As you are well aware, your body grows older with each passing day. But did you know that the “battery” driving your body’s aging is your mitochondria, those powerful energy factories within your cells? For the first time, researchers have proven that mitochondrial function is associated with cell ageing.
In a recent study, a research team successfully “tricked” older cells into eliminating their damaged mitochondria until all were removed. They were stunned to discover that once these older cells shed their worn out, damaged mitochondria, they resembled younger cells! These newly rejuvenated cells displayed levels of oxygen free radicals and expression of genes typical of more youthful cells.
This and similar studies confirm three important key points about how your mitochondria influences age-related changes in your body:
- As you grow older, your mitochondria undergo damage and mutations that affect how well they function
- Damaged mitochondria accumulate in cells
- Your cells produce fewer new mitochondria as you age
Healthy mitochondria are essential to your health. They produce 95% of your body’s energy in the form of ATP, and they are also responsible for essential apoptosis or programmed cell death.
Your mitochondria also provide important signalling molecules for the expression of your genes, and they help promote a normal inflammatory response throughout your body.
What You Don’t Know About Your Mitochondria Could Be Disastrous for Your Health
Many people are surprised to learn that they have two different types of DNA, or two sets of genetic blueprints, inside their cells. The first type, your cellular or nuclear DNA, is what likely comes to mind when you think of your cells’ genetic material. But you have another whole set of genetic material, and this DNA may actually determine your longevity.
Unlike the other components inside each of your cells, your mitochondria have their own DNA. And considering some of your cells can contain as many as 2,500 mitochondria, that’s a lot of genetic material. Having their own DNA means your mitochondria have the ability to replicate and increase their numbers inside each of your cells.
But here is the problem with your mitochondrial DNA. It’s far more susceptible to severe oxidative damage than your cellular DNA. Because your mitochondria create 95 % of the energy for your body’s processes, they are subject to oxidative activity, which unleashes damaging free radicals and toxic reactive oxygen species.
Your mitochondrial DNA doesn’t have the same structural defences and repair systems as your cellular DNA. So the genetic material in your mitochondria mutates at a much faster pace and accumulates in your body as you age.
Scientists are now convinced that damaged mitochondria and mitochondrial dysfunction are important contributors to the normal ageing process and can affect your health.
What is Harming Your Mitochondria?
When you are younger, your mitochondria are well protected by your body’s natural defences. As you age, that protection fades. The older you get, the faster your mitochondria deteriorate and become dysfunctional. Mitochondrial dysfunction is most striking in high energy-demanding tissues and organs like your brain, heart, and muscles.
Studies show that brain cells in those over 70, on average, contain 50 % more mitochondrial damage that do brain cells of middle-aged adults. Besides cellular oxidative activity, diet is one of the biggest factors that influence the health of your mitochondria. What you eat can make or break your mitochondria!
Your mitochondria are nourished by certain fuels and harmed by others. So, a healthy diet is one that supports mitochondrial function and prevents dysfunction. Most people worldwide who eat a primarily processed food diet are burning carbohydrates as their primary fuel. Burning carbs for fuel shuts down your body’s ability to burn fat. I believe this is why so many people find it nearly impossible to lose weight and keep it off.
When your body burns primarily carbohydrates for fuel, excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) and secondary free radicals are created, which damage cellular mitochondrial membranes and DNA.
When you eat a low net carb (total carbs minus fibre) diet with adequate protein and high in healthy fats or a cyclical ketogenic diet you can reach a state called nutritional ketosis where your body burns fat as its primary fuel, instead of sugar.
In ketosis, your body regains its metabolic flexibility to burn fat for fuel and your liver creates water-soluble fats called ketones that burn far more efficiently than carbs.
Why a Cyclical Ketogenic Diet May Be Your Mitochondria’s Best Friend
Becoming an efficient fat burner through ketosis is one of the most important strategies you can implement for your mitochondria and your health. “Clean burning” ketones create far fewer reactive oxygen species and secondary free radicals to damage your cellular and mitochondrial DNA, membranes, and proteins.
