About Mitochondria

The human body requires “energy” to function in an efficient and healthy manner. Such energy is generated within the body’s cells. More specifically, it is the mitochondria within the cell that generate this needed energy. The mitochondria are distinctly known as the “power plants” of the body. They are responsible for the generation of approximately 95% of the energy used by the human body on a daily basis – energy that powers every part of the body, including major organs such as the brain, heart, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, liver, kidneys, and muscles.

The human body is believed to contain trillions of mitochondria. Each individual cell may contain between 100 to 2,500 mitochondria, depending on its specific function. The most unique aspect of the mitochondria is that it contains its own DNA (mtDNA). Because of this, mitochondria can replicate as needed. When the two strands separate, the biological information is replicated. According to recent research, the number of mitochondria and their overall wellness and performance in the cell is related to a person’s general quality of health and longevity.

Cell Structure and Its Components

Beyond their critical involvement in cellular respiration, mitochondria also play an important role in cell signaling, programmed cell death, cell growth, cell division, and the regulation of cell metabolism. Additionally, the mitochondria help protect against disease.

What do mitochondria do?

The mitochondria do remarkable work.

  • Mitochondria break down nutrients delivered to the cell in a process called metabolization.
  • The mitochondria then combine the end products of this process with oxygen to produce ATP (adenosine happens in the inner membrane of the mitochondria), in a part called the Electron Transport Chain(ETC). ATP is the main chemical that fuels the body on a 24-hour basis. This entire process, known as cellular respiration, depends on mitochondria working properly.
  • Beyond their critical involvement in cellular respiration, mitochondria also play an important role in cell signaling, cell growth, cell division, and the apoptosis (process of programmed cell death).
  • Additionally, the mitochondria help protect against disease.

What can affect the health of mitochondria?

As mitochondria generate ATP via oxidation they are constantly exposed to free radicals which, in turn, accelerate the degradation and destruction of the mitochondria’s DNA. Unlike cellular DNA, which can protect itself from free radicals because of its double membrane structure, mitochondrial DNA cannot. Therefore, exposure to free radical damage leads to a decline in mitochondria and their function. Free radicals are unstable molecules formed in the cell due to chemical reactions. They look to bind to other stable molecules and destroy them in the process. They are responsible for many health issues.

How do the mitochondria produce energy?

Electron Transport Chain (ETC) is a group of proteins, named complex I to V that are located in the inner membrane of the mitochondria. They are involved in the production of ATP through the process of aerobic respiration also called cellular respiration. They are electron acceptors and produce ATP. Electron acceptors are chemical compounds that can accept electrons transferred from another compound. All the nutrients must be converted to ATP to be used as energy for cellular function.

  • Complex I – NADH Dehydrogenase or NADH oxidoreductase. Mitochondrial complex I is the primary entry point for electrons into the electron transport chain, required for the bulk of cellular ATP production via oxidative phosphorylation.
  • Complex II – Succinate Dehydrogenase. This converts succinate to fumarate in the Krebs cycle
  • Complex III – Cytochrome Reductase
  • Complex IV – Cytochrome Oxidase. This accepts electrons from Complex III and oxygen then combines hydrogen and makes water
  • Complex V – ATP synthase. As the H+ ions move from the inter membrane space to the matrix, the energy created during this movement helps convert ADP to ATP, which is the energy source of the cell

What happens when the mitochondria do not function well?

Research shows that impaired mitochondrial function may be involved in many neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, developmental delay and Autism, as well as other disease conditions such as kidney and liver defects, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

What are mitochondrial disorders?

Mitochondrial disorders occur when the mitochondria fail and are not able to produce the energy a cell or tissue needs. This causes cell injury, or even cell death and organ damage.

Mitochondrial dysfunction is involved in causing a wide variety of medical disorders. When the mitochondria don’t function well, it can result in problems ranging from mild to serious and debilitating illnesses. Signs and symptoms of mitochondrial diseases can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Intolerance to exercise
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of muscle coordination
  • Neurological symptoms
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Heart failure
  • Diabetes
  • Deafness
  • Blindness
  • Stunted growth
  • Learning disabilities

The clinical features of mitochondrial disorders may involve only one organ or almost any combination of organ systems. Mitochondrial disorders may present at any age and, in most cases, affect both sexes equally.


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Mitochondrial Dysfunction

Everything the human body does requires “energy”. Mitochondria are the power plants of the body.

They are responsible for the generation of energy to power cells throughout every part of the body, including major organs such as the brain, heart, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, liver, kidneys, and muscles.

If the mitochondria are not functioning properly and are what is termed “dysfunctional”, a number of health problems may arise.

Knowing the functional capacity of the mitochondria is vital for managing overall wellness.

MitoSWAB™ is the first and only “non-invasive” evaluative test to analyze the power of the mitochondria by measuring the activity of the electron transport chain. Chain (complex I and IV). Citrate Synthase will be measured to quantity the amount of mitochondria in the sample.

Mitochondrial Dysfunctions present in:

  • Autism
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Seizures
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Heart and Kidney problems

Mitochondrial Disease

  • Leigh’s disease
  • Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON)
  • Autosomal Dominant Optic Atrophy (ADOA)
  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Deficiency
  • Other genetic disorders like Alpers Syndrome, Barth Syndrome, Carnitine Deficiency, Complex I, II,III, IV, V Deficiency, Co-Enzyme Q10 Deficiency, MELAS etc.

With a simple swab of the cheeks, MITOSWAB™ will provide valuable information about the functionality of the mitochondria