Fatigue is the number one condition I come across in-clinic; it’s almost as if people expect it now, it’s often presented as a ‘given’ and normal to have it. It isn’t.
There are tons of causes of fatigue and we could be here all day, but let’s focus on one: poor mitochondrial function. Think of the mitochondria like little batteries in your cells. If the batteries are drained, not much is going to happen in those cells, is it? (That’s a very simple explanation, but you get my drift!)
I was reminded of this today reading a piece from the IFM (Institute for Functional Medicine) clinician newsletter and I thought it might be useful for some of you. I’ve added my own comments and links below for you too, of course….
One underlying cause of fatigue is mitochondrial dysfunction, and we now know fatigue is a frequent symptom in mitochondrial disease.5 In a survey of patient-perceived fatigue, compared to patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, 32% of mitochondrial disease patients reported severe, limiting fatigue, and 62% reported excessive symptomatic fatigue.5
Healthy mitochondrial function is akin to the amount of pressure the foot puts on the gas pedal.6
Low levels of the cellular energy currency adenosine triphosphate (ATP) lead to having weak metabolism and feeling “slow”; more ATP allows us to experience life with more energy and vitality. Improving mitochondrial function, or correcting dysfunction, can increase the amount of ATP energy available for use by cells and improve fatigue symptoms.
In a review of research articles on mitochondrial disease, carnitine is the most studied mitochondrial function marker; the most studied enzyme is CoQ10.7 Patients with mitochondrial myopathy who received L-carnitine daily for two months enjoyed an increase in their pain tolerance limit and oxygen consumption during constant exercise.8 Damage to the mitochondria from peripheral inflammation is also implicated in the fatigue felt by patients with neuroinflammation, chronic fatigue, and some autoimmune conditions.9,10 Even in healthy individuals, CoQ10 supplementation may reduce the symptoms of physical fatigue.11
Interesting, huh? In the Carnitine study, they took 3g daily with breakfast or lunch for 8 weeks. For CoQ10, they took 100-300mg per day for 8 days before a difference was noted. You can buy combined Carnitine and CoQ10 products but I find with things like this, you are best to go for advanced single supplements with better absorption. This carnitine, for example and this CoQ10, which is more absorbable so you need less. Discuss with your chosen practitioner as always or ask me if you need help.
Here’s to an energy boost!