How do mitochondria produce energy? Mitochondria convert chemical energy from food into usable energy, called ATP energy.
What Are Mitochondria?
The word mitochondria refers to the membrane-bound organelles often found in most eukaryotic cells. Primarily, they orchestrate the production of energy in the cells. Mitochondria play a crucial role in energy metabolism. Improving mitochondrial function is beneficial to anyone looking to improve endurance or reduce fatigue. Beyond energy production, these organelles carry genetic information in the form of mtDNA and encode 13 proteins that play a fundamental role in the respiratory chain pathway.
The big question remains: how do mitochondria produce energy? In this post, I’ll review the mitochondrial bioenergetics function and pathway. I’ll also introduce Cistanche tubulosa, a nootropic extract that offers energy, anti-fatigue, anti-aging, and significant brain health properties.
How Do Mitochondria Produce Energy?
Mitochondria serve as a powerhouse to a range of enzymatic systems that play a key role in the oxidation of proteins, sugars, and fats essential in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) energy (also called cellular energy). These substrates are first catabolized to form acetyl-CoA, which is then taken up into the citric acid cycle that occurs in the matrix of the mitochondria.
Sugars undergo glycolysis in the cytosol and are converted to pyruvate that enters the mitochondria. The enzyme pyruvate dehydrogenase helps to facilitate the conversion of pyruvate into acetyl-CoA. Fatty acids are converted to acetyl-CoA through beta-oxidation that takes place in the mitochondrial matrix.
The citric acid cycle is also commonly referred to as the Krebs Cycle or the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. Here, 2 carbon acetyl from acetyl-CoA is moved to the 4 carbon oxaloacetate to form 6-carbon molecule citrate.
More About How Mitochondria Produce Energy
Through oxidation, the citrate is converted back to oxaloacetate as carbon iv oxide molecules are passed to cofactors FADH2 (flavin adenine dinucleotide) and NADH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide). The oxaloacetate is taken back to the cycle as the energy produced is transported by the cofactors through to the electron chain of the mitochondria, also called the respiratory chain.
This chain comprises several protein complexes often embedded in the mitochondria membrane. In the respiratory chain, electrons eliminated from the citric acid cycle by FADH2 and NADH help to pump protons from the mitochondrial matrix to the inter-membrane space. This process generates a potential difference that powers ATO synthesis in the final stage of oxidative phosphorylation. NADH binds to complex I or NADH dehydrogenase to bring energy to the electron transport chain.
In the electron transport chain and citric acid cycle, nearly 200mV membrane voltage is coupled to adenosine diphosphate to enhance energy conversion in chemical bonds into ATP. The enzyme ATP synthase powers the final stage of oxidative phosphorylation.
Cistanche tubulosa for Mitochondrial Energy Support
Negative changes in mitochondrial function promote aging, inflammation, and cancer. By supporting a healthy mitochondria, you can prevent these changes while optimizing many other aspects of your health. The four most widely accepted ways to optimize your health are diet, exercise, sleep, and all-natural herbal supplements.
Scientific studies show Cistanche tubulosa (Rou Cong Rong) may enhance cognitive abilities such as learning and memory as well as optimize mitochondrial health. Consumption of Cistanche extract, a parasitic plant that grows in the Mongolian desert, has shown marked improvement in cell respiration, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory effects.
Furthermore, Cistanche tubulosa extract is considered to be a “yang invigorating” tonic in traditional Chinese medicine. Yang tonics enhance mitochondrial functional and antioxidant capacity. Studies have demonstrated that it may reduce muscle damage and improve ATP (cellular energy) storage.
Try Cistanche Tea Today
I’ve covered a lot of ground here to answer the question “how do mitochondria produce energy?” It also helps to note that mitochondria’s main role is to enhance oxidative phosphorylation to generate ATP energy. In addition, mitochondria play a significant role in programmed cell death, apoptosis and homeostasis. All of the functions above are essential in disease management and aging.
Cistanche tubulosa extract has gained popularity worldwide because of its potential energy, anti-fatigue- and anti-aging benefits. Linden Botanicals sells Cistanche extract in small 100 gram sizes as OOMPH! energy support and in larger sizes of 200 to 1,000 grams.