~ February 2005 - Optimize Your Energy!
Contents . . .
- Understanding Energy - Simply put, metabolic energy refers to the cell's capacity to do its work. Cells must continually use energy to do their biological work. Every process that goes on inside our bodies requires energy - specifically, metabolic energy. When the body doesn't have enough energy to function properly, each component of the body will malfunction in its own unique way. For example, if the brain has too little energy, thought processes such as memory and focus become impaired. The body needs energy to keep itself warm - a low body temperature, therefore, usually accompanies low metabolic energy. As we age, our cells' ability to do this work lessens, and many all-to-familiar symptoms result.
Symptoms of Low Metabolic Energy
Although many of the symptoms below seem unrelated, they may all stem from the same root problem of low metabolic energy.
* General - Low body temperature. Coldness. Low Energy or Fatigue. Weight problems (can't lose or gain it). Slow healing.
* Brain - Depression. Anxiety. Poor memory, focus, or concentration. Sleep disorders.
* Immune system - Under-Reactive or Over-Reactive: Frequent infections (skin, sinus, bladder, bowel, yeast problems, etc.). Allergies. Auto-immune disease.
* Musculoskeletal - Fatigue. Fibromyalgia (muscle or joint pains). Generalized aches/pains. Repetitive use injury and carpal tunnel syndrome. Weak connective tissues (ligaments, bones, etc). Headaches.
* Sexual - Loss of Libido and function. Menstrual disorders. Infertility.
Vascular Low blood pressure. High blood pressure. Raynaud's disease.
* Bowels - Constipation. Gas or bloating. Digestive disorders, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
* Nervous system - Numbness of hands and/or feet (usually symmetrical). Dulling or loss of senses such as vision, taste or smell.
* Skin - Dry. Acne. Pallor in light skin, darkening or dark patches in dark skin.
* Hair - Hair loss, brittle, coarse, dry or oily.
On a Personal Note
On a personal note, I am 52 years old and have been experiencing some of the symptoms described above. After taking Life Extension's new Mitochondrial Energy Optimizer for about a month, I am already feeling its benefits. Mitochondrial Energy Optimizer is positively synergistic: Although I have used all its ingredients separately at different times, I was not feeling better. Now I am showing improvement, and I've changed nothing else in my nutritional program other than adding this formula. I strongly recommend trying this formula for at least one month. I don't feel over-stimulated or "hyper", but my stamina for work and enjoyment of life has increased. I don't fade at 5 pm as before! I hope your response is similar to mine.
Individual Supplements That Affect Energy
Coenzyme Q10 - Coenzyme Q10 has long been prescribed for CFS patients. CoQ10 is a potent antioxidant that aids in metabolic reactions including the process of forming ATP, the molecule the body uses for energy. Virtually every cell in the body contains CoQ10. It is concentrated in the mitochondria, the area of the cells where energy is produced. CoQ10 is indicated for heart health.
NADH - NADH (reduced B-nicotanimide dinucleotide) is a coenzyme molecule formed from vitamin B3 (niacin). NADH (along with CoQ10) is essential for the production of energy (ATP) in a process called oxidative phosphorylation.
L-Carnitine - L-carnitine is known to boost energy levels. Approved in Europe to treat heart and neurological disease, carnitine has been shown to protect the body against age-related degeneration. Most clinical research has focused on the brain, where mood, memory and cognition has been observed as well. By facilitating the youthful transport of fatty acids into the cell's mitochondria, it better enables dietary fats to be converted into muscle and energy. Acetyl-L-Carnitine absorbs more completely than L-Carnitine. Important anti-oxidant to scavenge super-oxide anion radicals that can damage membrane lipids.
Alpha Lipoic Acid - Studies strongly support supplementation with Alpha Lipoic Acid, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, and Co-Enzyme Q10 for increased energy within in the cells. ALA reduces oxidative stress in the heart muscle while raising levels in heart and liver energy (mitochondria). ALA regulates oxidation of fats and sugars into energy, maintains the critical Kreb's energy production cycle and is able to lower blood glucose levels and prevent the formation of glycation products. (GLYCOSYLATION is the abnormal binding of a glucose molecule to a protein molecule to form a non-functioning structure in the body.) The inhibition of glycation is critical to diabetics and can slow aging (and wrinkles) in healthy people.
Rhodiola - Rhodiola rosea, also known as golden root or Arctic root, has garnered significant attention in recent years. Although still largely unfamiliar to Westerners, it has been used in traditional medicine for centuries and has been studied extensively by Russian scientists, who have dubbed it an "adaptogen." This term refers to this herb's remarkable ability to increase resistance to numerous chemical, physical, and biological stressors, including strenuous exercise, mental strain, and toxic chemicals. Studies have shown that rhodiola enhances exercise endurance, reduces fatigue under stressful conditions, and exerts an anti-inflammatory effect. Richard Brown, MD, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University and author of The Rhodiola Revolution, recommends it as an energy booster and treatment for depression, chronic fatigue, and anxiety.
