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Mitochondria, these small organisms at the heart of the our cells metabolism

Mitochondria are microorganisms that have their own DNA.

Each cell in the human body has an average of 1500 mitochondria. They are real factories to produce energy.

Indeed, from what we eat, they are able to produce energy, called ATP, necessary for the proper functioning of our organs and our metabolism.

So, how does this actually work?

From the plate to the mitochondria:

The foods we eat are broken down by the digestive tract (from the mouth to the colon, hence the importance of chewing!!!!) into simple molecules: lipids (fat), carbohydrates (sugars), and proteins. These molecules are absorbed by the bloodstream to be distributed to all the cells of the body.

They cross the cell membrane as long as it is sufficiently fluid. The fluidity of the membrane depends on your fat consumption: the higher your consumption of good fat (olive, rapeseed, walnuts, flax and small fatty fish), the more fluid the membrane of your cells, the better your metabolism.

Once in the cell, after a few metabolic transformations into smaller molecules, called metabolites, these can reach the mitochondria. For all this to be possible, you need enough vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5 and lipoic acid.

From mitochondria to energy production:

This is where two things happen:

  • The first, known as the Krebs cycle, will produce a little energy (ATP) by oxidation, but above all electrons! And yes our body produces charged particles! And fortunately, because it is thanks to them that the production of energy by the mitochondria will be possible. For the Krebs cycle to take place you need vitamins B1, B2 and B3 and magnesium.

  • The second, oxidative phosphorylation or the respiratory chain, which corresponds to oxidation-reduction reactions that take place at the heart of the mitochondrial membrane. The electron flow passes through different complexes present in the membrane of the mitochondria so the end product will be energy (ATP). For this, the mitochondria will need vitamins B2 and B3, iron, copper, coQ10, and magnesium.

We therefore already see here the importance of vitamins, minerals and organic compounds (CoQ10 and lipoic acid) for efficient energy production.

Efficient energy production is a metabolism that:

- Promotes the use of what we eat,

- Limits fat storage,

- Allows the body to have enough energy to function optimally (energy, digestion, hormones, mental health, etc.),

- Protects us from the diseases of aging.

Others functions of the mitochondria:

It is important to note that the mitochondria are not only responsible for energy production. It has other very important functions such as:

- Regulation of cell death: if a cell fails, the mitochondria sends a signal for it to self-destruct.

- Regulation of calcium metabolism. However, calcium has been shown to play a role in weight control.

- Hormonal metabolism: and yes, part of the synthesis of our hormones takes place in our mitochondria! Hormonal imbalance can cause weight gain.

- The production of heat via a protein found in its membrane (uncoupling protein). I'm sure you've experienced hot flashes after a heavy meal. Well, it's thanks to this protein: the mitochondria eliminate excess calories via the production of heat. This is a way to avoid storing this excess as fat.

As you will have understood, we must therefore take care of our mitochondria. They are very fragile, but the good news is that certain micro-nutrients and organic compounds have the power to protect them so that they are effective and healthy!

To find out how to protect your mitochondria from oxidative stress and aging and therefore boost your metabolism and optimize your weight loss, make an appointment for a nutrition consultation.

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