• Wendy Finkelstein

Hammer Your Mitochondria

Mitochondria biogenesis, metabolic resiliency, fasting and ketogenic diets have become extremely hot topics not just in the athlete/endurance market, but also in mainstream anti-aging and regenerative health. If aging alone is the single most accurate predictor of disease, then the mitochondria should unquestionably be the target of first step interventions. Inflammation is the root cause of most disease, and it begins at a sub-cellular level when the mitochondria become degenerate and leaky due to repeated insult. I refer to the amalgam of insult as, metabolic chaos.

The cellular response to aging is called senescence. Senescent cells are those cells that have reached their capacity for replication and are supposed to die in a process called autophagy. Unfortunately, with metabolic chaos, those cells stay alive and instead of being cleared, release inflammatory signals which can destroy tissue, and in my opinion lead to cancer. The carb addicted, inflamed, over trained, middle aged athlete suffering with a declining libido and low testosterone levels are at the center of this rising pandemic.

After I completed Ironman Boulder in June 2019, my work stress hit an all-time high. I was teaching spin class twice a week while working full -time and raising 2 boys in elementary school. My athletic performance was deteriorating, and I was gaining weight. My diet was raw vegan by day but wine and crap at night with the kiddos.

I did an extensive metabolic performance panel on myself around April 2020, and just as I predicted, I was a mess. I had a massive amount of oxidative stress depicted by an elevated 8OHDG which is marker of poor DNA methylation and damage. I had elevated lactic acid, ammonia and nitrogen level caused by excess muscle degradation and insufficient alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG). I had excess cortisol and my inflammation rendered me incapable of utilizing my fat for energy. As if this was not enough, I began to feel anxiously depressed, a sign of poor neurotransmitter physiology. In short, I was low voltage, fermenting sugar, accelerating my aging process, and stunting my metabolic regenerative capacity.

Those results jolted me into an extended 4 day fast to induce autophagy and clear out senescent cells. I had fasted before a few times and knew intuitively that is what I needed. I also knew that I needed to reboot my mitochondria and adjust my diet. I bought a “Lumen” breathable device which helped me stay in a fat burning zone throughout the day as well as an HRV device from “Elite HRV”. HRV taught me how to measure my voltage and gauge my stamina daily. I started a mitochondrial rescue protocol which included a proprietary blend of nutrients, but if I had not also started alpha ketoglutarate (AKG) and adenosine triphosphate, NAD, Fulvic acid and B-vitamins, I do not think I would have achieved as good of a comeback as I did.

As a mitochondrial/metabolic specialized practitioner, I do not think AKG and its role in mitochondrial health gets enough airtime. After my experience, I felt obligated to share the nuts and bolts about these amazing intermediaries and their role in the energy production.

AKG, is an intermediary in the Krebs cycle, a process that creates energy in the mitochondria. Unfortunately, there are not many human trials that celebrate its utility but in mouse studies, it extends lifespan, turns on healthy DNA transcription, increases the positive effects of brown fat as opposed to unhealthy white fat, it lowers senescent cells, and reduces inflammatory signals. AKG also binds to ammonia and nitrogen and facilitates their clearance in the liver.

It is not uncommon for athletes to have mood swings and feel low or depressed after a long hard work out or race. AKG deficiency can be a factor in explaining this phenomenon. AKG works intimately with the amino acid glutamine which to be plentiful, requires adenosine triphosphate. Glutamine is made from glutamate which depending on available vitamin B6, can either cause anxiety or depression. There is a lot of complexity to the biochemistry involved, but for simplification, if there is not enough AKG or adenosine triphosphate, waste accumulates leading to inflammation, a known driver of depression. For these reasons, it is extremely beneficial to replete these intermediaries along with other mitochondrial nutrients to ensure that you make clean energy, harness, and maximize every molecule of ATP.

The mitochondrion in total weight equals that of a battery in your iPhone. We all know what happens when the battery is low, the phone glitches, and needs stillness to recharge. The same things happens when we overtrain without replenishing the nutrients directly involved in keeping a healthy “mito-reserve”. Unfortunately, we need supplements these days as our soil is depleted and our systems our overwhelmed with toxic exposures. Just like mother earth, our mitochondria get the direct hit of all the pollution we are exposed to. Healing and regenerative health requires voltage. Voltage is energy and the only place we make energy is in our mitochondria.

For more information on how you can boost mitochondrial biogenesis, increase your voltage and reclaim your power, check out my website at Nephesh-Health.com I wish you all abundant health.

For more information on how you can boost mitochondrial biogenesis, increase your voltage and reclaim your power, contact us anytime. I wish you all abundant health.

Wendy Finkelstein PA-C, MMS FAAMFM