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If you remember anything about high school biology, you might remember your mitochondria as the parts of your cells that make energy. Well they transform our food into molecules of energy called ATP.  

The tissues that need the most energy have the most mitochondria – muscle, heart, brain.  And when we exercise we can increase these energy-producing “organelles” in our cells.  That is one explanation of why exercise, be it strength training, aerobics,interval training, improve health and healthy aging.

But science is beginning to show us the many other functions of our mitochondria that may also contribute to healthy aging.  The list of newly discovered functions is long and included here.

ENERGY FACTORIES AND SO MUCH MORE:

  • Store and regulate calcium release into the cell; this influences the release of neurotransmitters and hormones
  • Required for cholesterol metabolism and synthesis of estrogen and testosterone.
  • Help in the production of building blocks of DNA and RNA
  • Essential to making hemoglobin 
  • Part of the detoxification systems and free radical production
  • Signaling for cell death

This may be more science than you care about yet consider that you can increase the functions of your mighty mitochondria by exercising regularly.  They love oxygen so even deep breathing and meditation may help keep them healthy.

To learn more about these wonderful wise entities in your cells, read Chapter 5 in Secrets of Your Cells (SOYC).  or you could take the next SOYC book club course.

And to get deeper into your own mitochondria, listen to this guided meditation.  

Scientist-photographer author and teacher bringing together science, art and sometimes the sacred. PhD biochemist, post-doc in immunology and years of teaching mindbody health and sensory awareness. Looking within with a microscope my vision of the world has changed, yours might, too.