Whether for human beings or for other animals, the primary mitochondrial function is to produce energy. Each cell of our body includes a mitochondrion. It produces energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This energy is necessary for body cells to perform all the works necessary for survival and proper functioning. Mitochondrion is known as the cellular energy generator that supplies energy to all over the body needed for a healthy life span.
Mitochondrial Function in Aging:
Though sounding odd, research studies have found connection between aging and mitochondrial function. As we age, the structural integrity and functional ability of mitochondria decreases over time. The symptoms of skin aging, such as wrinkles, age spots, crows feet, fine lines, skin tone deterioration, etc. are the results of mitochondrial dysfunction.
How Mitochondrial Function is Connected to Aging?:
During the process of energy production, mitochondria release a harmful by-products called free radicals that can destroy biomolecules, such as lipid, protein, and DNA. This damage gradually deteriorates mitochondrial function and increases the number of harmful oxidants. These oxidants damage skin cell biomolecules, such as elastin, collagen, hyaluronic acid, etc. The upshot of this oxidative stress is the occurrence of symptoms of aging.
The Ways to Increase Mitochondrial Function to Prevent Aging:
In order to slow down the aging process, scientists are trying to reverse the decline in mitochondrial function. However, the main thing is that we have to keep our mitochondria in a healthy condition if we want to avoid pre-mature aging.
The best and simple approach to keep mitochondria hale and hearty is to live a healthy lifestyle. Balanced diets, regular exercises, sufficient rest, etc. are some common but effective ways to serve this purpose. A good supply of anti-oxidants intake is also necessary as they can effectively fight the destructive free radicals. Some anti-oxidant supplements are available in the market claiming to raise the level of anti-oxidants inside the body. However, these supplements should not be used without consulting a health specialist.
Other mitochondrial functions:
Other than having role in aging, mitochondria perform some cell specific functions too:
- Mitochondria do all the necessary build up, break down, and recycle needed for cells to function properly
- One important mitochondrial function is to create parts of blood and some hormones like estrogen and testosterone
- They take part in steroids synthesis
- Mitochondria are essential for neurotransmitter and cholesterol metabolism
- Actively participate in the detoxification of ammonia in the urea cycle
- Monitor differentiation, growth, and development of cells
So, it is seen that mitochondrial function is not confined only to energy production but also to cell specific products needed for natural functioning of cells. Normal cycle of cell functioning will be affected if mitochondria do not function properly.
To decrease mitochondrial decay and increase natural cellular anti-oxidant capability nothing is better than to live a controlled and balanced life. The natural flow aging can also be decelerated by maintaining a routine life. So, in order to enjoy an extended youth, we need to exercise a healthy lifestyle that will keep our mitochondrial function well in order.