For thousands of years, people asked the question “What is Life?” The famous physicist Erwin Schrodinger even wrote a book by this title. No one was able to explain what causes something to be alive, and what distinguishes animate matter from inanimate matter. Isaac Newton proved that nothing can move without energy, and scientists today have found the “missing link”: the force that gives us life. It is found in a bacteria called a mitochondria. Without mitochondria, there would be no multi-cellular life on earth: no plants or animals. Because they provide us the energy to exist as we do, if they cease to work, we cease to be “alive”.
Most importantly to you, the reader, in the 21st century where we have an epidemic of chronic diseases: if mitochondrial energy production is not completely stopped, but diminished in any way, bodily dysfunction is the result. All modern chronic diseases, including cancer, type 1&2 diabetes, obesity, autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, ADHD, anxiety and depression, are proven to be mitochondrial diseases by Dr, Doug Wallace, the world expert in mitochondrial medicine of the University of Pennsylvania, who is on track to win a Nobel Prize for his findings.
It has been proven definitively that mitochondrial DNA damage concentrated in any of these afflicted tissues leads to destroyed energy production, a lack of energy to carry out these proper physical functions, and these diseases are the result. Multi-trillion dollar industries are based on a system of dogma that is the complete opposite of this science, so expecting them to change is like expecting politicians to stop lying. I’m not going to wait. If you are, you will pay the price with your life force.
Let me begin by saying that I am not an alarmist. I do not believe there is a reason to worry; the stress will only worsen your odds.
But, I believe that this fact is of such importance that it would be prudent for us to pay it even a morsel of attention.
If you are someone who sees that everything you have ever had, have, and ever will have, thought, think, and ever will think, breathed, breathe, and ever will breathe is the result of your being alive, suspended in a state of animation away from equilibrium with the surrounding environment (death), then this fact ought to call for more than just a mere morsel of attention. In other words, you are only you, breathing, conscious, and aware, because you are alive. The moment you die, the chemicals that make up your body cease to have the qualities that make you, “you”.
For this reason, we speak about the dead in the past tense. You wouldn’t point to a corpse in a casket and say “he is a great man”. “He” no longer exists once “he” is dead. In biologic systems, the concept of being an animate, conscious, living organism, a “he” or a “she” is inextricably tied to the state of being alive.
When “you” die, “you” are no longer “you”. You are a corpse with the exact same chemical makeup that “you” had just moments before you died (until bacteria begin to recycle your flesh). But, obviously, something is very, very different.
What is different between your dead corpse and your living corpse? Any guesses?
Try this thought experiment. Look at the picture of Earth above from outer space. Admire the beautiful blue ocean, with its deep blue depths and light tropic waters, the green and brown rugged and smooth tectonic plates, and the white reflecting wispy masses of floating water vapor and ice that we call clouds. Isn’t it magnificent?
Now consider that right now you are down there somewhere, alive, moving, thinking, reading, and breathing, as you are now. Yup. If NASA is to be believed, this is actually what’s happening. I can’t guarantee it, but it’s the best we’ve got.
So now, consider the first of Newton’s laws governing the motion of matter in physics. “Every object persists in its state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed upon it.” In other words, nothing moves unless it is moved by some force. A force is always energy being transferred in one form or another.
Now, ask yourself the question: “what am I doing?” What you’re doing isn’t actually relevant to the thought experiment. You could be completely still. But if you perceive that you are completely still, are you actually completely still?
Well, no. First of all, you have to contract and expand your lungs to intake air with oxygen that will be ferried by hemoglobin on your red blood cells to your mitochondria to act as the terminal electron acceptor on the electron transport chain (to be written about in great detail in future blogs), in other words, providing the electron-pulling (electronegative) force that maintains a voltage in your mitochondria to keep you alive. Not to mention, quintillions more microscopic particles are constantly moving in your body to keep you alive: all of your organelles, cell water, protons, electrons, mitochondria, DNA & RNA, fats, blood, etc.
So now, where is the energy coming from to put and keep the matter that we call “you” in motion, animated, alive, so that “you” are actually “you” and not just “your body”?
