Supervital Active Longevity, 'feeling as good as we can for as long as you can,' is the idea behind BESUPERVITAL® and the information presented in our journal, The Supervital. The goal really is to age in a way that minimizes discomfort, injury, and debilitation of the mind and body so that we can live the way we want and do the things we want to do for as long as we want to do them.
Optimizing and getting the most out of our mitochondrial health is essential within Supervital Active Longevity. This includes promoting a positive outlook on life, eating optimally nutritious food, strategizing strength-building exercises to build athletic/flexible bodies, and taking next-level functional supplements.
Before we can optimize the function and efficiency of our mitochondria, let's investigate what they are, what they do, and, essentially, how can mitochondria help us thrive?
The cell and it's anatomical components (organelles).
HOW CAN MITOCHONDRIA HELP US THRIVE?
Mitochondria are dynamic components of our cells, kind of a 'cell within a cell' of sorts. Each cell has its own microscopic anatomy, tiny organs referred to as organelles. The mitochondria are known as the 'powerhouse of the cell.' Mitochondria make cellular energy, including ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and NADH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide). They are also self-replicating, which is referred to as biogenesis. Biogenesis is essential to our overall ability to efficiently heal, recover, and perform. The biogenesis of mitochondria increases the efficiency and capacity of our cells to function at their best. 
When things are going well, mitochondria are healthy and vital. When things are not so well, they can be broken down and damaged, leading to physiological decline and illness. When not working correctly, mitochondria can be very damaging to the cell, and they are known to play an essential role in the aging process.
When mitochondria are working correctly, they produce ENERGY and a lot of it. Our mitochondria will take the air we breathe and the food we eat and turn it into energy, in the form of ATP, that our cells use to carry out life's functions: grow, divide and cease when necessary to save the whole organism.
The quality of the air we breathe and the food we eat will affect how well the mitochondria do their job and, ultimately, how well we feel and how well we age.
Coincidently, the cells that contain the most mitochondria also require the most energy. This includes the brain, heart, liver, and muscle. The only cells that do not have mitochondria are red blood cells. 
Mitochondria are responsible for many other functions within the cell outside of energy production. They are responsible for producing cell signaling molecules , reactions concerning fatty acid metabolism , the urea cycle , the biosynthesis of the heme part of hemoglobin , producing body heat , and killing off cells that have become unviable (apoptosis) .
The roles mitochondria play can be described as The Great Energy Converter, The Regulator of Life & Death, and The Generator of Disorder & Disease. Let's dive into each of its various roles.
MITOCHONDRIA AS 'THE GREAT ENERGY CONVERTER'
Oxygen is the primary component of the energy production capacity of the mitochondria. They take oxygen and convert it using other forms of energy we get from food to create NADH. Enzymes within the mitochondria take over and generate ATP through oxidative phosphorylation and the Krebs cycle. In return for this work, the host cell supplies physical protection and a constant supply of oxygen and food so the mitochondria can function ideally and optimally. Additionally, the food quality provided can affect mitochondrial output and results.
Cellular Respiration is where the cell combines oxygen with glucose (or ketones) to produce energy (ATP), via Glycolysis, the Krebs Cycle, & the Electron Transport Chain.
Are ketones, from fatty acids, better than glucose, from carbohydrates, for energy production?
Fatty acid metabolism results in a cleaner energy source for the production of ATP than glucose. In the absence of glucose, like when we fast or are practicing Intermittent Fasting, our body transitions to the breakdown of fatty acids from our diet or, preferably, adipose tissue. This results in the formation of Ketone Bodies. Ketones can supply the necessary fuel for the production of ATP that the mitochondria so desperately need. When we utilize ketones for fuel, the reactive oxygen species (ROS) given off during glucose metabolism is significantly reduced. You are left with a cleaner energy source that typically leaves you feeling better.
"When mitochondria are fueled by ketones instead of glucose, their ability to produce ATP is enhanced, and free-radical byproducts are reduced."