Ketones also mimic the lifespan-extending properties of calorie restriction or fasting, which includes optimal glucose metabolism. As beneficial as a ketogenic diet is for your mitochondria, staying on it for an extended period is not recommended.
Once you are able to burn fat for fuel, Dr Mercola suggests switching over to a cyclical ketogenic diet, or feast-famine. At that point, you begin cycling in and out of nutritional ketosis by upping your carb and protein intake once or twice a week.
Surprisingly, by periodically “pulsing” or consuming a higher carb intake of say, 100 or 150 grams of carbs opposed to 20 to 50 grams per day, your ketone levels will dramatically increase and your blood sugar will drop. After a day or two of this feasting, you then cycle back into nutritional ketosis (the fasting” stage) for the remainder of the week.
Bottom line, if you want truly healthy mitochondria, a ketogenic diet isn’t optional. It‚ is a non-negotiable necessity.
The Race Against Time… How to Help Increase the Number of New Mitochondria in Your Aging Body
Researchers believe you may have about a 10-year window of opportunity to help save your mitochondria, from the time they first become damaged. Early changes in mitochondrial function may be reversed if caught early, and before damage becomes permanent.
Aside from following a ketogenic or cyclical ketogenic diet, what else can you do to help protect the mitochondria you do have? And how can you help stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis, or the growth of new mitochondria?
Exercise. Studies show that the mitochondrial DNA in muscle declines as you grow older. Regular, high intensity exercise and maintaining a healthy weight may have a positive influence on mitochondrial health and life span.
Moving throughout your day and avoiding prolonged sitting are both important for your mitochondria. Any time your body experiences a greater energy need (as with exercise), it creates new mitochondria.
Exercise also helps stimulate mitophagy, or the removal of damaged mitochondria so they don’t accumulate in your cells.
Avoid environmental toxins. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, prevents the uptake of manganese and zinc, important minerals for protecting your mitochondria from oxidative damage. The Roundup formula also makes your mitochondrial membranes more permeable, allowing more glyphosate to enter. And that, in turn, interferes with energy production.
A number of nutrients support mitochondrial function:
- Ubiquinol (or CoQ10) – One of the most important antioxidants for protecting mitochondrial DNA, but levels decline rapidly with age
- Magnesium – Helps increase the efficiency of your mitochondria to repair damage and produce ATP (energy)
- Animal based omega-3 fatty acids – Positively alter mitochondrial membrane structure and improve mitochondrial dysfunction in brain aging
- All B vitamins (including thiamin, riboflavin, and B6) – Required as co-enzymes for enzymes essential for cellular and mitochondrial function
- Berberine – Supports mitochondrial health by activating AMPK which helps regulate energy homeostasis
- PQQ (Pyrroloquinoline quinone) – Helps protect mitochondria from oxidative damage and it stimulates the growth of new mitochondria
There is a good chance you haven’t heard much about Berberine or PQQ, especially as they relate to your mitochondria. However, the latest research shows both are important for mitochondrial health as they play critical roles in up regulating and down regulating important biochemical pathways.
Berberine: One of the Few Compounds in Nature Known to Activate Your Metabolic Switch and Help Protect Your Brain Cells
Berberine is a yellow-coloured alkaloid compound found in a number of plants: European barberry, goldenseal, Amur cork tree, Oregon grape, goldthread, tree turmeric, and phellodendron.
Originally isolated from traditional Chinese herbs, Eastern practitioners have known about berberine’s many potential benefits for centuries. But it is the most recent research that really has people excited about berberine for overall health and mitochondrial health. A third of all berberine studies listed on PubMed are from the last 5-7 years.
