Fran L.

Discovering the Mitochondrion: The Key to Cellular Wellness

Just as human beings have organs, each of our cells has its own organelles, one of them is the mitochondrion; its history dates back to about 2,000 million years ago, the theory indicates that it was a bacterium, which was ingested by a cell with a nucleus, achieving a symbiosis. Because its ancestor was an independent organism, the mitochondrion retains its own genetic material, with the capacity to produce and inherit information.

Mitochondria have an ovoid shape with two membranes, external and internal, the latter folding several times. Something interesting is that the mitochondria we each have in our cells are only inherited by our mother; this is because the sperm’s mitochondria are found in its tail, which disintegrates at fertilization.

Among the functions we know about mitochondria are cellular respiration, energy production for metabolic reactions, calcium regulation, control of neurotransmitter production, hormones, elimination of harmful substances for the organism, and control of the immune system. Recently, it has been discovered that there are mitochondria that travel free in our blood and a universe to discover about them.

We see then that the number of mitochondria, their structure, and their proper functioning is a reflection of well-being, and on the contrary, when they are not healthy, they are related to several diseases such as obesity, immune problems, migraines, neurological disorders, heart disease, among others. Biotechnology is already investigating the benefits of mitochondrial transplantation to reverse or improve these conditions.

The damage or alteration in mitochondrial function can be genetic, or triggered by infectious processes, increased oxidative stress, inflammation and hypoxia; the good news is that for this damage we do not need access to biotechnological treatments; it is a change in lifestyle that leads to mitochondrial well-being.

As far as exercise is concerned, high intensity exercise in short periods of time is best; as far as nutrition is concerned, decreasing carbohydrate intake and increasing the intake of antioxidants, lutein, zeaxanthin, minerals, selenium, manganese, lipoic acid, contribute to proper mitochondrial metabolism; to name a few of where we can find these nutrients, we find spinach, broccoli, seaweed, blueberries, celery, pumpkin, pumpkin flower, olive oil, parsley, eggs and fish.

Another very important factor is to sleep adequately, the hormone called melatonin is the star in this process, and its function is not only focused on having a proper circadian cycle, it is a powerful antioxidant for the mitochondria and gives it protection. Meditation and spirituality are closely related to this process.

Entering into the functioning of the smallest unit with life, “the cell” and its components such as the mitochondria, we awaken our capacity for wonder, learning in an integral way the connection with health.


Dr. Lisseth Gómez Ricárdez 

Medical Specialist in Integrated Medicine

Instagram | LinkedIn


Receive the latest news and updates from our team.