— Dr. Jong Rho, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Clinical Neurology at the Alberta Children's Hospital 
Optimizing our diet and supplement intake to promote ketone metabolism alters the hierarchy of glucose vs. ketone competition within our mitochondria for energy production. It causes us to become more efficient by increasing the flexibility of our metabolism during exercise, reducing the need to break down glucose, and improving the efficiency of stored fat burning as an energy source, also known as muscle fat oxidation. 
In cells with high energy demand, large numbers of mitochondria are found. For example, in cells of the heart, 40% of the cell space is taken up by mitochondria. Liver cells boast 20-25% of the intercellular area yielding up to 2000 mitochondria per cell. WOW! 
MITOCHONDRIA AS 'THE REGULATOR OF LIFE & DEATH'
Every minute of life, millions of cells in our bodies undergo a regulated form of cell death called apoptosis. Apoptosis can be good and bad, but mostly, it's a good thing. When working correctly, apoptosis occurs to control cells at risk of mutating and/or not working correctly. Cellular mutation can be triggered from various sources but ultimately comes down to accumulated damaged DNA leading to cell dysfunction and how, ultimately, our genes are expressed.
These altered signals activated within the cell can trigger abnormal cell division and over-replication. This uncontrolled growth caused by damaged DNA eventually leads to cancer. [12-14]
Properly functioning cell signaling, programmed cell death, and mitigation of accumulated DNA damage are imperative to healthy aging. The mitochondria are an integral facilitator of this process.
This diseased or damaged cell is selected for apoptosis, via various pathways, for cellular destruction.
MITOCHONDRIA AS 'THE GENERATOR OF DISORDER & DISEASE'
Mitochondria are critical energy converters, taking oxygen from the air you breathe and glucose and fat from your food, or ideally ketones. Breathing and eating supply the nutrients for oxidative phosphorylation, which mitochondria use to create ATP. The downside of this process is that it's not a fully 'clean' energy production system. The byproducts (waste) produced from the creation of ATP lead to reactive oxygen species (ROS) and include free radicals. If ROS is not kept in check, it can damage mitochondrial membranes, mitochondrial DNA, and the cell's DNA (nucleus).
The efficiency and production of ATP are essential to Supervital Active Longevity; however, there is a trade-off. In producing energy, your body reacts to the ROS generated, and the damaging effects can affect how quickly your body ages.
Damaged mitochondria will become increasingly inefficient at producing energy, causing mitochondrial DNA corruption and leading to a cell that cannot perform its various tasks as it should. This is referred to as accumulated oxidative stress and can result in low energy levels and potentially severe health conditions.
How quickly your cells age depends largely on how efficiently your mitochondria function and how much damage can be minimized and managed by optimizing your diet. This includes the quality of the food and when you eat it and strategizing next-level supplements to help the natural resistance mitochondria use to combat accumulated oxidative stress.
A normal cell undergoes accumulated oxidative stress resulting in a damaged cell that could be selected for apoptosis, depending on the extent of the damage.
Aging is a natural process of the body. Our cells divide and replicate at a slower pace as we get older. This process is the reason why our bodies age. This occurs in response to stress from our internal and external environments. Examples of external stress would include radiation from sunlight and radon, industrial chemicals, cigarette smoke, breathing polluted air, physical and emotional stress, drinking chlorinated water , food processing byproducts and mutagens, endocrine disrupting compounds (DDT, PCBs, BPA, PFCs, phthalates, parabens, etc.) , drugs and many others.
Internal environment stress (intrinsic stressors) would include reactive oxygen species (ROS) and other oxidative reactions occurring within cells. How efficient we are at handling these oxidative reactions relates more to our specific genetics (heredity) and how well or not so well our genes are expressed. Genetic polymorphisms, which are variants or different versions of genes, can mean we handle specific reactions well at the cellular level or really not well at all, essentially classifying us as predisposed or resilient to diseases of aging. 
