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It’s fundamental to understand how your cells produce energy, for it seems that diabetics never easily have enough energy. Why is that? Well, over the years, scientists are finding these ancient cellular structures, which are your only biological furnaces, are gradually giving up their secrets. For an unknown reason at this point, diabetics seem to have smaller mitochondria and fewer of them, so it becomes imperative to understand how to protect your mitochondria you already have, whether dealing with diabetes or not! And, the children of diabetics, even if not diabetic yet, also have fewer and smaller mitochondria, so start on this program to help save them.
Every cell in your body has mitochondria. Your pancreatic beta-cells have them, and when the mitochondria don’t function well there, then your insulin capacity is compromised, too.
About 60% of the volume of your skeletal muscle cells and about 40% of the volume of your heart’s muscle cells should be made of mitochondria — a symbiotic life-form, encased in your body, with its own DNA.
It is no use just talking about nutritious food and proper exercise when you know that you are dragging. Well, blood sugar control and portion control and types and amounts of fats are imperative to preserve or regain cellular health, but so is caring directly for these tiny not-you life forms who live, by the thousands, inside every one of your cells. You, as the larger organism are meant to “protect” them. It’s part of an ancient pact.
Yes, unbelievable at it may seem, for millions of years there has been a symbiotic, mutually-beneficial relationship between 2 life-forms: your cells and the independent mitochondria who live within them. In fact, science also believes that some of the cells of your immune-system are also independent life-forms.
The mitochondria make the energy products to drive your biology from the foods your cells gather and process to bring these tiny dynamos as fuel. “Your” mitochondria even drive the energy in the tails of sperm and the nascent egg that come together to create every new life.
When the sperm enters the egg, the little tail it used to power its journey drops off, so all the mitochondria every child receives is ONLY from the mother. This is called mtDNA. It is the oldest traceable form we know; it directly comes from the first human female (and there were versions before that).
These are tried and true biochemical mechanisms that really work well, and everything in life depends on the bio-energy produced. Mitochondria use oxygen and enzymatic action to break down components of your food, brought into your cells as glucose and fat, to produce energy in your/ their cellular furnace.
So, you must be well oxygenated AND have the proper nutrients. Anything less than that and the Energy-Cycle starts to be compromised.
The energy is transported, especially to your muscle cells. It’s carried there by a molecule called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Once there, the ATP gives up one high-energy phosphate molecule to the muscle cell, which uses it to keep you alive and help your organs’ musculature and skeletal muscles work. Then, as ADP, the molecule returns to the mitochondria to receive one more high-energy phosphate molecule to shuttle, yet again, to transform to ATP.
The mitochondria are the location of the bio-blast-furnace. They MAKE “your” energy, and being at ground-zero, the living mitochondrion is also at great risk for being harmed, by their massive exposure to oxygen.
About 90% of all the oxygen you breathe daily goes into driving this bio-combustion cycle. If you don’t have healthy lungs and get good aerobic capacity from moderate exercise, then you are losing vital energy. Being sedentary does NOT let you have great aerobic capacity! Resolve to start a moderate walking program after you get guidelines from your doctor.
Apart from exercise helping with weight-loss (lessening insulin-sensitive fat cell storage) and more calories burned, exercise also helps diabetes by moving toxins out!
When I studied all this more than 40 years ago in a college physiology class, from a professor who was one of only a handful of world-class muscle physiologists, I found it so fascinating that its basic information stayed with me. Little did I know that it was vital to me to pay attention!
Only very recent science has begun to implicate faulty-mechanisms in this process in diabetics. In fact, in researching about new information, I found a genetic reference that I did not know about, and which I will try to follow-up on before writing more here.
So, back to the basics.
Each mitochondrion has two cellular walls, as you can see in the photos above. The inner section of the cell has more protein than any other cell in your body. It is this high percentage of protein that makes the Electron Transport Chain (ETC) where the ATP cycle happens. The glucose and fats are broken down into 2 carbon-molecule units.
Especially using B vitamins, the mitochondrion strips off several electrons from the glucose and fats, and the compounds left are what become “carbon dioxide”. That’s the waste-product we all breathe out, with every breath, and it must be moved-out of mitachondria and your cells, every moment.
If it is not moved out efficiently and effectively, then metabolic acids can build-up. You become toxic. And, B vitamins are also used-up in stress, so if your life is stressful, you may need more B vitamins, so this energy-cycle gets its fair share. Discuss this with your doctor.
Exercising moderately helps move your lymph system to detoxify and it helps to increase the number of mitochondria that you have. See the studies in the Nutrition Action link below. They are impressive and very relevant, especially to Type 2 diabetics.
But oxygen is also a two-edged sword, and too much or at the wrong time or place, and oxygen becomes a cell’s worst enemy. That’s when “free radicals” are produced and when we need “anti-oxidants”, from foods or supplements, to protect our cells and mitochondria from damage and death by oxidation!
It’s a delicate dance between amounts of oxygen, carbon-dioxide, enough enzymes, B vitamins, CoEnzyme Q10 and other nutrients, healthy fats, as well as enough glucose being able to enter each cell and not remain locked-out, as it is for many diabetics (creating high sugar levels in the blood)(this is called “glucose intolerance” or “glucose resistance”).
As many diabetics are also on statin drugs, which severly deplete CoEnzyme Q10, please discuss supplementing it with your physician — both to help your heart muscle remain healthy, and to fuel your Energy-System.
Iron and sulfur are two minerals required in this process, and small amounts of heme Iron from animals or larger amounts of non-heme iron from dark leafy vegetables, along with sulfur from cabbage family foods, including broccoli sprouts, are important for you to include sufficiently.
Important anti-oxidants also include Vitamin E as mixed tocopherols, Vitamin C, glutathione and quercetin (or use lots of raw onion, apples or red grapes). Alpha lipoic acid is also fundamental to work with Vitamin E and CoEnzyme Q10 to maintain their active forms.
And, fats need to be high in Omega-3 fatty acids, from cold-water fish, flax or hemp. Zinc is also an important mineral in addition to those mentioned above — raw pumpkin seeds are the best source, along with asparagus, spinach and summer squash.
Start the new year off right, while you are focused on turning over a new leaf. http://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com/2007/05/06/can-we-combat-and-reformulate-global-capitalism-why-try/
More on mitochondria another time, possibly next week.
Best to all — Em
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(c)2008 Em http://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com
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