Almost everyone educated in the American public school system remembers the iconic phrase: “the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.” While this is typically used as a punchline or meme about useless information we were taught, it is actually a really important piece of information to remember! Optimal mitochondrial function is the single most important indicator of an individual’s health; if your cells are producing energy, then your body can function properly. In fact, most of the symptoms we associate with aging are due to the loss of mitochondrial function.
Mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked to a host of chronic conditions including (but not limited to): chronic fatigue, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cardiovascular disease, fibromyalgia, autism spectrum disorders, and autoimmune disorders. As discussed in our previous articles, telomeres shorten as we age, which leads to mutations in DNA transcription, which leads to programmed cellular death, known as cellular senescence. Every individual is affected differently by this process, which is why there is such a wide ranging series of symptoms that we experience as aging. Some people lose the energy for basic tasks, some lose cognitive function, and others lose motor function.
As discussed in our article about Photobiomodulation (PBM), PBM therapy improves mitochondrial function in as little as 15 minutes per week. It works by preventing Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) like Nitric Oxide (NO) from bonding to the enzymes like Cytochrome C Oxidase (CCO). This allows the mitochondrial membrane to absorb more oxygen, which in turn, enables the mitochondria to produce more ATP. Think of PBM like an oil change for your car, it allows the engine (mitochondria) of your cells to burn fuel (oxygen) more efficiently.
If PBM is the oil change, then think of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) as beefed up fuel injectors. Mitochondria rely on available oxygen to produce ATP most efficiently. As we age, oxygen delivery becomes less efficient, which means less “fuel” for the mitochondria to burn and produce energy. This creates a vicious cycle that diminishes bodily functions over time, which we understand as “getting old.” While undergoing HBOT, oxygen delivery is increased five to twenty times higher than normal! This hyper oxidation results in a lot of beneficial effects for the body. Extended use (20+ sessions) of HBOT has been shown to improve mitochondrial function and induce angiogenesis, which improves blood flow and oxygenation of tissue. In fact, 60 sessions of 90 minutes at 2.0 ATA has been proven to reverse the key markers of cellular aging: telomere length and cellular senescence.
At ATX Hyperbarics, our main philosophy is that improved mitochondrial function will lead to improved outcomes in almost every situation. All of the tools we use have this goal in mind, from Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to Photobiomodulation. By combining these two powerful modalities, we know we can restore optimal mitochondrial function, and prevent the onset of aging related symptoms. Give us a call at 512.662.1463, or book online today!