The formation of free radicals, leading to DNA damage, can occur from many extrinsic and intrinsic sources, such as UV Radiation, Pollution, Smoking, Ionizing Radiation, Inflammation, and Metabolic reactions.
The majority of DNA damage is corrected by DNA repair mechanisms that are in place and occur in properly functioning components of the cell, nucleus, and mitochondria. However, DNA damage will accumulate if this process becomes inefficient and the standard repair mechanisms can't keep up, leading to cell dysfunction and mutations. DNA damage and accumulation lead to cellular senescence, aging, cancer, and neurodegeneration. 
Internal and external stress can lead to telomere dysfunction, oncogene activation, and persistent DNA damage. Leading to impaired tissue regeneration, chronic age-associated diseases, and the aging process itself.
In fact, our bodies get weaker with time, but it is never too late to start techniques focused on rejuvenation and regeneration. We can slow the process and improve our healthspan by supporting our mitochondria.
Antioxidants can counteract free radicals and neutralize them. Our bodies are equipped with an Innate Antioxidant System that consists of antioxidants in three forms: Enzymatic, Water Soluble (hydrophilic), and Fat Soluble (lipophilic).
These forms also constitute levels of defense against oxidative stress that can act as free radical preventatives, free radical scavengers, free radical-induced damage repair, and adaptive coordination of free radical neutralizers. They are categorized as first, second, third, and fourth-line defense antioxidants. 
Electron pairings of various molecules within a cell leading to the scavenging of free radicals.
These enzymatic antioxidants are considered first-line defense antioxidants because they can be fast-acting neutralizers of any molecule to contribute to free radical formation. They include Superoxide Dismutase, Catalase, Glutathione Peroxidase, and the Thioredoxin Antioxidant System.
Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) enzymes are present in almost all cells and extracellular fluids. The families of SOD form complexes with Zinc, Copper, and Manganese in human cells (eukaryotic). These complexes will have an affinity for specific cellular components like the cytosol, mitochondria, and extracellular matrix. 
There are three versions of SOD, and they are inventively named SOD1, SOD2, and SOD3...clever, huh!
SOD1 (Cu/Zn-SOD) is the Copper-Zinc bound version of SOD in the cell's cytoplasm. A variety of mutations of SOD1 have been linked to familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). 
SOD2 (MnSOD) or Manganese SOD is the mitochondrial version of SOD.
SOD3 (Cu/Zn SOD) is the major extracellular SOD version and also uses Copper and Zinc as its binding metals.
Alterations in the expression intensity or activity of SODs have been found in some of the most common age-dependent diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer. [22-24]
Natural sources of SOD include cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, brussels sprouts, wheatgrass, barley grass, and broccoli. 
Catalase (CAT) enzymatic specialty is its ability to effectively degrade hydrogen peroxide. Catalase works alongside SOD and Glutathione peroxidase rather than on its own. Glutathione peroxidase assists catalase in further detoxifying hydrogen peroxide in mammals.
When the immune system is signaled in response to bacteria, large amounts of hydrogen peroxide are produced by immune cells to fight the infection. Hydrogen peroxide can stay around for too long and become toxic to the cells it was trying to help. This is one example of how catalase and glutathione peroxidase help keep us in check. If not handled properly, hydrogen peroxide can produce devastating tissue damage in almost all organs of the body. [26-28]
Too much hydrogen peroxide expression has been implicated in various autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases typically involve persistent and abnormal signaling of the immune system, specifically white blood cells. White blood cell signaling is stimulated by the overproduction of hydrogen peroxide in the affected tissues. Deficiencies in catalase function can occur from accumulated oxidative stress resulting in its inability to keep up with hydrogen peroxide breakdown demand. [29, 30]
Tissues with long-term exposure to white-blood cells typically suffer from chronic irritation and inflammation, a hallmark symptom for various autoimmune diseases. 
