«

»

Sep 18

Empower Your Workforce! Mitochondria and Mental Health – Part 1

This is Part 1 of a 2-part post.  Part 2 is coming on Sunday afternoon, so come back then for more!

Last week I attended a conference on nutrition and mental health. One of the most exciting areas we explored is the role that mitochondria play in mental wellbeing.

Mitochondria?  What are those?

Mitochondria have many functions besides energy production.  They even have their own DNA.

Mitochondria have many functions besides energy production. They even have their own DNA.

Mitochondria are the workforce of your cells.  Every contains between 100 and 1000 mitochondria (1), all working round the clock to produce energy in the form of ATP.  They are also involved in metabolising amino acids, and in brain function (2).  If mitochondria are not working properly, less ATP is produced, which may contribute to feelings of fatigue and lethargy.  One experiment found that, in people with major depression, the mitochondria in certain cells may produce 26% less energy than those of people who are not depressed (3).  Observation with an electron microscope has shown that schizophrenic patients have fewer mitochondria than healthy controls in parts of their brain, including those responsible for emotions and decision making (2).  Mitochondrial dysfunction has also been associated with conditions such as bipolar disorder and chronic fatigue syndrome (4, 5).

Why might Mitochondria become damaged?

Free radicals, can damage mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA, impairing their ability to function.

Free radicals, can damage mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA, impairing their ability to function.

It is thought that there is an association between chronic inflammation, oxidative stress and damage to mitochondria, and that this underpins a range of chronic diseases, including depression and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (5, 6).  During inflammation, defence cells produce reactive oxygen species (ROS), better known as ‘free radicals’, which are harmful to cells.  These would normally be neutralised by the body’s own antioxidant mechanisms, but where inflammation is ongoing, the system is unable to compensate, and the remaining ROS can damage cells.  This is called oxidative stress.  In mitochondria, ROS particularly appear to damage the membrane and DNA, and inhibit the system responsible for making energy (3, 6).

 

I have a mental health issue.  Should I take a multivitamin supplement?
Vitamins, particularly A, C and E are well-known antioxidants.  Surely it makes sense that when oxidative stress is involved you would take a vitamin supplement?  Well, not necessarily.  There is little evidence that vitamin supplements benefit people with mental health issues unless their diet is poor, and in some cases vitamins can do more harm than good.  I would rather my clients ate a diet rich in many different vegetables and fruits, where they should get the vitamins they need, and glean the additional benefits of the fibre and beneficial plant chemicals which these foods contain.  Supplements have their place, but not for everyone.  Besides, eating great food is tastier and more satisfying than popping a pill!

Colourful fruits and vegetables contain a wealth of beneficial compounds, so enjoy!

Colourful fruits and vegetables contain a wealth of beneficial compounds, so enjoy!

So what can I do?
A varied diet, based around vegetables, fruits, lean protein, healthy fats and whole grains is a good basis for general health, including mental health (7).  Limiting the total amount of food you eat has shown benefit (5), but can be challenging.  Some of the specific nutrients which have been associated with improved mental health are thought to work by supporting the health of mitochondria.

In my next post I will tell you about 3 key nutrients, and where to find them, so please join me on Sunday for Part 2.

 

References:

  1. http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/biology/bio4fv/page/mito.htm [Accessed 18 September 2015].
  2. Shao, L., Martin, M.V., & Vawter, M.P., (2008). Mitochondrial involvement in psychiatric disorders. Annals of Medicine 40(4), 281-295.
  3. Abdallah, C.G., Jiang, L., & Sanacora, G., (2014). Glutamate Metabolism in Major Depressive Disorder. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 171(12), 1320-1327.
  4. Sequeria, A., Rollins, B., & Vawter, M.P., (2015). Mitochondrial mutations in subjects with psychiatric disorders. PLoS One 10(5), e0127280.
  1. Markham, A., Bains, R., Franklin, P., & Spedding, M., (2013). Changes in mitochondrial function are pivotal in neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders: how important is BDNF? British Journal of Pharmacology, 171(8), 2006-2229.
  2. Morris, G., & Berk, M., (2015). The many roads to mitochondrial dysfunction in neuroimmune and neuropsychiatric disorders. BMC Medicine 13(68), 1-24.
  3. Opie, R.S., Itsiopoulos, C., Parletta, N., Sanchez-Villegas, A., Akbaraly, T.N., Ruusunen, A., & Jacka, F.N., (2015). Dietary recommendations for the prevention of depression. Nutritional Neuroscience.  Epub ahead of print.

