Cellular metabolic energy drives every action within the human body.
An inevitable consequence (if not a precursor) of aging is a slow, insidious decline in cellular energy levels. The outward effects often present as a sense of overall fatigue, depression, sexual dysfunction and a variety of diseases of aging. The internal effect of a cellular energy deficit is a greater vulnerability to a host of degenerative diseases.
A chronic decrease in cellular metabolic energy is an underlying cause of many seemingly unrelated, age-related diseases. As humans grow older, systemic energy depravation can inflict devastating degenerative effects throughout the body. This fact is often overlooked by the medical establishment, yet persuasive scientific evidence exists that correcting chronic cellular energy production may enable many of the infirmities of aging to be prevented or reversed.
The prime reason cells lose their energy-producing ability is that the powerhouses of the cells - the mitochondria - become dysfunctional due to nutritional deficiencies. Research has shown that carnitine, ribose, coenzyme Q10, acetyl l-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid are critical to maintaining optimal mitochondrial function and supporting high energy production.
Dangers of cellular energy depravation should not be ignored. Every organ - from the heart to the kidneys to the skin; every process in the body - from walking to breathing to immune function to vision - is driven by energy produced in the cell's mitochondria. Proven ways exist to increase the effectiveness of cellular respiration and reduce the effects of aging. By following specific diet and supplement protocols, energy production can be restored and maintained.
Since the mitochondria provide energy to every cell in the body, it is not surprising that published research has implicated optimum mitochondrial function in
Four recent books and one major paper summarize recent research and discuss the benefits of supplementing with the Metabolic Optimizer™ protocol:
1. Sinatra Solution - Metabolic Cardiology: New Hope for Preventing & Treating Heart Disease. Discover the triad of cardiac health - Coenzyme Q10, L-Carnitine, and D-Ribose. In combination, they help prevent and overcome heart disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and Syndrome X.; Stephen T. Sinatra M.D., F.A.C.C.
2. Reverse Heart Disease Now: Stop deadly cardiovascular plaque before it's too late. The newest cardiology breakthrough to halt arterial disease & high blood pressure, prevent heart attack & stroke, and reverse heart failure. Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D. and James C. Roberts, M.D. with Martin Zucker
3. Dr Perricone's 7 Secrets to Beauty, Health and Longevity: The Miracle of Cellular Rejuvenation; Nicholas Perricone, M.D.
4. Low micronutrient intake may accelerate the degenerative diseases of aging through allocation of scarce micronutrients by triage; Bruce Ames, Ph.D. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U S A. 2006 Nov 21;103(47):17589-94.
5. Pain Free 1-2-3: A proven Program for Eliminating Chronic Pain Now; Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D.
Mitochondria are small, oval shaped organelles surrounded by two highly specialized membranes that convert energy from fats derived from food. Mitochondria are the sites of aerobic respiration, and are the major energy production center in cells.
The metabolic ATP Krebs energy cycle provides critical energy to every function in the body from beating of the heart to liver, kidney, brain and immune functions. Research has shown that increasing the energy available to the cells helps the body operate at its optimum level.
Dr. Bruce Ames presented his "triage theory" of aging in November 2006 that explains past observations of age-associated mitochondrial decay. This theory says that evolution has equipped the body with a triage mechanism: When deficient, micronutrients are reserved for short-term health and reproduction - disabling DNA repair and longevity.6
Dr. Ames research on DNA aging in old rats and its reversal with Mitochondrial Optimizer™ supplements - acetyl l-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid, shows that mitochondria in old rats can be made to look more like that in young rats. Their brains got better and they were more energetic.13
Based on the following observations - many kinds of nutrient deficiencies cause long-term DNA damage to human cells and many studies implicate long-term deficiencies as a cause of cancer and other conditions - he asked why would nature do it this way? The answer is that in order for someone to live long-term, they have to survive the deficiencies and episodic shortages in the short-term. Whenever there is a trade-off between short-term and long-term, short-term gets favored.
