Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons are fearsome. The neurodegeneration robs you of your mind and body. Prevention is possible, but dementia support has to start NOW.
I know that I’ve covered the mitochondria before since it is, after all, everyone’s favorite organelle. But it never hurts to review (besides, if you ever get on Jeopardy you can say, “Alex, I’ll take cellular organelles for $500, please” with confidence).
Think way back to your high school biology class and the anatomy of a cell. To the mitochondria. The little “powerhouse of the cell.” That little organelle within the cell that helps to generate energy for a cell. And the “energy currency” for every cell is adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. There are some billion or so reactions that occur in our body EVERY SECOND, and each one of these requires a molecule of ATP to get the job done.
Some tissues, like fat, use very little energy.
Others, like the heart, our muscles and our brain, use much more.
At rest, the nervous system, which includes our brain, is the greatest utilizer of ATP in the body. Once we start moving, the muscles take over and have the greatest need.
Poor lifestyle choices that lead to exposure to toxic chemicals, stress and processed foods begin to damage these precious little ATP-producing buggers. Luckily, a lifestyle devoid of stress with minimal toxic exposure and lots of fruits, veggies and spices can protect our mitochondria.
However, if the brain cells lose too many of their own mitochondria through this damaging process, ultimately the remaining mitochondria can no longer keep up with the energy needs of the cell and the cell begins a process called apoptosis, or cell suicide.
If you can envision the solid Scottish accent of Scotty from Star Trek calling up to the bridge saying, “Captain, we can hold ‘er together anymore,” than you get an idea of what begins to happen (except Captain Kirk always seems to figure out the problem and save the USS Enterprise—not so much for our brains at this point…).
If you would like to protect your brain and have it last at least as long as your body, then you need to begin NOW to protect it. Ways to protect your brain from dementia and neurodegeneration have been covered in previous posts and can be read here.
This particular review looks at this process of damage to our mitochondria and the subsequent neurodegeneration that occurs. I thought I’d throw it in just in case you thought that I really had no idea what I am talking about (especially since your neurologist has mentioned that we don’t know what causes the brain to break down).
If you have a family history of a neurodegenerative disorder, what changes have you made NOW to protect your brain?