They complain of…
- Terrible sleep
- Crippling fatigue
- Bouts of depression
- Weight gain
- Erectile dysfunction
- Severe social anxiety
- Or a goldfish attention span
So to these people, I recommend a three-pronged approach.
1. Disciplined habituation of lifestyle biohacks
2. Mitochondrial Nootropics
3. Testing and Self Quantification
I’ll go further in-depth on these three prongs (a prong would be the singular object of a three-pronged approach right? Or is a prong what Australian people call shrimp? Hmm…) but first I need to clarify something…
This methodology was not just conjured up by me (Mr. Unlicensed Internet Biohacker Guy who didn’t even go to college), it’s a distillation of the information I’ve metabolized from several books and the 230 scientific papers published on Mitochondria in the past year that I’ve either read or skimmed.
I recently finished this fairly dense book by Dr. Lee Know summarizing the state of the art of Mitochondria science and research. The major takeaway from the book is that Mitochondrial dysfunction is (likely) the underlying cause of the nasty health conditions and mental illnesses that deprive us of aging gracefully and living life fully.
So how do you fix Mitochondrial dysfunction?
Sorry, there’s no easy fix. Good things take time. First of all, there’s all the lifestyle stuff…
- Cut all the junk food and eat a clean keto-style diet (I’ll have some broccoli with Kerrygold butter with my coffee with MORE Kerrygold butter)
- Take cold showers
- The light hacking (no blue light before bed!)
- Daily intermittent fasting
- And cardio exercise (more on this below)
And there’s a lot of other lifestyle biohacks for peak Mitochondrial function, if you’d like them organized in a cogent program, read Dave Asprey’s recent book Head Strong (or at least read my review of it).
About cardio, if you’re not doing cardio regularly, DO CARDIO. From Dr. Know’s book:
It’s been known for decades that aerobic exercise can increase the number of mitochondria in your muscle cells by up to 50 percent in as little as six weeks . To get the benefit , however , you need to do aerobic exercises ( such as running , cycling , swimming , or walking briskly ) at an intensity that’s at least half of your maximum capacity . This intensity needs to be sustained for at least fifteen to twenty minutes per session , three to four times a week .(3014–3017)
Wow! So you get a 50% uptick in Mitochondria in your muscles from just 15–20 minutes of cardio a few times a week. If you don’t want to sprain an ankle jogging or get hit by an SUV cycling you can do what I do and do Dual N-Back brain training on your smartphone while pedaling vigorously on a stationary exercise bike.
If your lucky genetics, 10 years of meditation, military training or strict religious upbringing imbued you with extraordinary human will power and you have virtuous, supportive friends and family that enable and encourage your best behavior good for you! You should have little problem hacking away the unessential, implementing and habituating those lifestyle biohacks.
If not it’s going to be a hell of an uphill battle for you to improve your health! Statistically speaking your chances of living a happy, healthy life are bleak. You’re going to need to implement some serious willpower lifehacks, maybe strapping on that cool Pavlock device that shocks you or doing an Ayahuasca trip in Peru. You could try the military-grade focus drug Modafinil. You could hire a personal trainer or enroll in one of those Bootcamp-style fitness programs where they yell at you! You could bet your friend a $1000 that you won’t have a cigarette within the next 90 days or you could inquire about the Limitless Mindset Skin the Game minimalist life coaching program.
But these lifestyle biohacks are only half the battle…
Especially if you’re dealing with mitochondria dysfunction, you’ll need to use some Mitochondrial Nootropics for a period of 6–9 months. Many Nootropics have an immediate short term effect of making you more energetic, focused and clear-headed BUT the human studies indicate that long term restorative effect on your Mitochondrial function takes longer. So you’ll need to commit to a medium-term relationship with them and (sorry!) it won’t be inexpensive.
Here are the supplements in approximate order of effectiveness, if your budget is limited pickup the ones closer to the top of this list…
Is antioxidant is close to being a household name and it’s one of the most researched Mitochondrial support supplements. Pretty much everyone advancing through their fourth or fifth decades of life should be taking it and you definitely should if you’re dealing with one of those check engine light conditions.
Now there’s a catch to CoQ10, it’s not very bioavailable, in fact, some forms of it are pretty useless.
Unfortunately , absorption of this rather large fat — soluble molecule is challenging , which is a main factor limiting its therapeutic use . Research has shown that oil — based formulations ( typically softgels ) are much better absorbed , and water — dispersible liposomal or pre — emulsified formulations are even better . Ubiquinol ( reduced CoQ10 ) seems to offer much better absorption than ubiquinone ( oxidized CoQ10 ) , and water — soluble ( solubilized ) ubiquinol is even better absorbed .(2364–2368)
Three vendors that meet fit these high standards for absorption are…
According to a 2013 University of Frankfurt paper, Piracetam is something of a Mitochondria hack.
“In previous studies we were able to show that piracetam enhanced ATP production, mitochondrial membrane potential as well as neurite outgrowth in cell and animal models for aging and [Alzheimer’s disease]. To investigate further the effects of piracetam on mitochondrial function, especially mitochondrial fission and fusion events, we decided to assess mitochondrial morphology… “
Carnitine increases the quantity and quality of the Mitochondria along with greasing the microscopic mechanism of fuel transport that our individual cells need to thrive.
