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Mitochondria – what are they & why are they so important?
Mitochondria are the primary energy producers in the body. The typical cell contains an average of 1,000 mitochondria. Given that there are 10 to the 13th power cells in a healthy adult, healthy and productive mitochondria are critical to maintain the body’s energy and resilience.
Recent studies have shown the importance to maintaining healthy mtDNA, the DNA which resides inside the mitochondria. Unlike standard DNA which has histones and introns to protect it from free radical damage, the mitochondrial DNA does not have this protective mechanism so it is much more exposed and more susceptible to oxidative damage (ROS or reactive oxidative stress). And since mitochondrial cell division takes place approximately every five to six days and replicates the damage existing in the old cells, the damaged mtDNA spreads rapidly. This is what eventually depletes the patient’s energy level and may lead to abnormal cellular formation.