Autism Treatment – Mitochondria & Energy Metabolism

Posted on 16 December 2009 by admin

I want to talk to you real briefly about mitochondria. We know that in Autism, mitochondria play a big role in body metabolism. But mitochondria play also a role in all of our health, in everybody’s life with respects to how our body produces energy. But there are some individuals that truly have an underlying mitochondrial disease, and these are usually detected very early in life and can be life threatening. But there are people who actually have underlying mitochondrial dysfunction that although they are not life threatening, can be problematic if they are challenged environmentally. If they get sick, if they have a vaccine reaction or if there are heavy metal toxins, whatever it may be, that over stresses their body.

In chronic fatigue syndrome we know that mitochondria can be stressed to where their body just isn’t producing enough energy and somebody has a chronic fatigue state. In Autism we know that mitochondria can become dysfunctional and energy metabolism is greatly affected and that affects almost everything from the immune system, to the detoxification system, to the nervous system.

Think about mitochondria like little factories inside our cells and they produce a tremendous amount of energy. What mitochondria use primarily as a fuel source for that energy is fat and protein. So we get a tremendous amount of byproduct from fat and protein production than over say sugar metabolism which usually doesn’t give a lot. The mitochondria are very important as far as producing this energy currency on the body.

The way I always think about this from a real simple standpoint, if you are going to build a campfire what are you going to first do? First you are going to get some kindling, some small branches, some dried leaves, and this will be your kindling to get the fire started. The kindling is equivalent to sugar or glucose. It burns quickly but it doesn’t have long lasting effect. Once you get the fire started though you need something that has more bulk behind it in order to get that long term fire potential. This is where you are going to get the medium to large sized logs. The medium to large sized logs that you put on your kindling and get those burning are equivalent to the protein and fat in the body. For long term energy support our body will usually convert into burning fat as the most productive way to utilize energy metabolism and use sugar as a quick start, inefficient form of body metabolism.

The problem is when you start having issues in the mitochondria and its ability to regulate metabolism. This is something seen quite often in Autism where there are different factors inside the mitochondria that become dysfunctional. We use various supplements like CoQ10, ribose, or NADH to try and fuel and feed the mitochondria to function more appropriately. So mitochondria is something you will hear about, it is an energy system inside our cells. Mitochondria is like the little energy factories of our cells. Mitochondria packs a big punch with respect to the amount of energy it produces to just keep us healthy and really just keep all of the organ systems in our body working appropriately.

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