Sunday, January 6, 2019
Book Review: 'Mitochondria and the Future of Medicine' by Lee Know
The way life works
Mitochondria dictate life. When you are young, high activity promotes their renewal, providing energy and youth. As you age, they provide less and die off in a vicious circle of decline. Degenerative diseases kick in, and are traceable to mitochondria failure. As one doctor told me about his 90-something father who died – he just ran out of mitochondria. Mitochondria provide body heat, metabolic balance and cell energy. Without them, there is no life.
They have the remnants of their own DNA, which they use to regulate their processes. Duplicate functions were long ago taken over by the DNA of our bodies. There are hundreds and often thousands of mitochondria in every cell in our bodies, from the brain to the heart to the skin. Lee Know’s book Mitochondria and the Future of Medicine explains it all better and more understandably than any other book I’ve read so far. He is enormously enthusiastic about the science and the potential. And he puts it all together very readably.
The book first relates the history of discovery. We are still learning how mitochondria work and contribute, and the future holds huge potential if we can really understand how it all fits together at the quantum and system levels. There follows a shopping list of diseases and the role mitochondria play in them, and a discussion of the chemical compounds you might take to improve mitochondria performance, such as what kind of CoQ10 to look for. With a good, balanced warning about unintended consequences doctors generally won’t go into (or they wouldn’t prescribe damaging statins as the biggest selling drugs in the world – for example).
A sedentary person may eat properly and be slim, but the imbalance from lack of strenuous activity is what causes the system to fail. The fueling by mitochondria continues, causing overload, and leakage of unassigned electrons. These free radicals are signals to the cell that the system is overloaded for the requests it is(n’t) getting for more ATP, our body fuel. The response is to tell mitochondria they are gumming up the works, and to therefore commit suicide. So rather than try to overcome free radicals with antioxidants, the solution is more activity. That causes better mitochondria performance, less electron leakage and fewer free radicals. It allows the mitochondria to perform more efficiently and effectively, and keeps them renewing themselves. Slowing the creation of free radicals (as opposed to taking antioxidants) would slow the aging process. Keep moving.
-Mitochondria are the single most important factor in aging.
-Degenerative disease works the same way as aging. Mitochondria are at the core of both.
-Mitochondria are behind most cardiovascular conditions and even high uric acid conditions.
-Muscles need the fuel ATP to relax, as seen in rigor mortis, where muscles contract and harden once the ATP stops flowing. It takes energy to relax.
-Statins block CoQ10 synthesis. And CoQ10 is the carrier that mitochondria depend on to move the fuel out where it’s needed. Increasing CoQ10 helps get ATP out and reduces free radicals. Low CoQ10 leads to mitochondria death.
-Numerous common medications unintentionally damage mitochondria functions. (There are two pages of drugs listed.) For example, the blue coloring in shaving gels inhibits mitochondria functions.
Mitochondria are the lifegivers for every component of the body, from the skin on in. We live to nurture mitochondria. If you take care and cater to the needs of mitochondria, they will take care of you. It’s how life works.
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of David Wineberg. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.