DHEA - DHEA is a hormone secreted from the adrenal glands. It is a precursor of the sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone). DHEA-S has been shown to have beneficial effects on memory, stress, anxiety, sleep, and depression. DHEA has been reported to improve energy levels in chronic fatigue patients (Kuratsune et al. 1998). DHEA is contraindicated in both men and women with hormone-related cancers. Please refer to the DHEA Replacement Therapy protocol before embarking on DHEA therapy.
Maca Root - Sometimes known as Peruvian Ginseng, Maka, Maca root, Maca-maca, Maino, Ayak chichira, and Ayuk Willku, this is a powerful effective herb for hormone balance, thyroid and energy. Native Peruvians have used Maca for several thousand years, as a food item, and medicinally to enhance fertility in people and animals, for libido, energy and other medicinal uses. Maca is an adaptogen, which means it helps the body adapt to stress, and helps to return a dysfunctioning system back to normal balance. Maca can help the endocrine system, including the ovaries, testes, adrenals, pancreas and thyroid.
Energy Section - Supplements that address a variety of energy-related health issues.
- Nutrients That Optimize Cellular Energy - Promoting Mitochondrial Health
By Dale Kiefer
Maintaining healthy mitochondrial function is critically important in preventing disease and promoting longevity. Nutrients such as coenzyme Q10, acetyl-L-carnitine, and alpha-lipoic acid help optimize mitochondrial health. Other nutritional remedies — including carnosine, benfotiamine, and rhodiola — complement the actions of CoQ10, acetyl-L-carnitine, and alpha-lipoic acid in promoting a healthy and energetic lifestyle.
Mitochondria populate the interiors of our cells. These little organelles follow a different drummer when implementing orders from DNA. Unlike other components of the cell, mitochondria have their own DNA.
The mitochondria are genetically exact copies traceable far back into the mists of time. Because human mitochondrial DNA descends through the female alone, it is useful for tracking evolution. In fact, some scientists believe current mitochondrial DNA traces back to a single female known as "Mitochondrial Eve" that eventually climbed all the way up the evolutionary ladder to modern humans.
The Mitochondrial Theory of Aging
Mitochondria literally means "thread granules," a name evidently inspired by the stubby rod-like shape of these organelles. Scattered throughout the jelly-like cytoplasm within our cells, mitochondria range in number from the hundreds to thousands per cell. They generate energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate)—a molecule that humans literally could not live without. They do so, however, at a price. According to the mitochondrial theory of aging, free electrons are generated as a byproduct of aerobic respiration, which is the chain of ATP-producing chemical reactions that occur within the mitochondria. These electrons convert oxygen to a highly reactive form, which in turn creates still more reactive oxygen species, capable of ravaging proteins and lipids while wreaking havoc with DNA over time. Progressive respiratory chain dysfunction ensues. Damage accumulates slowly, eventually leading to the degenerative changes associated with aging.1-3
Preserving youthful mitochondrial function therefore is of paramount importance to prolonging life span. Fortunately, modern science, often guided by ancient wisdom, is rapidly discovering an ever-increasing arsenal of chemicals and nutrients capable of slowing or reversing many of the degenerative changes constantly occurring within our mitochondria. Nutritional supplements such as acetyl-L-carnitine and lipoic acid have been shown to improve mitochondrial function, protect brain cells, and restore flagging energy.4-8
An acetyl-L-carnitine derivative — acetyl-L-carnitine arginyl amide — has been shown to stimulate brain cells, prompting them to grow new connections to other neurons. This remarkable property suggests an important potential role for this nutrient in combating degeneration of the central nerve system, such as that which occurs because of "normal" senescence. This beneficial derivative of the mitochondrial metabolite acetyl-L-carnitine also protects brain cells from the toxic effects of aggregated amyloid beta peptide. This is especially significant, because amyloid beta is an insoluble protein fragment that forms plaques and induces cell death in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease.9,10
Carnosine prevents age-related damage known as glycation, which is responsible for the development of unsightly wrinkles, the corneal opacity of cataracts, and some complications of diabetes, among other things. Natural plant flavonoids such as luteolin favorably modulate immunity and protect against further damage from free radicals.11 Still others, such as benfotiamine and the herb Rhodiola rosea, work in a variety of ways to boost energy, increase endurance, and prevent age-associated changes in cellular processes and structures.
