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Mitochondria – Your body cell’s powerhouse

What is a mitochondria?

Pronounced “My-toe-con-dree-ar”, these are tiny microscopic structures found within a majority of cells within your body. Their main function is to produce energy in the form of something called ATP. This is one of the most important units of energy your body uses for everyday life. Just sitting here reading this article your body is producing and utilising mountains of ATP. Just imagine how much it would be producing if you were running a marathon! Your body needs mitochondria so that all the nutrients from your diet can be converted to energy and utilised for various processes such as making proteins, repairing damaged cells, your immune system, pretty much everything.

The science bit

For those of you that remember secondary school biology, the term “respiration” may sound familiar. This doesn’t mean breathing in the conventional sense, but is a term used to explain one of the processes that occur in the mitochondria. Aerobic respiration is a process whereby oxygen is used to metabolise glucose, pyruvate (a salt substrate) and NADH (a co-enzyme protein) into ATP, or “energy”. Part of this process, namely oxidative phosphorylation “oxy-day-tiv fos-for-i-lay-shuhn” occurs within the mitochondria.

 

The bad news

Because your mitochondria are very active producing lots of energy, many chemical reactions occur as part of this metabolism and these produce reactive oxygen species, known as “free-radicals”. You may have heard of this term and the negative press that surround it. Free radicals are highly reactive and therefore can damage other parts of the cell, namely DNA. High levels of free radicals have been associated with many diseases such as cancer, dementia, Parkinson’s and atherosclerosis.

 

It’s not all bad

The good news is there are substances which can help mop up free radicals, so called “anti-oxidants.” These are natural substances which react with the oxygen species so they do not cause damage. There are many types and can be produced by your cells, however often only in tiny quantities. Two main anti-oxidants we use at Get a Drip include Glutathione (click here to read more about Glutathione) and newly added Co-Enzyme Q10. These powerful substances can help your mitochondria burn energy, and metabolise the way they are supposed to. Click here to see our drip menu to find out more.

 

Chief Medical Officer, Get A Drip

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