From a University of Naples study:
…ALCAR supplementation partly reduces the leptin resistance… and improves ATP production in skeletal muscle mitochondria through an increase in mitochondrial protein content.
In none scientific terms, it helps transport fat into individual cells that need it for power.
Its antioxidant mechanism may be something of a boozing biohack, according to a 2011 University of Nebraska study on the human brain and alcohol:
Mitochondrial membrane protein damage and decreased membrane potential after ethanol exposure indicated mitochondrial injury. These changes were prevented by [carnitine]. Our findings suggest the counteracting mechanisms of oxidants and antioxidants during alcohol-induced oxidative stress at the [blood brain barrier].
Lack of energy to zealously take on life is such a common symptom, that the voracious consumer has near limitless stimulant options to spike energy. Since ALCAR so profoundly affects energy generation at such a foundational level it’s a favorite of more holistic biohackers.
Unless you supplement Magnesium regularly you’re probably deficient (especially if you drink a lot of coffee)…
Magnesium is likely one of the most underrated minerals and most people are just not consuming enough of it . One reason most are deficient in this mineral is that water softeners , while great for making your faucets shiny , has reduced the water’s hardness by removing minerals such as magnesium…Then there’s our rising caffeine intake , which increases the amount of magnesium we lose through urine… All these factors contribute to the alarming statistic that 70–80 percent of the developed world population is deficient in magnesium. (2569–2575)
Personally, given the option, I reach for the Mercedes-Benz of Magnesium, Magnesium L-Threonate. It’s more bioavailable and has greater benefits to cognition but it first caught my attention for a really silly reason…
About a 20 years ago, before all these silly, over-commercialized Star Wars and Star Trek movies came out there was an (actually good!) Star Trek movie called Insurrection featuring Captain Picard and the rest of the Next Generation Enterprise cast. In the movie, they were in this tense political standoff with these aliens that were using these banned, illegal space weapon called Threonate.
You should watch that movie if you like science fiction and regularly supplement magnesium if you care about your Mitochondria!
B-Vitamins are crucial to healthy Mitochondrial function, specifically B3, B6, and B12.
Of all the nutrients defined as true vitamins , the ones that have the greatest direct impact on cellular metabolism and energy production are collectively known as the B vitamins . This group is made up of numerous distinct nutrients , and each is either a cofactor in an important metabolic process or a precursor of an important energy — related molecule .(2666–2669)
Creatine is one of the most well-known supplements that’s often caricatured as something just for gym bros because it helps them build muscle but actually, it’s a veritable Mitochondrial Nootropic.
Creatine is directly related to ATP . When a cell uses ATP , it loses a phosphate molecule and becomes ADP , which must be converted back to ATP for useful energy cycling . Because creatine is stored in the body as creatine phosphate , it can donate a phosphate molecule to ADP to regenerate ATP . This process is very speedy and is the main source of cellular energy production at the start of high — intensity anaerobic activity ( such as a 100 — meter sprint or lifting heavy weights ) . Having a large pool of creatine phosphate means this fast pathway of ATP regeneration can be sustained longer , which is exactly why creatine has been so beneficial for athletes .(2640–2645)
Creatine and the brain
Because the brain and nervous system require such high amounts of energy , it’s logical to assume the neurological system can benefit greatly from creatine — and this is being corroborated by clinical research . A growing number of studies have found that creatine can protect the brain from neurotoxic agents and certain forms of brain injury . (2650–2652)
A key MItochondrial support supplement
D — ribose is finding utility and acceptance in cardiac surgery ; the heart is one of the organs that respond most favorably to D — ribose supplementation . Supporting the heart’s ability to preserve and rebuild its energy pool by supplementing with D — ribose is one of the first steps in restoring energy efficiency in any cardiovascular condition . Studies have shown it is effective in improving cellular energetics in congestive heart failure , coronary artery disease , and angina (2212–2215)
the best way to quickly replenish D — ribose is to supplement . When administered , a whopping 97 percent ( approximately ) is absorbed into the blood , and eventually moves into tissues without any difficulty (2232–2234)
Stimulates the growth of Mitochondria
Traditionally , it was believed that generating new mitochondria ( mitochondrial biogenesis ) could only occur as a result of strenuous exercise or extreme calorie restriction , which is why research on PQQ ( pyrroloquinoline quinone ) is so exciting . Early in 2010 , researchers found PQQ not only protected mitochondria from oxidative damage , it also stimulated the growth of new mitochondria ! (2274–2277)
PQQ as a Nootropic
Related to this is cognitive function . As we discussed , the brain uses an incredible amount of energy , and it is utterly dependent on the mitochondria for fuel . A double — blind , randomized , placebo — controlled human clinical trial found that 20 milligrams of oral PQQ taken daily improved short — term memory , attention and concentration , information identification , and processing ability in healthy adults . Effects were greatly enhanced with the addition of CoQ10 supplementation , which makes sense because Complex I transfers its electrons to CoQ10 in the ETC .(2334–2338)
This special ActivePQQ™ supplement is the world’s first whole-body Nootropic
Testing and Self Quantification
Biohacking is shooting in the dark if you don’t know what’s going on in your body. You might not need to supplement Magnesium or B-Vitamins. Or something like a D-Vitamin deficiency might be the core cause of Mitochondrial dysfunction that ails you. You don’t know until you get blood and hormones tests done. Also, you may have problematic gene alleles lurking in your DNA, you don’t know until you properly interpret your raw data.
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