L-Carnitine Metabolites Protect Brain Health
Acetyl-L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine arginate (arginyl amide) may be two of the most potent anti-aging compounds available today. In combination with lipoic acid, they represent the cutting edge of anti-senescence science. Beyond their ability to neutralize damaging free radicals, they act to directly improve brain health through a variety of mechanisms.12
Acetyl-L-carnitine is the ester of a naturally occurring compound, L-carnitine, which serves as an important co-factor in the oxidation of fatty acids within neuronal mitochondria to release energy. L-carnitine deficiencies are associated with a number of serious disorders of the central nervous system.
Conversely, supplementation with L-carnitine metabolites, such as acetyl-L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine arginate, has been shown to improve various brain health parameters. As one researcher recently noted, "... esters such as acetyl-L-carnitine... possess unique neuroprotective, neuromodulatory, and neurotrophic properties which may play an important role in counteracting various disease processes."12
For instance, animal research shows that acetyl-L-carnitine reverses age-related declines in receptors present on the surface of nerve cells in the brain. Studies of Alzheimer's sufferers have reported improvements in memory compared to patients receiving inactive placebo.13 Other studies have investigated the effectiveness of adding acetyl-L-carnitine to standard pharmaceutical treatments for Alzheimer's disease.
Read more . . .
- Featured Product: Mitochondrial Energy Optimizer - Mitochondrial Energy Optimizer provides antioxidant support to protect cells against free radical damage and glycation. In addition, Mitochondrial Energy Optimizer Enhanced with SODzyme contains nutrients to support mitochondrial energy production and cellular function and natural plant extracts to help maintain fluid balance and enhance mental energy.
In addition to its metabolic role, L-carnitine and its esters such as acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) posses unique neuroprotective, neuromodulatory, and neurotrophic properties which may play an important role in counteracting various disease processes [Mol Aspects Med. 2004 Oct-Dec;25(5-6):533-49].
Acetyl-L-carnitine arginate dihydrochloride and acetyl-L-carnitine raise neurotransmitter levels in the brain cells and maintains them (neurons) in their normal size and shape. Acetyl-L-carnitine arginate dihydrochloride has been shown to stimulate regrowth of neurites in the brain.* Neurites connect brain cells and allow them to communicate. Neurites function to provide the communication circuitry pathways between the nerve cells.
Carnosine is a multifunctional dipeptide form made up of a chemical combination of the amino acids beta-alanine and L-histidine which is one of the few compounds shown to increase life span of human cells in culture. Carnosine has also been shown to interfere with glycation (cross-linking of proteins and sugars to form nonfunctioning structures). Glycation of lens alpha-crystallin occurs in vivo and may contribute to cataractogenesis. Antiglycation compounds such as carnosine may be preventive, but interestingly carnosine reversed lens opacity in a human trial. [Arch Biochem Biophys. 2004 Jul 1;427(1):110-5].
Benfotiamine is a lipid (fat) soluble form of vitamin B1 (thiamine). Although it has been used successfully for over 12 years in Europe for the prevention and relief of symptoms in people already suffering with various neuropathies, etc., it is just now being introduced into the United States. It is found in very small quantities within roasted, crushed garlic and other Allium genus vegetables such as onions, shallots, and leeks. Research shows that it shows great promise in relieving symptoms and possibly reversing the progression of neuropathy.
Luteolin has been shown to inhibit IL-4 and IL-13 synthesis which may provide temporary relief of allergy symptoms (Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2004 Jun;134(2):135-40. Epub 2004 May 17). Luteolin has shown to neutralize free radicals such as superoxide, the hydroxyl radical, and other reactive oxygen compounds to help reduce oxidative stress and may help maintain healthy fluid balance, support the immune systems, and promote healthy carbohydrate metabolism.
R-lipoic acid is directly involved in cell metabolism and redox states. R-lipoic acid crosses the blood brain barrier, and helps regulate neuronal calcium homeostasis It scavenges a variety of reactive oxygen species (ROS) while recycling vitamins C, E and glutathione. R-lipoic acid has been shown to regulate proinflammatory cytokines, and alter the expression of "toxic genes". R-lipoic acid has been used to help maintain a healthy blood sugar level and has been recommended as a "neuroprotective agent."
Of particular interest are the well-documented qualities of Rhodiola rosea as an adaptogen (an endurance enhancer). In this capacity it appears to help the body stay healthy and perform in top-notch condition despite physical exhaustion or environmental stresses, such as high heat or pollutants in the air and water.
To see a list of all supplements, please check our Index or use our Search feature.
- Protocol: Disease Prevention - If you are healthy now and want to stay that way, the Life Extension Foundation has designed protocols that incorporate the best-documented disease-preventing nutrients and hormones.
The Foundation's Prevention protocol consists of the 12 most important supplements for the average person to take every day to reduce risk of contracting the degenerative diseases of aging. The Prevention protocol is for healthy people. Those seeking to treat an existing disease may refer to the many specific disease prevention protocols we have provided.
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