Mitochondria as the center of many diseases
Most physicians used to say that they have only little to do with mitochondria. But more and more well-documented evidence shows that every therapeutic worker comes daily into contact with diseases and syndromes, which are mainly caused by those small cell organelles. Examples are: allergies, autoimmune diseases, heart problems and more. However, if mitochondria can be treated, diseases can be treated much more successful than previously known. Finally, there are better prospects for the affected patients!
Mitochondria – the power plants of the cell
Mitochondria play a very significant role for every human being. They are present in almost all body cells – in several copies, in some cells (eg cardiac muscle) even by the thousands. In the strongly unfolded inner membrane systems of the mitochondria, the so-called inner respiration (respiratory chain) takes place. In addition, these small cell organelles generate the majority of the energy that the cells need: they produce the energy molecule ATP, which requires so much of the human being every day that half of the daily calorie requirement is included in the turnover of this molecule!
But that’s not all, more metabolic processes take place exclusively in the mitochondria. For example, the energy-yielding degradation of the pyruvate produced from glucose, whose product (acetyl-coenzymeA) finally enters the citrate cycle, which in turn proceeds in the mitochondria and proceeds in the same way, runs away. In addition, the cell’s own fatty acid degradation is a metabolic pathway of the mitochondria and also parts of the detoxifying urea cycle of the liver are located here. The formation of iron-sulfur centers for enzymes is a particular achievement of mitochondria. Furthermore, these cell organelles function as additional calcium storage of the cell and are important for the many times life-saving induction of apoptosis in humans, send the malfunctioning and outdated cells in the so-called „programmed cell death“, thus keeping the organs healthy and intact.
Mitochondriopathies – hereditary disease and environmental pollution
A multitude of enormously important metabolic processes that take over these microscopic „granules“! Especially tasks that go far beyond the events in the single cell in which they sit. That is why mitochondrial dysfunction can have a huge impact on the affected person. Such mitochondriopathies are known as hereditary diseases. These show up early in childhood or adolescence and affect individual enzymes of the mitochondria, which are completely absent in these patients. Depending on the importance of these enzymes, those affected are exposed to severe suffering. The treatment is a purely symptom-oriented, which is located in the Department of Paediatrics.
But there is new evidence that mitochondriopathies can occur later in life. However, they are not a consequence of genetic defects, but they are acquired malfunctions of mitochondrial biochemistry. Triggers are for example:
- Environmental pollution and exposure to chemicals (heavy metals in tooth material, solvents, etc.)
- mechanical trauma (especially cervical spine)
- multifactorial overloads of physical detoxification functions
These factors lead to unwanted subliminal chronic inflammatory diseases, whose release of radicals causes oxidative and nitrosative stress. The stress of the body can usually work for long periods, because they are not recognized and not eliminated. This effects a nonspecific continuous bombardment with radicals on the affected tissue.
The mitochondria are particularly stressed
Mitochondria have a peculiarity among all organelles of the body cells: they carry their own, mitochondrial genetic material, the mtDNA. Unfortunately, they do not have the exquisite repair mechanisms that protect core DNA from errors and the effects of damage. Normally, this is not a problem, because there are several copies in the cell, which can support each other in an emergency and supply energy to the cell, even if one or the other mitochondrion fails. However, if radical bombardment of the mtDNA occurs, this has serious consequences for the mitochondria, because the damage immediately converts into functionless enzyme units. In addition, mitochondria multiply by constricting with random distribution of mitochondrial genomes. Damaged mtDNA can spread and cause major problems in the cell.
Another point of attack are the enzymes predominantly in mitochondria with iron-sulfur center (especially the respiratory chain). These are extremely susceptible to nitrosative stress, they precipitate and thus paralyze the entire mitochondrion: The energy supply comes to a standstill and – even more fatal – the oxygen consumption of the cell organelle decreases, which fuels the oxidative stress. Many organelle and cell structures are attacked and chemically altered so they can no longer perform their tasks. This leads to ever-widening malfunctions and the not-so-good conclusion is the mitochondrion. If this happens in an uncontrolled manner, which is probable under the described false control, then this burdens the cell with a sudden outflow of calcium – fatal for the actually finely regulated signal effect of this ion. It breaks an unmanageable chaos in the tissue – the symptoms are then no longer overlooked.
Many diseases – multiple causes
Of course, the processes described do not take place in isolation in just one cell. The initial stresses put on the affected body in many – unpredictable – places. In the entire organism, conditions occur in the long run, which show the scenario described in earlier or more advanced stages. Subliminal or massive inflammations are constantly present in the body as it tries to help and eliminate the affected organs and tissues. But the finely-tuned controls that normally control such defensive reactions are no longer working properly.
Depending on where the „leaks“ hit the mitochondria and later the cells and tissues, the following diseases can occur:
- Autoimmune diseases
- multiple sclerosis
- heart problems
In this way, the common phenomenon of multimorbidity is explained: Many patients begin with few health problems but develop more and more diseases over time. This is especially common for people with allergies and patients with autoimmune diseases.
Most of the time, the assisting therapists can only achieve a delay of the development, but mostly – and this is much worse for all those involved – the therapists have to watch the process of decay helplessly while in progress. However, anyone who is able to focus their medicine on the mitochondria has good opportunities to really help those patients.
A concept with many starting points: mitochondrial medicine opens up new treatment opportunities
A medicine for mitochondria – this new direction of therapeutic action has the great advantage of addressing the real causes of the disease. Of course, first and foremost is finding and switching off the triggering loads. But mitochondrial medicine can do more: By using:
- orthomolecular medicine
- targeted dietary changes
- intestinal treatments
- Detoxification and
- specially developed diagnostic and therapy techniques
Mitochondrial medicine can halt the destruction of other mitochondria and:
- support damaged cells and cell organelles during regeneration
- and promote the elimination of already irreversibly destroyed mitochondria.
On the long run, a good recovery of the patient is visible. Depending on the previous stage of the disease and the degree of destruction of the tissue, a significant improvement of the symptoms can be achieved.
Mitochondrial medicine is therefore a young and very remarkable medicine that can enrich and improve the future of therapeutic action in many ways.
Author: Dr. med. Rainer Mutschler
Dr. med. Rainer Mutschler (BioMedical Center, Speyer)
Specialist in General Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine, Regenerative Mitochondrial Medicine, Homeopathy, Manual Medicine, Acupuncture, Aviation Medicine.
Board of the Int. Society for Regenerative Mitochondrial Medicine e.V., founder and head of the university curriculum „Regenerative MitochondriaMedicine and Environmental Medicine“ in the Master program KMKW of the European University Viadrina Frankfurt / Oder
67346 Speyer / Rhineland Palatinate
Tel .: 06232-49910 60
Fax: 06232-49910 88