There is a known triage between organs - if you're short of iron, you take it out of the liver before you take it out of the heart, because if you take it out of the heart, you're dead. And one of the things that is long-term is DNA damage, which doesn't show up as cancer for 20 years.
Dr. Ames observes that following the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamins is inadequate for long-term health. He reports that the RDA was set by looking at only short-term nutrient needs. Someone might seem in perfect health, however their DNA is being damaged because of inadequate long-term nutrient intake.
In answer to the dichotomy about calorie restriction promoting longevity, Dr. Ames responds that calorie restriction itself does not seem to be the cause of longevity. "The animals in these studies maintain micronutrients by receiving lots of vitamins and other supplements. They're saturated with supplements."6
The heart utilizes more energy than any other muscle in the body, thus the concentration of mitochondria within heart cells is higher than any other organ. The heart is the most susceptible organ to free-radical oxidative stress, environmental toxicities, heavy metal poisoning and premature aging. Yet it's also highly responsive to the benefits of targeted nutritional supplements.1
The heart needs a large amount of oxygenated blood flow to continually meet its huge energy demands. The synergistic combination of the Metabolic Optimizer™ protocol - coenzyme Q10, L-carnitine, and D-ribose - maximizes the amount of oxygen that the heart can extract from blood by accelerating the rate at which cells convert nutrients to energy.
Essential to youthful, healthy skin are cells called fibroblasts. Fibroblasts produce the essential proteins known as collagen and elastin, which provide structural support and elasticity to the skin. In aging adults, however, fibroblast cells demonstrate dramatic mitochondrial dysfunction.9 As a result, fibroblasts are less able to produce the energy required to carry out their essential skin-supporting functions. Scientists believe that this energy deficit of essential skin cells contributes to the visible signs of skin aging.10,11
Efficient metabolic processes go hand-in-hand with maintaining normal weight, glucose levels, and muscle mass.3
Researchers at Bastyr University in Washington have identified a growing body of evidence that has demonstrated a link between various disturbances in mitochondrial functioning and type 2 diabetes. The mitochondrion is an integral part of the insulin system found in the islet cells of the pancreas. Researchers identified the systemic complexity of mitochondrial functioning in terms of tissue and energetic thresholds. This basic research into the pathogenesis of diabetes has led to the awareness of natural therapeutics, such as coenzyme Q10 and carnitine, that increase mitochondrial functioning, resulting in maintaining normal weight and glucose levels.14
Mitochondria have been connected with cancer since the 1930s, when researchers first noticed that these organelles act dysfunctional when cancer is present, resulting in the unique aerobic glycolysis metabolic profile of cancer. Researchers at the University of Alberta have shown that restoring mitochondrial function decreases cancer tumor growth.16
Until recently, researchers believed that cancer-affected mitochondria are permanently damaged and that this damage is the result, not the cause, of the cancer. More recently, researchers found that the normalization of mitochondrial function resulted in a significant decrease in tumor growth both in test tubes and in animal models.16
Studies have demonstrated that migraine patients have impaired mitochondrial function resulting in a reduction in energy production in brain tissue.17 Research has also shown an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women who suffered from migraines.18
Nutrients essential for mitochondrial energy production include magnesium, CoQ10, Carnitine, and Ribose. Controlled trials have demonstrated that supplementing with either magnesium or Coenzyme Q10 can reduce the attack rate in migraine sufferers,17 just as they benefit CVD patients.1
The principle function of L-Carnitine is to facilitate the transport of long-chain fatty acids across the inner mitochondrial membrane to begin the cellular metabolic (energy production) process. L-Carnitine is the only carrier that can perform this function, thus its abundant presence is critical to life.
Coenzyme Q10 is a crucial component in the cellular energy production cycle. Research indicates that supplementation with CoQ10 plays a key role in promoting cardiovascular health, protecting DNA from free radical induced oxidative damage, and maintaining healthy energy levels.