Remember, when someone is dead, we refer to them as “his/her body”, and use the past tense to describe the entity that we consider to be that “person”. So a person is not the chemicals that make up their body. They are that thing that is absent when the body is dead, that animates the body when it is alive.
That thing is ENERGY, because energy is required for anything in the universe to move. Life is constantly moving, or animated, while it is alive, so there must be a constant source of energy powering this.
Where is the energy coming from to keep us moving so our particles are not all still (a.k.a dead)?
What happens when someone takes cyanide? They die immediately because it binds to cytochrome c oxidase on the electron transport chain in mitochondria and completely prevents electrons from flowing towards oxygen to make ATP and provide the energy for life’s many other functions, leading to immediate death.
What happens when someone is deprived of oxygen for a few minutes? They too, die. How? Oxygen is required to pull electrons towards it in mitochondria to make ATP and keep us alive. Without oxygen, mitochondria can no longer provide the energy for life’s functions, and we die.
You may be beginning to get the idea that mitochondria are very, very, very important in some way. If this is your hunch, you are very, very, very correct. If you didn’t pick up on this, you had better sharpen up, because we are talking life or death.
A few billion years ago, the only life forms on earth were bacteria and archaea. These simple life forms are known as prokaryotes, loosely meaning “before thenucleus”, because their DNA is not contained by a membrane. Alone, these organisms are not able to capture and utilize enough energy to become any more complex than they already are.
About 1.5 billion years ago, two of these organisms merged. One is known as an archaeobacteria, which became the basis of our nucleus-cytosol, which specializes in creating our structure or anatomy. The other was known as an oxidative cyanobateria, because it used oxygen to burn fuels for energy. Today, we call these mitochondria. They specializing in providing energy, or our “vital force”.
Think about yourself for a moment. What are you?
You are really not “you”. You are a colony of approximately 100 trillion individual cells working together to create the illusion of “you”. Really, “you” are a “we”. Within each of the many cells that make up the “we” that you think of as “you”, there is a “they” of 1,000-2,000 independent bacteria called mitochondria.
So really, “you” are a colony of 100 trillion “human” cells that have each cut a deal with hundreds of bacteria to produce enough energy for the whole cell and organism to use. And, each of these hundreds of bacteria has its own set of 13 genes to code for the energy producing proteins within it.
Because each of these cells in you are able to work together to provide fuel for these hundreds of individual bacteria, and then harness the cumulative energy they release, you are able to be far, far more complex than any of these bacteria could be if they were on their own.
These cells that work together with bacteria are known as “eukaryotes”, loosely meaning “having membrane-bound organelles”. All eukaroytes exist due to that one merging of two bacteria approximately 1.5 billion years ago.
How do we know that this merging happened only once? If we sequence the DNA of two different people, the number of differences indicates the time since their last common ancestor. If we do this for all humans, we can find the commonalities between all of our DNA, and this indicates the time that the last common ancestor of all humans existed. If we do this for all living organisms, we can find the root of the tree of life. If it is done for all mitochondria, we can find whether they descend from different lineages or from one, and it has been shown that they all trace back to one mitochondria, meaning that this merger that created all multi-cellular life forms on earth occurred only once. This means that all yeasts, fungi, plants, animals, and anything else with more than one cell owes its existence to mitochondria.
ENERGY FLOWING IN MITOCHONDRIA IS THE ENERGY THAT GIVES US “LIFE”.
This is the energy that moves us and all of the processes that keep us alive and well. It is the energy that distinguishes your dead “body” from the living “you”. If energy stops flowing on our inner mitochondrial membrane (where the electron transport chain exists), we are dead, because the energy that makes us “alive” is gone. Make sense? If you don’t believe this, try holding your breath for the next hour, or taking cyanide (do not actually do this).
Now, given that if this energy stops flowing in mitochondria, we are dead, what do you think would happen if we in any way diminish the flow of energy?
If we diminish the flow of energy in mitochondria without eliminating it completely, we may still have enough energy to keep our vital organs functioning, so that we are considered to be “alive”. However, we will no longer have enough energy to carry out all of our functions properly.
The resulting changes we will observe in physical function are attempts by the body to compensate in an energy-deficient state. But, until recently we were unaware that these were due to a lack of energy in various tissues, so we lumped them into the broad category of “non-communicable diseases”.
