have a whopping 10,000 in each cell! These are robust little powerhouses, but damage to mitochondria can occur due to five main factors:
#1 Medications: Both prescription and over-the-counter drugs can inhibit the function of the mitochondria. Some drugs create deficiencies of proteins and other substances necessary to create energy and remove toxins. Antibiotics, painkillers like acetaminophen, statins, and certain antidepressants are on the list.
#2 Pathogens cause infections that can damage the mitochondria and disrupt their function. In particular, pathogens can decrease the mitochondria’s ability to intake calcium, which drops the cell’s energy production and helps the pathogen replicate. Pathogens also increase free radical production within the cell, and the mitochondria are no longer able to keep that production under control, thus creating a toxic environment inside the cell. Amazingly, some pathogens can even pull mitochondria toward them and drain their batteries for their own use. Other pathogens create a fence around mitochondria, limiting their abilities, which gives the pathogen more freedom to replicate. It’s incredible, but it happens.
#3 Parasites want to stay in the body long-term, so they change the environment to more easily survive and replicate. Unfortunately, this is not beneficial to humans. They user your resources, and leave you with the bill! Parasites suppress the immune system so that they go unrecognized and they use your mitochondrial energy for their own purposes. Studies show that some parasites like those found in undercooked meat begin starting to use your mitochondrial energy as early as 10 minutes after entering the cell!
#4 Stress refers to oxidative stress which is caused by free radicals that can damage mitochondria. The cell structures can become so damaged that the mitochondria dies. All four of the other culprits here cause free radicals, but so do processed foods, an unhealthy microbiome, plastics, pesticides, cigarette smoke and chronic stress. Toxins strain the mitochondria, and trigger the immune cells to release inflammatory molecules to respond to process. This process creates a vicious cycle of oxidative stress that is tough to break.
#5 Heavy Metals are toxic to the body, and that includes the mitochondria. Toxins harm the structure and the function of these precious batteries which decreases energy production. Heavy metals also increase free radicals, increase the permeability of the mitochondrial membrane, and interfere with the mitochondria’s ability to make proteins. Heavy metals are so toxic they can render the mitochondria beyond repair. The structure becomes overwhelmed and dies.
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