23 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. cogniq reviews

    It’s truly a great and helpful piece of info. I’m happy that you shared this useful information with us.
    Please keep us informed like this. Thank you
    for sharing.

    1. Susannah

      Hi Katarina – I’m glad you are enjoying my blog, and it’s great to have an international readership. Do check in again soon; my articles are a wee bit technical at the moment, because that’s what interests me, but I am starting a new challenge later this week, and am planning my first seasonal food articles, so get set for some fun reading too.

  2. Synagen IQ Reviews

    It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d certainly donate
    to this superb blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to fresh updates and will share this site with
    my Facebook group. Chat soon!

    1. Susannah

      Hello David it’s great to have you on board. I had never thought about a ‘donate’ button – I’m relatively new to this, but perhaps it’s one for the future. Thank you for your support, and I hope you enjoy what I have planned for the rest of this year.

  3. toyota prius jbl audio system

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve visited this blog before but after browsing through some of the posts I realized it’s
    new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely pleased I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back often!

    1. Susannah

      Hi Ted. Look forward to ‘seeing’ you again soon.

  4. Cazadora Moncler Mujer

    This piece of writing is actually a fastidious one it helps new web people,
    who are wishing in favor of blogging.

  5. http://misterclan.altervista.org/modules.php?name=Your_Account&op=userinfo&username=TorriKohl8057

    I do believe all of the concepts you have presented on your post.
    They’re very convincing and can definitely work.
    Still, the posts are too quick for newbies.
    May you please prolong them a bit from next time?
    Thanks for the post.

  6. boat cruise

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a
    really well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful
    info. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly return.

  7. jaws tshirt

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like
    you wrote the book in it or something. I think that
    you can do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit,
    but instead of that, this is wonderful blog. An excellent read.

    I will definitely be back.

  8. fenetres

    I am not positive where you are getting your info,
    however great topic. I needs to spend a while studying more or figuring out more.
    Thank you for fantastic info I used to be in search of this info for my mission.

    1. Susannah

      Hello, and thank you for taking the time to read my blog. If you look at the bottom of my posts you will find a section headed ‘references’, which lists all the sources I have used to get my information. They are all in the public domain, so you can access them too. The best way is to go to Pubmed and do a search. Not everything is open access there, but it’s a good start. If you can’t get free access through Pubmed, try Google Scholar; sometimes there’s an alternative there. Best of luck with your search.

  9. Animation

    I was able to find good info from your blog articles.

  10. Roscoe

    Hi there! This post could not be written any better!

    Reading through this post reminds me of my good
    old room mate! He always kept talking about this.

    I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read.
    Thanks for sharing!

  11. Ht Rush Reviews

    Very good post. I definitely appreciate this website.
    Keep writing!

  12. how to seo images

    Awesome issues here. I’m very glad to look your article.
    Thanks so much and I am looking forward to contact you.

    Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  13. naklejki

    Very good info. Lucky me I came across your blog by chance (stumbleupon).
    I have saved it for later!

  14. rozlakowe za prace

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article.
    I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more
    of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely comeback.

  15. ogrodzenia rumia

    Greetings! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to
    give a quick shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading your articles.

    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the
    same topics? Thank you so much!

    1. Susannah

      Hello. I am not sure if you are a genuine person or not, but if you are, welcome, and do visit again! I can recommend a wonderful blog, ‘Fitness on Toast’, by Faya, a fantastic lady. Her photography is superb, and she is really inspirational. If you are looking for a fitness blog that incorporates some great food as well, she is definitely worth a visit.

  16. jamaican patwa

    Hello, I enjoy reading through your post. I wanted to write a little comment to support you.

  17. random

    Hola! I’ve been reading your web site for a
    while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout
    out from Porter Texas! Just wanted to say keep
    up the excellent work!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>