Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Mitochondrial Dysfunction--the Root Cause of Your Chronic Illness?


   If you have any of the following symptoms you may be experiencing mitochondrial dysfunction:
  • unexplainable fatigue, easily winded 
  • generally don’t feel well
  • feel pain after moderate exercise
  • headaches for no known reason
  • impaired sense of smell and taste
  • depression, anxiety or mood disorder
  • no motivation or ambition·       
  • feel older than you are
  • brain fog, forgetful
  • sensitive to noise, light, etc.
  • when you get sick it is hard to get better
  • age pigments and liver spots
Mitochondria are cellular organelles that are the “energy packs of the cell.”  Within the mitochondria ATP, the energy currency of the cell, is produced.  But we may not realize that the health of the mitochondria is the underlying foundation to both our physical and our mental health, and learning how to treat mitochondrial dysfunction may be one of the best ways to help treat the underlying cause of chronic physical and mental illness and fatigue.

Mitochondria are found in every human cell except mature red blood cells.  20% of our weight is mitochondria.  Each mitochondrion has a half-life of only 5-12 days, therefore turnover is high.  A single cell may contain 200 to 2000 mitochondria.  A female egg cell contains over 100,000 mitochondria—we inherit our mitochondria from our mothers.

Mitochondrial dysfunction may cause:

Systemic                     Chronic fatigue, failure to gain weight, allergy, autoimmunity
Muscles                      Weakness, cramping, muscle pain

Brain                           Developmental delay, mental retardation, autism, dementia, seizures, neuropsychiatric disturbances (including major depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and personality changes), atypical cerebral palsy, atypical migraines, stroke, stroke-like events, Parkinson’s disease, ataxia, headaches
Nerves                         Neuropathic pain and weakness (may be intermittent), acute and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, absent deep tendon reflexes, fainting, absent or excessive sweating, aberrant temperature regulation
Gastrointestinal           Neuropathic disorders such as gastroesophageal reflux, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome
Lungs                          Frequent lung infections, air hunger
Kidneys                      Proximal renal tubular dysfunction; loss of protein, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and other electrolytes
Heart                           Cardiac conduction defects (heart blocks), cardiomyopathy which can lead to congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, hypertension.
Liver                           Hypoglycemia, nonalcoholic liver failure, primary biliary cirrhosis
Eyes                            Optic neuropathy, ptosis (weak eyelid droops over eye), eye pain and retinitis pigmentosa
Ears                             Sensorineural hearing loss, tinnitus, aminoglycoside sensitivity
Pancreas                      Diabetes and exocrine pancreatic failure
Thyroid                       Increase in Reverse T3, decrease in thyroid function

Mechanism of destruction of mitochondria

  • ·         Genetic and congenital disorders
  • ·         Membrane destruction by toxins (including environmental toxins, metabolic by-products and many medications
  • ·         Oxidative damage by free radicals.  Stress, adrenaline, elevated blood glucose, toxins all increase free radical production in the body and the brain.
  • ·         NAD depletion from low nutrients such as Vitamin B3, CoQ-10, Alpha Lipoic Acid, carnitine, etc.
  • ·         Inflammation increases free radicals, metabolic toxins and nutrient depletion.
  • ·         Chronic infections increase inflammation, free radicals, metabolic toxins and nutrient depletion

These all cause mitochondrial dysfunction and self-destruction.

Testing for mitochondrial dysfunction may include (be aware that insurance doesn’t pay for most of these):

  • ·         D-Lactate (nl: 4-16mg/dL)
  • ·         serum coenzyme Q10
  • ·         copper/zinc ratio (should not be greater than 1.1)
  • ·         carnitine (may be low)
  • ·         pyruvic acid (shouldn’t be higher than 1.50mg/dL)
  • ·         An elevated alanine along with an
  • ·         alanine-to-lysine ratio: > 3 suggests true hyperalaninemia (of long-standing pyruvate accumulation)
  • ·         MTHFR genetic analysis – Coq10 production needs methylation
  • ·         Next level: muscle biopsy and genetic screening,


  1. Remove offending toxins (see SpringTree Detox & Chelate)
  2. Anti-inflammatory, low glycemic diet with whole, nutrient rich foods
  3. Reduce inflammation (see SpringTree Inflamasol)
  4. Treat infections (chronic infections such as Lyme disease should also have mitochondrial support treatment) 
  5. Improve gastrointestinal health and support the liver
  6. Improve elevated levels of glucose and insulin (see SpringTree Glucose Balance)
  7. Balance thyroid, especially T3, necessary for mitochondrial biogenesis and function (elevated Reverse T3 should be treated with mitochondrial support)
  8. Healthy sleep, the time for recycling mitochondria
  9. Interval exercise, which stimulated mitochondrial biogenesis
  10. Relaxation techniques to reduce adrenaline
  11. Supplements:·        
  • Fish oil keeps membranes free flowing  
  • Magnesium, zinc, selenium, adequate B-vitamins including active B-12, antioxidants (all found in SpringTree SuperMulti Plus) 
  • SpringTree Cell Fuel, mitochondrial support with PQQ
Cell Fuel was created to give the mitochondria all the nutrition and co-factors they need to function, to repair membranes and to grow new mitochondria. See

Until we meet again,
Dr. Judi