So why all the excitement over a yellow-coloured compound? It has much to do with a vital enzyme inside your cells – adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, or AMPK. Regarded as your metabolic master switch, AMPK plays a crucial role in regulating your metabolism. Researchers have discovered that berberine activates AMPK, which helps:
- Regulate biological activities that promote normal balances of energy, lipids, and glucose
- Coordinate your body’s response to stressors
- Support cellular repair and maintenance
And here’s something else you need to know about this alkaloid compound. Ketogenic diets provide profound protective benefits for your nerve and brain cells, but researchers are just now learning why. The latest research on rats shows that the ketone bodies made by your liver during nutritional ketosis and fasting initiate three actions in your neurons, or nerve cells:
- Increase levels hypoxia-inducible factor-1, or HIF-1
- Activate Sirtuin 1, or Sirt1
- Decrease mTORC1 activity
Together, these three actions help turn on what’s known as neuronal macroautophagy, or the purging of defective mitochondria from your cells. Because berberine activates AMPK, as well as the activator for Sirt1, it helps boost autophagy in your cells. This, in turn, enhances the positive benefits from a ketogenic diet!
While berberine’s role in cell health is still being closely studied, researchers do know that mitochondria selectively seek out and store berberine. Because berberine is known to be involved in apoptosis, or normal programmed cell death, this potential advantage could play an important role in promoting healthy normal cell growth and development.
Berberine Mimics the Effects of Exercise, Dieting, and Weight Loss!
When AMPK is activated in your cells, an interesting cascade of events occurs. AMPK produces benefits similar to exercising, dieting, and weight loss! While Dr Mercola certainly doesn’t recommend using berberine as a replacement for exercise or a healthy diet, research clearly shows it holds value for:
- Slowing the release of free fatty acids to help prevent harmful fat deposits
- Promoting insulin, leptin, and adiponectin function for a healthy metabolism
- Supporting healthy blood sugar levels already in the normal range
- Promoting healthy insulin sensitivity
- Promoting healthy gut microflora
- Supporting healthy lipid metabolism
- Stimulating the release of nitric oxide for healthy blood flow
Researchers have found that while berberine activates the enzyme AMPK, it inhibits what is known as PTP1B activity. That action provides important support for healthy normal blood sugar levels.
In one study, obese adults took 500 mg of berberine three times daily for 12 weeks study subjects saw a 23 % decrease in triglycerides and 12.2 percent drop in cholesterol levels.
Berberine also plays an important role in promoting brown fat activity and boosting fat burning in your mitochondria. Brown fat is a mitochondria-loaded, heat-generating type of fat that burns energy instead of storing it.
A study with mice showed berberine increased the expenditure of energy, and specifically enhanced brown adipose tissue (BAT) activity in mice who were obese. If you have a couple or a few extra inches to spare, especially stubborn belly fat, increasing the burning of brown fat may be a desirable side benefit of berberine.
How PQQ Helps Create New Mitochondria in Aging Cells
Even though PQQ is bacterial in nature, your body and your gut microbiome do not have the ability to produce it naturally. That suggests PQQ may be an essential micronutrient.
In 2010, a team of researchers at the University of California discovered that PQQ has the unusual ability to activate not one, but three cell signalling pathways:
- PGC-1 – stimulates genes that enhance mitochondrial and cellular respiration, growth, and reproduction
- CREB – interacts with histones that protect and repair cellular DNA while stimulating the growth of new mitochondria
- DJ-1 ‚- like PGC-1 and CREB, DJ-1 supports cell function and survival, especially in the brain, and helps guard against cell death from antioxidant stress
A 2012 research advance took a closer look and found that PQQ activates genes that induce mitochondrial biogenesis, or the spontaneous formation of new mitochondria in ageing cells. Scientists also observed that when cells are deficient in PQQ, a significant number of genes can be profoundly affected. A total of 438 genes to be exact. Most impacted are those genes involved in cellular stress, cell signalling, metabolite transfer, and the biogenesis of new mitochondria. However, the researchers were able to reverse the negative effects by providing PQQ supplementation.
