Mitochondrial health is a topic taking center stage in the field of longevity and wellness.
These tiny powerhouses live within every one of our cells and their sole job is to produce energy for our existence. Just as an engine converts gas to make vehicles roll along the road, mitochondria help us roll along smoothly in our bodies.
Advancements in science and medicine are revealing fascinating findings about the microscopic, intracellular mechanisms of the human body. Think of it as big science of the tiny and powerful inner workings within our cells. Recent studies support a shift towards a holistic understanding of the body’s functions. It goes beyond just the biological and in the direction of a multi-faceted, interrelated system that includes social, chemical and psychological factors, shedding light on the importance of taking initiative for our own health.
Here’s where things get interesting. Our mitochondria not only respond and adapt to nutritional information, but also to other subtle factors. Chemical and hormonal changes at the cellular level are processed. If the incoming information is pleasant, this information is ‘digested’ and we continue to roll along freely. Conversely, if the information is a stressor, the process is interrupted and it creates a protective, inflammatory response and the cellular function slows, creating cellular backlog. Like old oil in our engine, our bodies start to feel sludgy. This can show up as fatigue, brain fog, mental instabilities, illness and premature aging.
These stressors can be as benign as a paper cut or as large as an injury. Most common for many of us though, is the repetitive exposure to daily micro-stressors that have a cumulative effect on our health via our mitochondrial processing. In this state, our bodies are stuck in what's called a Cell Danger Response (CDR). Coined by Dr Robert Naviaux a leading scientist in this field, theorizes that once this response is triggered, healing and returning to optimal health isn’t possible until cellular communication is restored. This means, at the microscopic, intra-cellular scale, there’s the potential to be held hostage by inflammatory, energy pirates!
Is there a golden ticket to get off this hijacked treadmill? Chronic Illness expert Dr Eric Gordon suggests we treat our mitochondria in a friendly manner. He suggests that they, like us, need a safe place to live and communicate in order to thrive. According to Dr Gordon, breaking the CDR can begin with finding small moments of joy throughout the day, reducing the inflammatory response and increasing positive neurochemicals, so our cellular function can normalize. He states, “joy is the primary signal of safety.” There you have it! It’s that simple. Find small joys.
Before sitting down to write this blog, I boxed up a care package to send to my daughter. I was so satisfied with it being so tightly-packed with fun stuff to make her happy, there was only enough room for a roll of dental floss (ok, that’s a really boring item). That’s my small joy for today and I might go give that box a little shake to relive that satisfaction and boost my cells.
Find some joy for yourself today. Your mitochondria will thank you for it!