Glutathione peroxidase is a selenium-dependent enzymatic antioxidant involved in the spectrum of breaking down hydrogen peroxide. It is like catalase in that way. However, it goes a step further and works on lipid peroxides and oxidized fatty acids. There are 5 versions of glutathione peroxidase in mammals expressed through almost all tissues. Glutathione peroxidase uses water-soluble glutathione to break down and neutralize various molecules before they contribute to cellular damage.
The unique aspect of glutathione peroxidase is that it can react alone with these molecules without help from catalase or SOD. This makes glutathione peroxidase a significant source of protection against low-level oxidant stress. 
The thioredoxin system is a lesser-known first line of defense system composed of NADPH, Thioredoxin Reductase, and Thioredoxin. It is a crucial antioxidant system in defense against oxidative stress through its disulfide reductase activity regulating protein thiol/disulfide balance. Thioredoxin antioxidant system functions are also involved in protein and DNA repair by regulating the activity of many redox-sensitive transcription factors. 
Scavenging antioxidants fall into this category and primarily include water-soluble molecules and only a few fat-soluble ones. They scavenge active radicals to prevent cascading reactions. They specialize in catching new radicals before they get a chance to initiate chain reactions.
These antioxidants include Uric acid (urate), Ascorbate (Vitamin C), and Glutathione of the water-soluble category and Alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E) and Ubiquinol of the fat-soluble class.
Antioxidants in this category are a group of enzymes to repair damaged DNA, protein, and lipids. They come into play after free radical damage has occurred. They are on 'clean up duty' to prevent accumulated oxidative stress, which, as discussed, can be toxic to body tissues.
Antioxidant enzymes in this category include DNA repair enzyme systems and proteolytic enzymes. These enzymes are found in the mitochondria and cytosol of the cell and prevent the accumulation of oxidized proteins. 
Adaptation is the name of the game for this level of antioxidants. They involve adaptive mechanisms to identify when a free radical is being produced. These antioxidants engage and react to prevent the formation of free radicals by generating a signal to transport the appropriate antioxidant to the correct side. They orchestrate some of the aforementioned antioxidants on where they are needed most.
Antioxidants we get from our diet include compounds referred to as phenolics, flavonoids, phenolic acids, carotenoids, vitamins, and minerals. The specific compounds that fall into this category include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (8 isoforms), Vitamin K (K1 & K2), Coenzyme Q10, Zinc, Selenium, Allium, Allium Sulfur, Uric Acid, Glutathione, Flavonoids, and Phenolic Acid.
When we sit down for a meal, we intend to absorb all the beneficial macronutrients like proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. Additionally, the absorption of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and phytonutrients can be assisted or inhibited by food quality and how it is produced and processed. The bioavailability of the food we eat or the supplement we take matters.
The term bioavailability refers to nutrients that we consume and how well they are absorbed and utilized by our body. Instead of passing right through our digestive system, we want to fully benefit from the food and supplements we eat.
Starting with high-quality, organic, and unprocessed foods is a good start. Still, something to consider when selecting your food and supplements is how cooking or processing can drastically affect what you do or do not absorb/benefit from.
Health or life-stage similarly affect bioavailability because individuals absorb and use nutrients differently depending on their age, general health status, and presence of specific genetic polymorphisms. Eating certain foods together can also influence how the body absorbs various micronutrients because some foods don't interact well with other foods, leading to less absorption than expected.
Cellulose, for example, is a rigid cell wall of plant cells that makes the nutrients in plants less bioavailable or usable when eaten, depending on their method of cooking or processing. For example, phytates are antioxidant acids found in grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds that can inhibit the absorption of zinc, iron, calcium, manganese, and magnesium. [35, 36]
Each of our own innate bioavailability potentials varies from one person to the next. Sticking to the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of dietary macro or micronutrients may not cut it for you and your unique health status, phase in life, and healthspan goals. Feeding your body optimal nutrient amounts is vital to give your cells the best chance to achieve their potential and achieve Supervital Active Longevity.