The importance of PQQ for the growth of new mitochondria was further confirmed by a recent mouse study. Mice deficient in PQQ were shown to have a 30-40 % reduction in numbers of mitochondria, compared to mice who were supplemented with PQQ.
Studies Confirm PQQ’s Potential Effects on Brain Function, Memory, Stress, and Sleep
Several human studies support claims about PQQ’s effects on cognitive health and brain function, as well as stress and sleep quality:
- PQQ helps brain cells function more efficiently. PQQ has been shown to facilitate nerve regeneration and enhance nerve growth factor. And it increases the number and efficiency of mitochondria.
- PQQ improves cerebral function. The effect of PQQ on cerebral function and anti-stress activity was tested in 71 human subjects over a 12-week period using 20 mg of PQQ and 20 mg of PQQ with 100 mg of CoQ10. Both groups showed improvements in high-level cerebral functions, including attention and information discrimination.
- PQQ with or without CoQ10 improves memory. This double-blind study among adults aged 50-70 evaluate PQQ with CoQ10 (or ubiquinol) and PQQ alone for 24 weeks. Both groups experienced immediate improvement with memory and other brain functions like spatial awareness.
- PQQ helps counteract the effects of stress and improves sleep quality. A group of 17 adults took a daily dose of 20 mg of PQQ for 8 weeks. All six measures of vigour, fatigue, tension, mood, anger-hostility, and confusion improved significantly. Quality of life and sleep also improved significantly.
PQQ, like Berberine, clearly plays an important role in many aspects of health and daily life.
Dr Mercola’s Berberine and MicroPQQ Advanced
No one has ever before connected the dots between Berberine and PQQ. Having done extensive research on mitochondrial health, Dr Mercola believes combining these two exceptional supplements into one formula only makes sense, which is confirmed by latest research.
Berberine and PQQ are both essential for your mitochondrial health as they play critical roles in up regulating and down regulating important biochemical pathways and because Berberine‚’s and PQQ’s impact is on different pathways in your mitochondria, they have combined, synergistic effects.
In essence, the more good pathways you can up regulate, and the more bad pathways that can be down regulated, the greater the synergistic or combined impact on your mitochondrial health. This Berberine and MicroPQQ Advanced formula takes advantage of that synergy, and to bring you the unique benefits of each of these two extraordinary nutrients.
More Than Twice as Effective and Stays in Your Bloodstream Three Times Longer!
This Berberine and MicroPQQ Advanced is no ordinary berberine or PQQ supplement. The combination is unique providing multi-functional effects. What really sets Berberine and MicroPQQ Advanced apart from other PQQ supplements is the type of PQQ used.
While other PQQ-only supplements use regular PQQ, Dr Mercola‚Äôs formula is patented MicroPQQ:
- Is more than twice as effective (2.2 times to be exact), so 5 mg of MicroPQQ provides the same benefits as 10 mg of regular PQQ
- Stays in your bloodstream longer, 9 hours compared to only 2 or 3 hours for regular PQQ. Longer blood exposure may mean greater potential benefits!
- Is specially formulated to enhance absorption through sustained release of PQQ for higher availability
- Is very stable and can complete thousands of redox/antioxidant cycles instead of self-oxidising and turning inactive
Seize Your Window of Opportunity and Support Your Mitochondrial and Metabolic Health
As was said earlier, you have about a decade before early changes in mitochondrial function become irreversible. However, you have no idea of when those changes first started. Most likely they are happening right now inside your cells.
Berberine and MicroPQQ Advanced provides a two-punch approach to optimising your mitochondrial and your metabolic health:
- Helps protect your mitochondria from oxidative damage
- Promotes the growth of new mitochondria
- Supports neurological and cognitive function
- Supports immune and cardiovascular health
- Helps prevent harmful fat deposits and encourages fat burning
- Promotes insulin, leptin, and adiponectin function for a healthy metabolism
- Supports healthy blood sugar levels already in the normal range
- Promotes healthy insulin sensitivity
- Promotes the growth of healthy gut microflora
- Supports healthy lipid metabolism