Kaneka, the largest Japanese producer of CoQ10 has patented Ubiquinol, a novel form of coenzyme Q10 that increases human blood levels up to 8-times more efficiently than expensive, higher-absorption CoQ10 products offered by commercial companies, and potentially 10 times more effectively than standard CoQ10.
Ribose is a simple 5-carbon sugar that occurs naturally throughout the body. It is made from glucose, but in stressed cells, glucose is preferentially metabolized for energy turnover rather than ribose synthesis. Supplementation with Metabolic Optimizer™ - Ribose builds ATP in heart and muscle, providing healthy levels of cardiac energy needed to maintain normal heart function. Ribose does not add to glycemic load.
When cells are depleted of oxygen, large amounts of ATP, the body's primary energy-carrying molecule, can be depleted in heart and skeletal muscles. D-Ribose is used by the body to synthesize nucleotides, ATP, nucleic acids, and glycogen and thus replenish energy in the cells.
Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR) is an amino acid-like compound which plays a key role in the transport of fatty acids from inside the cell through the mitochondrial membrane to the mitochondria for beta-oxidation. This is a crucial step for energy production. ALCAR controls the metabolism of sugars, lipids and amino acids, thus playing a pivotal role in cellular energy and turn over of cell membranes and proteins.
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a powerful fat and water-soluble antioxidant. ALA directly recycles vitamin C and indirectly recycles vitamin E, providing additional antioxidant protection. It is an important component in the energy production process within cells.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid limits and reduces the excess free radicals, which cause free radical damage initiated as a byproduct of energy production in the mitochondria. ALA acts similarly to the function of a catalytic converter on a car, minimizing the long-term damage to the cellular environment.
6. Downey M; Triage theory offers a new look at aging: an interview with Bruce Ames, Ph.D. NFM 2007 Jan; p56.
7. Liu J, Atamna H, Kuratsune H, Ames BN. Delaying brain mitochondrial decay and aging with mitochondrial antioxidants and metabolites. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 Apr;959:133-66.
8. Singh RB, et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of coenzyme CoQ10 in patients with end-stage renal failure. J Nutr Environ Med 2003;13:13-22.
9. Greco M, Villani G, Mazzucchelli F, Bresolin N, Papa S, Attardi G. Marked aging-related decline in efficiency of oxidative phosphorylation in human skin fibroblasts. FASEB J. 2003 Sep;17(12):1706-8.
10. Blatt T, Lenz H, Kpoop U, et al. Stimulation of skin's energy metabolism provides multiple benefits for mature human skin. Biofactors. 2005;25(1-4):179-85.
11. Passi S, De PO, Puddu P, Littarru GP. Lipophilic antioxidants in human sebum and aging. Free Radic Res. 2002 Apr;36(4):471-7.
12. Micronutrients prevent cancer and delay aging. Bruce Ames, Ph.D. Toxicol Lett. 1998 Dec 28;102-103:5-18.
13. Ames BN, Shigenaga MK, Hagen TM. Mitochondrial decay in aging. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1271(1): 165-170, 1995.
14. Lamson DW, Plaza SM. Mitochondrial factors in the pathogenesis of diabetes: a hypothesis for treatment. Altern Med Rev. 2002 Apr;7(2):94-111.
15. K Maresh CM, et al. Dietary supplementation and improved anaerobic performance. Int J Sport Nutri, 4(4):387-397, 1994.
16. Bonnet S, Archer SL, Allalunis-Turner J, Haromy A, Beaulieu C, Thompson R, Lee CT, Lopaschuk GD, Puttagunta L, Bonnet S, Harry G, Hashimoto K, Porter CJ, Andrade MA, Thebaud B, Michelakis ED. A mitochondria-K+ channel axis is suppressed in cancer and its normalization promotes apoptosis and inhibits cancer growth. Cancer Cell. 2007 Jan;11(1):37-51.
17. Sandor PS, et al. Efficacy of coenzyme Q10 in migraine prophylaxis: a randomized controlled trial. Neurology 2005;64:713-715.
18. American Heart Association Scientific Sessions; Chicago, Illinois, USA: 12–15 November 2006.