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Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Autoimmune Disease

By Elaine Moore on 2/23/2019

Mitochondria are tiny organelles found in every cell of the human body. They convert oxygen from the air we breathe into glucose and adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is converted into NADH for our body's energy needs. Mitochondria also regulate cellular homeostasis, metabolism, aging, signalling pathways and innate immunity. Changes in our gut flora, infections, chronic illness, changes to the mitochondrial membrane, and a reduction of critical metabolites are some of the ways mitochondria can lose their functions, causing a condition of mitochondrial dysfunction. This, in turn, leads to an increase of reactive oxygen species and the related reactive nitrogen species. These free radicals lead to reduced ATP production, fatigue, and a loss of cellular energy.

In recent years, mitochondrial dysfunction has found to be a cause of cardiac disease, autoimmune disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, bipolar and mood disorders, vascular disease, and many other conditions. Mitochondrial dysfunction is directly related to excess fatigue and the inability to perform certain everyday tasks. As expected, it contributes to early aging.

Researchers at the Institute for Molecular Medicine in Huntington Beach, California have found that a number of dietary supplements are effective in treating mitochondrial dysfunction. Some of the most promising supplements include the antioxidants: vitamins C, D, and E, thiamine (vitamin B1) and riboflavin (vitamin B2); magnesium, calcium, phosphate; membrane phospholipids, unsaturated fatty acids; creatine, pyruvate; CoQ10, alpha lipoic acid, NADH, nicotinic acid; L-carnitine, acetyl-l-carnitine, glutathione; curcumin and schisandrin.


Nicolson, Garth. "Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Chronic Disease: Treatment with Natural Supplements." Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal 2014 Aug vol 13, no. 4 pp. 35-43.

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