While we are all aware of the role of nutrition as a major contributor to our wellbeing, most of us are unaware of what’s going on deep inside the cells of our body where the food ultimately ends up.
Welcome to the wonderful world of mitochondria. Within our cells, mitochondria are tiny powerhouses that convert glucose or fat into energy to drive the cell, create heat and organise other aspects of the wellbeing of the cell.
For those of us interested in Intermittent Fasting what I call Repair Day as a way of keeping fit, it is here, within the mitochondria, that the benefits occur.
Under the microscope we can see several discrete elements within our cells but mitochondria are special. They look and behave more like discrete organisms within the cell with their unique double “skin”, their own DNA and their ability to divide as required. Liver and muscle cells, that use a lot of energy, contain thousands of mitochondria within each cell.
Deep within the matrix of the mitochondrium is where one of the major miracles of life goes on. A series of enzymes known as the Krebs Cycle burns sugar or fat to release energy in such a gentle way that the body can survive the heat production. This function is identical in both animals and plants. In many ways it is very close to the essence of life.
This tiny space is the birthplace of:
the energy to contract muscles
the energy to send messages along nerves
the energy to create all the hormones
the energy for thousands of other jobs in the body
the aging process – promoted by infection, radiation, inflammation, pollution, tobacco etc
programmed cell death (apoptosis), the timely disintegration of old cells to make way for new ones
free radicals and oxidative stress - where many cancers start.
anti-oxidants – our own natural ones, not the ones we are encouraged to buy
The Krebs Cycle takes place deep inside the mitochondrium. Here oxygen mixes with sugar and fat in multiple steps. There are a lot of oxygen electrons floating about and although systems are in place to mop them up as soon as possible, some free oxygen escapes. These are called free radicals, otherwise known as reactive oxygen species (ROS). They are highly active (a bit like ozone) and can damage the mitochondrial DNA in many ways.
When you drink alcohol, the processes that should be removing free radicals are diverted to removing alcohol. The liver “drops everything” to remove alcohol from the body. When we drink large amounts of alcohol we overwhelm our natural detox program. Too much alcohol can destroy the liver cells (cirrhosis) and damage all the cells within our body leading to disease, including cancer and dementia.
Intermittent Fasting – Repair Day switches the body immediately into self-repair mode. Our own Natural Detox Program and Antioxidant Release Program. All without charge!