There are a variety of methods to promote thriving mitochondria. One of them is calorie restriction. The most well-known version of that is fasting. A fast could last for a few days, a week, or even longer, depending on the program you are following or goals you are trying to achieve. The point of fasting is to activate a clean-up cascade within your body and cells. Eating less food reduces the energy demand required for digestion and, subsequently, on your mitochondria.
A version of fasting that can be more comfortable and has gained some traction is referred to as Intermittent Fasting. It basically means to fast a little bit pretty much every day and has been shown to positively affect your body as a whole and specifically your mitochondria. Intermittent fasting can promote efficiency in autophagy systems and the space to remove built-up metabolic byproducts, reactive oxygen species, and damaged proteins. [37-39]
Intermittent fasting can be broken into a few time goals. A 16/8 intermittent fast would involve fasting for 16 hours and then consuming your daily calorie intake during the remaining 8 hour period. The 14/10 intermittent fast is similar, by taking a 14-hour fast accompanied by a 10-hour eating window is a bit easier to start with. Depending on which daily hour goal you choose, it is typically recommended to perform the intermittent fast for five days followed by two days break of regular eating (5:2) or two 'cheat' days. Alternatively, a more involved version would be 5 days on the intermittent fast, 1 day of a dinner-to-dinner fast (a 24-hour fast), followed by one cheat day per week (5:1:1). 
The most important thing with starting any new eating style is listening to your body. After a few days of acclimating, you should ultimately feel good and have increased energy. If fatigue persists, reduce the intensity until you settle into a comfort zone.
Mitochondria will function better off healthy fats of the Mediterranean variety. Foods like olive oil, sardines, walnuts, avocado, coconut oil, and MCT oil. MCT oil is a component of coconut oil comprised of medium-chain triglycerides only. MCT Oil is typically made of 100% caprylic acid (C8), 100% capric acid (C10), or a combination of the two. Medium-chain triglycerides are metabolized differently than their more common counterparts, long-chain triglycerides. Due to the reduced number of carbon chains, MCTs are efficiently used and rapidly broken down and absorbed by the body, making them less likely to be sored as fat in adipose tissue.  Efficient metabolism of fats promotes a thriving mitochondrial environment and improved sense of well-being with less free radical formation than an excess of carbohydrates as fuel.
Additionally, eating the rainbow spectrum (reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, indigos, and violets) when it refers to vegetables and fruit provides nourishment in the form of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that will support your mitochondria with the cleanest fuel possible.
One additional nutritional powerhouse category to mention is the cruciferous vegetable family famously rich in sulfur: brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, turnip, radish, kohlrabi, watercress, rutabaga, kale, and maca. Cruciferous vegetables and mushrooms, interestingly enough, are loaded with the mitochondrial antioxidant glutathione that stimulates natural antioxidant support within the body.
In fact, mushrooms contain significant levels of glutathione and ergothioneine, making them a potent addition to a nutritional strategy to support the mitochondria. Additionally, these nutrients don't appear to degrade with cooking. Mushrooms are robust and unique in this way. Cooking in a pan with healthy fat (coconut, avocado, ghee, or grass-fed butter) works to unlock the mushroom fiber (chitin) and allows the release of the water and fat-soluble nutrients. 
Exercise is natural support for mitochondrial function, especially high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and has been shown to increase the number of mitochondria in cells.  Exercise programs that focus on strength and flexibility while minimizing joint injury are essential to Supervital Active Longevity. Some of our favorites include hot yoga, kettlebell training, and mace bell training. Anything that causes the dynamic use of your body under some type of load will promote a strong, flexible, and lean body as you age. Most importantly, though, have fun!