98% of all federal grant money is spent researching the nuclear genome for the causes of these diseases, however they will never find the answers there. It is like looking in Hong Kong for a murderer who keeps killing people in the USA.
Dr. Doug Wallace, head of the Center for Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine is one of the founders of this field of study, mitochondrial medicine. He has proven beyond a shadow of doubt that all modern chronic diseases originate in the mitochondrial genome, not in the nuclear genome.
What are mitochondrial genes?
Imagine that a city wants to build a power plant. To build the power plant, the city manager of the project will have a copy of plans in his office so that he can direct the work flow accordingly. These plans will describe the property lines, the parking lot, the power plant structure, the roofing, and so on. These plans for the power plant are like the nuclear genes in our bodies, which code for the construction of nearly everything in our anatomy.
To construct a power plant, there must also be a wiring diagram. This describes how energy is supposed to flow in the power plant. Unlike the general plans for the power plant, which can be stored off-site in the city manager’s office, the wiring diagram must be stored in the power plant, because if anything is going to go wrong and need immediate intervention it is probably not going to be the solidified concrete in the walls, pavement on the ground, or shingles on the roof; it would obviously be the highly active, dynamic, and volatile process of energy production. So, the wiring diagram mst be stored in the power plant in case of a problem in the energy flow. This is why mitochondrial DNA is stored in mitochondria, because it codes for the proteins that control energy flow.
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is the wiring diagram. It is stored within the mitochondria in a circular form, just like DNA in any other bacteria. Through the interaction with the nucleus-cytosol over millions of years, most of the genes in the mitochondria were deleted, except for 13 that are critical in coding for the creation of the proteins that make up the systems for energy production in mitochondria.
Remember, in all eukaryotes, mitochondrial energy flow = life. These mitochondrial genes code for the structures that allow this energy flow to occur properly. What do you think happens if these genes can no longer do this properly?
The mitochondria cannot produce energy optimally, so we have less energy. When these mutations in mtDNA, know as “heteroplasmy” are concentrated in certain tissues at high enough levels, dysfunction, also known as disease, is the result.
Do you know what aging is? Most know that it is when people get old, stiff, and have less energy over time. But what is actually happening in the body to cause this? It is simple. Over time, mitochondria become more and more heteroplasmic, meaning that they accumulate more and more mutations in their mitochondrial DNA. They can no longer produce energy as efficiently, and therefore we see the symptoms of declined energy production all throughout the body and call this “aging”. When mitochondria can no longer produce energy, we call this state “death”.
Would you like to learn how to protect and optimize your mitochondrial DNA to optimize energy flows in your body, thereby maximizing your energy levels, your mood, your outlook, your mental health, your hormone levels and resultant physical appearance, physical performance, to avoid the fate of the masses: chronic disease? This blog is the first place explaining the science of life, health, and aging in a way that anyone can understand and apply without having to spend countless hours searching.
An upcoming blog will explain in more detail your high odds of facing a chronic disease if you are not doing something radically different from the masses, and why you may want to consider this a bit more deeply, even if you are young and feel invincible.
If you are alive and want to stay as far from equilibrium (death) as possible, for as long as possible, or you want to prevent an energy deficit (disease), you must know these things. If you know what keeps you alive and how you can maximize it, you can control the forces in your environment to maximize your life force, health, and longevity.
If you do not, you will be the perfect slave for the largest industries in today’s society, which are founded on and making trillions of dollars due to your ignorance of your own biology. They convince you that you need what they provide in order to be happy, yet their goods and services actually steal and destroy your life force beyond your perception to cause energy deficits in your tissues that we call diseases.
The science is here on my blog in the most clear, concise, and easy-to-understand form on the internet, simplified from many experts who go really deep. This is why I strongly suggest that you consider learning here, or consider an affordable educational consult to learn most everything you need to prevent disease in the modern world.
Thank you for investing your attention into my work. It was made of love and came from my heart, which is one of the most energy-consuming a.k.a. mitochondrially dense organs.
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Mitochondrial DNA mutations in disease and aging. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20544884
A mitochondrial bioenergetic etiology of disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614529/