Sleep quality is crucial, not only from a rest, recovery, and rejuvenation perspective but a brain health perspective as well. We have a glymphatic system located in the brain and central nervous system that clears metabolic waste as we sleep. The glymphatic system appears to function mainly during sleep and is mostly dormant during the day. While the primary function of this system seems to be the clearance of neurotoxic waste products, the glymphatic system also appears to distribute glucose, lipids, amino acids, and neurotransmitters (volume transmission) in the brain. 
Meditation and mindfulness are powerful in supporting mitochondrial health. Psychological stress contributes to dysfunction seemingly everywhere in the body, specifically mitochondrial health , through elevated stress hormones. 
Mindfulness practice has been shown to trigger changes in gene expression that support healthy mitochondria. These changes in gene expression are involved in energy metabolism, insulin balance, and inflammation regulation. 
Like regular HIIT exercises, sauna use or cold plunges cause our cells to undergo controlled stress. This beneficial stress increases oxygen demand while increasing the expression of genes related to mitochondrial function and mitochondrial biogenesis. [48-51]
One study in 2018 found that repeated exposure to heat therapy for 6 days increased biomarkers of mitochondrial biogenesis, increased mitochondrial function by 28%, and boosted heat shock protein 70 by 45% and HSP-90 by 38% in healthy volunteers. [49, 50]
Sauna use can involve either traditional Finnish saunas or far-infrared saunas. The point with heat therapy is to learn to tolerate the uncomfortable aspects of heat and work to increase your endurance of exposure, working your way from 10-minute sessions up to 30 minutes or more based on your goals.
Exposure to cold has profound effects on many cells and functions, including the brain, immune system, metabolism, and the activation of cold-shock proteins, whose activity is related to neuroprotection. 
One study in 2008 also showed activation of hormones and neurotransmitters responsible for vigilance, attention, focus, and a positive mood in response to cold exposure. 
Cold plunges and cold showers take the opposite end of the spectrum but still include the uncomfortable endurance training to exposure. Typically, cold-therapy sessions are much shorter, lasting a few minutes or longer depending on your goals.
While mitochondrial health seems essential to Supervital Active Longevity, it is crucial to keep improvements and health changes sustainable. Attempting too many things at the same time can be overwhelming. Pick one thing that can be routinely applied to your day-to-day, commit to it, and enjoy the difference that it makes. Becoming your own health advocate takes time and energy, but it should be fun most of all.
- Intermittent fasting on a 16/8 or 14/10 hour schedule for a 5:2 or 5:1:1 day per week frequency.
- Eat healthy fats, including olive oil, fish oil (specifically DHA), sardines, walnuts, avocado, coconut oil, MCT oil, ghee, or grass-fed butter.
- Add plenty of colorful veggies and fruit focusing on the cruciferous: brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, turnip, radish, kohlrabi, watercress, rutabaga, kale, and maca.
- Mushrooms, both culinary and supplemental, offer additional glutathione and ergothioneine support.
- Meditation, mindfulness, and breathwork practices bring peace and relaxation.
- Regular HIIT exercise programs to promote strength and flexibility: hot yoga, kettlebell training, mace bell training, and so many more.
- Hot therapy exposure using a traditional sauna or infrared sauna.
- Cold therapy exposure using a cold-shower method or cold-plunge tank.
Be aware that not all techniques are for everyone. It is essential to pay attention to your body and modify any health technique to your unique health status and goals. For some, it may be necessary to talk to your physician before starting any new dietary or exercise program, especially those with a health condition that may expose you to risk.
We are huge fans of optimizing what we interact with daily: physical, mental, and emotional in the pursuit of Supervital Active Longevity. We control what we apply to our body, what we consume, and our well-being approach. Our strategy for life can set us up to exceed our goals or exponentially get in the way of where we are going and what we are trying to accomplish. Follow along with us in The Supervital for more. Thrive & Besupervital®
*Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information provided by this website or this company is not a substitute for individual medical advice.
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